The once negative attitude around shapewear—often deemed as a means to morph one’s body into a traditional standard of beauty—is now thankfully shifting into a more positive and empowering one. These body-hugging undergarments are not simply a medium to eradicate all body insecurities and magically sculpt you to fit the current beauty standard—but they should help you feel more confident in your clothing thanks to their smoothing effects. “[Shapewear] helps to control areas of the body to allow clothing to lay properly,” Net-a-Porter online stylist Gabrielle Calder tells Byrdie.
Considering how personal shapewear is, we knew that to bring you well-informed recommendations, we would need to put dozens of popular and highly-rated options to the test. So, we gathered a diverse group of testers with all different body types and lifestyles, and we had them each incorporate one or two pieces of shapewear into their closets over the course of six weeks. Each garment was evaluated based on how easy it was to put on and take off, how it looked on the body, how comfortable it felt, and how durable it was. Ahead, we’re sharing the shapewear that impressed us the most and therefore has the Byrdie stamp of approval.
SKIMS Sculpting Bodysuit With Snaps
Appears completely seamless under clothes
Provides bust support
Helps define the contours of the body
Comes in an extensive size range
Features snap closure and adjustable straps
Can be tricky to find the right size
Snaps are not sturdy
If you’re looking for one piece of shapewear to sculpt your body, emphasize your natural curves, and provide booty and bust support, we recommend this bodysuit from Skims. Perhaps you’ve seen this piece in thousands of viral videos on TikTok where customers were shocked at how tiny it looks when holding it up—but don’t let that fool you. The material is extremely stretchy, and, despite its thinness, it’s surprisingly durable, too. It features adjustable straps, a snap closure at the bottom, and pockets for the bust and booty, which help to define those areas.
Though the brand claims it offers strong support, we think this is relative depending on the size you get and, of course, your body. If you want shapewear that significantly contours and smooths your shape, sizing down could help you achieve that. But if you prefer lighter or medium support, ordering your regular size or one size up is your best bet. The bodysuit comes in five different sizes that cater to a range of sizes at once (for example, the S/M is meant for those who are sizes 4, 6, or 8), but we would love to see the brand expand this even further by offering more options for people with different body types, like smaller busts and larger bottoms and vice versa.
One of the best things about this piece is how versatile it is. You can wear it as a bodysuit with a wide range of outfits, or it can be worn as a true shape-hugging garment under dresses, skirts, or tighter tops. We were so impressed by how seamless it looks underneath clothing, and the adjustable straps make customizing your fit really easy. The snap closure is incredibly convenient for when you need to use the restroom, though it's worth noting that there have been reports of the snaps popping open, which is far from ideal when you’re trying to move through your daily tasks.
All things considered, this bodysuit impressed us, and we think it’s a staple to have in your closet.
Price at time of publish: $62
Material: 78% nylon, 22% spandex | Size Range: XXS–5X | Color Options: 10
Yummie Bria Comfortably Curved Smoothing Short
Easy to take on and off
Great for everyday wear
Limited size range
Could be slightly more compressive
Edges are visible through tight clothing
Shapewear is often thought about from the perspective of altering or contouring the shape of your body, but that’s not always the case. These affordable smoothing shorts offer low compression to gently smooth the waist, butt, and thighs. While we would prefer them to be just a bit more compressive to better smooth and support the body, we love that they’re comfortable enough to wear every day and easy to take on and off. The design is also not so short that they bunch in the crotch area, but they’re not so long that they prevent you from being able to wear them underneath minidresses and skirts. They’ll layer well underneath a variety of skirts and dresses if you’re looking for something that provides more coverage than underwear, and they don’t ride up or roll down nearly as much as other shaping shorts do. Pricing aside, if you find compressive shapewear to be uncomfortable but you still want something to offer a bit of smoothing, these shorts would probably suit you.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: 87% nylon, 13% spandex body; 80% nylon, 20% spandex waistband | Size Range: S–XL | Color Options: 3
Wolford 3W Forming Bodysuit
Stays in place nicely
Size guide is helpful and accurate
Features snaps and adjustable straps
Effective at smoothing
Seamless under clothing
Limited size range
If you wear shapewear often or you have a really special occasion coming up, perhaps you’re willing to invest in a piece that checks all of the boxes and will last you for years to come. This investment piece has our stamp of approval for many reasons, the main one being how pleasant it is to wear. While some compressive shapewear feels restrictive or has seams that dig into the skin, this one works to smooth and lightly contour the body while remaining so comfortable you might even forget you have it on.
