I don’t know about you, but it seemed like one day no one ever talked about shapewear, and the next, everyone disclosed their go-to shaping undergarments. With a history of following the beauty standards of the time, it’s been interesting to see shapewear take its current form during the 2010s and 2020s.
From boob tape to shorts to sculpting bodysuits, shapewear is definitely in and available from so many different brands nowadays, especially in extended size ranges. There are so many plus size options in the marketplace that it can be daunting to figure out the shapewear garment that you prefer and ends up working for you. For insight on how to navigate the plethora of plus size shapewear currently available, we consulted content creator and fashion influencer Charlene Masona.
Meet the Expert
Before shopping for shapewear, it’s best to identify which part(s) of your body you’d like to enhance, shape, or contour. “I look for pieces that enhance my shape and snatch the lower tummy area—the kids call it the fupa,” Masona tells Byrdie. Because of the body shaping she prefers, Masona’s current go-to styles are high-waisted panties that hide the panty line. But no matter the results you’re going for, Masona noted “I think understanding your body is the best way to shop for shapewear if you want it.”
Keep reading for Byrdie’s picks for the best shapewear worth buying this year, as well as more advice from Masona.
Spanx OnCore High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short
Of course, the brand that started it all makes the top of this list. We would be remiss to not include their best-selling shorts that are a fan favorite, thanks to the body sculpting and transformative compression that will leave you snatched. Shaping shorts can be worn with nearly anything, under form-fitting dresses and skirts and even work pants and jean shorts.
Price at time of publish: $78
Material: 80% nylon, 20% elastane | Size Range: XS-3X
Parade Sheer Support Bodysuit
It’s no secret that shapewear can be surprisingly expensive. This bodysuit from Parade is a steal for under $40. The approachable price point means you can buy several in different colors (it’s currently available in 11 different hues).
Price at time of publish: $36
Material: 95% recycled nylon, 5% elastane | Size Range: XS-3X
Best Mid-Thigh Bodysuit
SKIMS Sculpting Bodysuit Mid Thigh with Open Gusset
It should be no surprise that Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS made this list. The reality star-turned-entrepreneur has created a solution to all your shapewear and dressing woes with her successful line of bodysuits, shorts, and lingerie. And the Mid-Thigh Bodysuit is one of the brand’s best-selling pieces because of its composition, size range, and great sculpting capabilities. The brand rates this sculpting level as “strong,” meaning it features “strong, targeted compression” for those days that you need it.
Price at time of publish: $68
Material: 78% nylon, 22% spandex | Size Range: XXS-5X
Best Long Bodysuit
Old Navy Sleeveless PowerSoft Bodysuit for Women
If you like the look of a long bodysuit for an athleisure-inspired outfit or for morning yoga (or just want to channel your favorite ‘80s workout icon), then this is our favorite option. And the best thing is that bodysuit is less expensive than other leading brands’ shapewear offerings.
Price at time of publish: $55
Material: 77% polyester, 23% spandex | Size Range: XS-4X
Girlfriend Collective Zoe Superstretch Tank
Girlfriend Collective is great for pieces that go between outerwear and shapewear. You’re sure to feel comfortable wearing this tank while you’re out and about, and it’ll still provide structure and shape for your body, no matter what activity you’re planning on tackling.
Material: 90% recycled plastic bottles (RPET), 10% spandex | Size Range: XXS-6X
Yummie Ultralight Shaping Short-Seamless
For an affordable shapewear option, these shaping shorts from Yummie provide comfortable compression and support on a budget. Not only that, they feel more lightweight than other compression options (great for those hotter months) and come in a variety of both neutral and bright colors.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: 89% nylon, 11% spandex | Size Range: S-3X
Yitty Nearly Naked Shaping High Waist Brief
Lizzo’s shapewear collab with Fabletics, aptly named Yitty, might be new to the scene but it’s quickly gained a large following of happy customers who appreciate the extensive size range, fun colorways, and supportive, shaping undergarments that make up the collection that’s brought some fun to the shapewear industry.
Material: 52% recycled nylon, 34% nylon, 14% elastane | Size Range: XS-5X
Best Skin Tone Range
SKIMS Sculpting Body Suit with Snaps
One aspect that sets SKIMS above the rest of shapewear brands is its extensive skin tone range that’s offered in almost all of its styles. No matter your skin tone or body size, you’re sure to find an option that’s right for you.
Price at time of publish: $62
Material: 78% nylon, 22% spandex | Size Range: XXS-5X
Some SKIMS products sell out quickly, so be sure to join the waitlist and change your settings so you’re alerted via email when your size is restocked.
Nubian Skin Naked Full Slip
Nubian Skin has made another product review list not only because of their inclusive skin tones but because of the quality of their products. The Naked Full Slip is a great shapewear piece that can be worn on its own or under your favorite dress.
Price at time of publish: $80
Material: 86% polyamide, 14% elastane | Size Range: XS-XXL
Shapellx AirSlim Full Coverage Sculpting Bodysuit Shaper
For the ultimate body shaping, this zip-up bodysuit from Shapellx is perfect. This shapewear provides support, compression, and lift all around your body and it’s easy to secure with a zip down the middle.
Price at time of publish: $88
Material: 85% nylon, 15% spandex | Size Range: S-3X
What to Look for When Buying Shapewear
Depending on the feel and fit that you're looking for, you should consider the composition and fabrication of your shapewear. If you want support with plenty of support, then consider elastane (also known as spandex or Lycra). For more compression and shaping, look for nylon (which is what makes up most shapewear on the market) with some elastane for added comfort. You’ll find that most shapewear brands have very similar compositions, so it’s really up to you and which price point you’re comfortable spending for such a closet staple.
The type of shapewear that works best for you very much depends on the clothing you intend to wear over it. If you don’t want your shapewear peeking through your final look, then you should take your outfit into account. For example, if you’re wearing a top with a low back then buy a bodysuit with a low back that will be hidden. And if you’re wearing a short dress, then consider shapewear with mid-thigh length shorts. If you want a shapewear piece that’s universal and can work under anything, then a bodysuit without shorts and a low back is great–you’ll still have support but won’t have to worry about covering it no matter what you’re wearing over it.
Does shapewear work?
Shapewear does work, but it all depends on the effect you’re going for. “Most of the shapewear I use is shape slimming,” Masona noted. “A lot of the ads show models with one body type, which makes it difficult to imagine how the shapewear will look on my body.”
Can you wear shapewear while pregnant?
You can wear shapewear while pregnant but be cognizant of a few factors. You should look for maternity shapewear over regular shapewear pieces, avoid waist trainers, and prioritize comfort. Sherry A. Ross M.D., an OBGYN, author, and health expert, told Refinery29: "As long as you are wearing maternity shapewear safely and comfortably, meaning you can move, breath, and sleep without restrictions or pain, then there should not be any problems wearing them if it’s your choice."
Do you wear underwear with shapewear?
Wearing underwear underneath your shapewear is up to you. But with shapewear styes that are designed for maximum compression and smooth lines, undergarments may get in the way of the overall look and feel. "I will say that when I created Spanx 20 years ago, I designed them...so you don’t wear underwear under them," Spanx founder Sara Blakely told TLC. “Half the women wear underwear under it, and so that’s fine, too."
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Mallori Albright has six years of experience writing fashion and beauty content. While she has a meager shapewear collection, Mallori loves discovering new brands that help everyone look and feel amazing. You can check out more of Mallori’s work at Marie Claire and NYLON Magazine.