We love that, in addition to providing superior comfort, it’s incredibly functional. It features adjustable straps that help with versatility and bust support, as well as a snap closure at the crotch and a cotton gusset. It does a great job of smoothing bumps and supporting the body without feeling overly tight, and it’s easy to put on and take off. We’d also be remiss not to mention its versatility—it can be worn as a regular bodysuit or layered underneath other garments. It appears seamless and undetectable under clothes, and a bonus is that the bust section is double-lined, so you can forgo wearing a bra if you choose to. Plus, so long as you follow the washing instructions correctly, it will remain in good condition for a long time.
We would like to see the brand expand the size offerings to be more inclusive, but it’s worth noting that we found the size guide on the website to be helpful and accurate. If you struggle to find shapewear that fits you nicely, take advantage of the brand’s guide for this piece.
Price at time of publish: $275
Material: 69% cotton, 31% elastane | Size Range: 4–14 | Color Options: 2
Lane Bryant Shape By Cacique Open-Bust Thigh Shaper
Open-bust design allows you to wear your bra of choice
Provides tummy control without being constrictive
Features adjustable straps
Shapes the body beautifully
Doesn’t have snap closure at the crotch
Can be slightly hard to put on
When it comes to size inclusivity, the fashion industry still has a lot of work to do, meaning that there should be more on the market like this plus-size shaping garment from Lane Bryant. It’s an open-bust, thigh, and torso shaper that smooths bumps, provides tummy control, and generally supports the thighs, booty, and midsection without feeling restrictive. It features adjustable straps with a neckline that falls underneath the bust, which allows you to wear your bra of choice. It works wonders at preventing thigh chafing because it hits just below the mid-thigh, and it does well at smoothing the tummy area and accentuating hourglass curves. If you’re looking for something that works to blur the appearance of lumps and bumps, we found this option to be super effective.
It’s made with a silky soft material that layers beautifully underneath clothing without showing seams or ridges. While we wish it had a snap closure at the bottom to make restroom trips easier, the smooth material isn’t hard to pull down. Putting it on can take some getting used to before it’s securely in place, but once you get the hang of it and adjust it to your liking, it resists moving around and very rarely rides up at the legs. Considering how comfortable it is, how nicely it shapes and supports the body, and high-quality it feels for a relatively affordable price, we can’t recommend it enough.
Price at time of publish: $70
Material: Nylon, spandex | Size Range: 14–36 | Color Options: 2
TC Fine Intimates Extra Firm Control Convertible Bodysuit
Comes with removable, convertible straps
Features hook and eye closure at the crotch
Provides comfortable compression
Creates subtle slimming effect
Sizing structure isn’t ideal
Sizes are fairly limited
Adaptable shapewear can serve so many purposes in your wardrobe, making it a valuable investment. This bodysuit is a versatile piece because it can be worn strapless or with straps that can be crisscrossed or placed just like traditional bra straps. The design features built-in bra cups that are foam-lined for comfort, as well as boning up the back to provide shaping and support. The leg bands are lined with silicone to help keep it in place, and we wish the top of the garment was as well to prevent it from slipping down. While it is a compression garment that works to shape, support, and slim the midsection, we’re impressed that it doesn't feel restrictive or overly tight.
This works well under a wide range of clothing for additional shaping, but there are some downsides to the sizing structure. The entire garment is sized based on your bra cup size, which did work out for a lot of our testers, but others found it to be very difficult to find their appropriate fit. If you’re interested in buying it, we recommend trying it in-store, if possible, or reading reviews and the size guide to ensure you get the correct size for your body.
Price at time of publish: $88
Material: 75% nylon, 25% elastane | Size Range: Band Size: 32–40; Cup Size: B–DD | Color Options: 2
Best Open Bust
Maidenform Women's Wear Your Own Bra Singlet Fajas Shapewear
Provides medium compression
Comfortable material and design
Layers under clothes beautifully
Length of shorts is a bit long
Size range is fairly limited
While shapewear that comes with a built-in bra can be super convenient if it fits correctly, nailing the fit can be really challenging. So, we love that this option has an open-bust design which allows you to comfortably wear whatever bra you’d like underneath. This is also a major plus if you’re wearing a dress or top with a unique neckline, as you won’t be confined to the built-in bra and neckline of your undergarment. Plus, it has adjustable straps making it even more customizable. While we do wish that the legs were a bit shorter to accommodate shorter dresses and skirts, the fact that they do hit mid-thigh as opposed to higher up helps them stay in place a bit better. We also wish there was an opening at the bottom to make trips to the bathroom easier, but because the fabric is easy to take on and off, this isn’t a dealbreaker for us.
What impressed us most about this piece is how well it smooths the body. It provides medium compression that works to highlight curves, smooth bumps and provide tummy control. It doesn’t have thick or rigid seams or boning, making it not only comfortable but also almost completely undetectable underneath clothing. A bonus is that the fabric is moisture-wicking and anti-static. If you’re in the market for a shaping piece that will support your thighs, waist, and tummy, we highly recommend this affordable option.
Price at time of publish: $29
Material: 81% nylon, 19% spandex | Size Range: S–XXL | Color Options: 2
Best Thong Bodysuit
Fleur du Mal Le Body Control Bodysuit
Can be worn alone or layered under clothing
Slimming and shaping
Made with zero waste material
Doesn’t have an opening at the gusset
Somewhat limited size range
Thong bodysuits are a wardrobe staple, and this one is fantastic because it can be worn on its own as a top or layered underneath clothing for its shaping benefits. The thong design ensures that panty lines are a non-issue when you pair it with tight dresses and skirts, and it also has breast pockets that can support your chest on their own or be layered with a bra. One caveat is that it’s pretty high-cut in the front, so if you’re looking for support in your upper thighs and the front of your hips, this won’t be ideal for you. We also wish that it had an opening at the crotch for convenience, but it is fairly effortless to put on and take off, so it’s not a major issue.
Material-wise, the zero-waste formula feels good against the skin and excels at providing medium compression, tummy control, and accentuating an hourglass figure. It hugs the midsection in all the right places, and it almost looks seamless under clothing. We recommend it if you’ve been looking for a thong bodysuit that’s supportive and shape-enhancing.
Price at time of publish: $78
Material: 94% polyamide, 6% elastane | Size Range: XS–XL | Color Options: 2
Best Tummy Control Bodysuit
Pinsy Scoop Tank Hourglass Shapewear Thong Bodysuit
Comes in regular and long lengths
Comfortable and moves with the body
Features sculpting panels to shape the body
Has a built-in, wire-free bra
Hook and eye closure is tricky to clasp
Runs slightly small in the chest area
Sculpting bodysuits are fantastic for highlighting your shape and slimming the stomach area—and we love this one. It provides medium compression to support your body without feeling restrictive, and what’s unique about this particular design is that it has 360-degree sculpting panels that run the length of the garment. These panels aren’t super hard or stiff—they move with your body while helping to smooth the appearance of your torso. The smoothing effect is flattering, and while it looks nice underneath clothing as traditional shapewear, it also makes for a versatile top all on its own. This bodysuit also has a built-in, wire-free bra, so you don’t need to layer one underneath. The brand’s size guide is pretty accurate, but it’s worth noting that some online reviewers found that the built-in bra runs a bit small. If you’re in between sizes, we recommend sizing up.
You might not think that a structured bodysuit with sculpting panels sounds comfortable, but this one is. The fabric is thick but not rigid, and all of the edges of the garment have a bonded flat design to ensure no harsh seams dig into the skin. We also appreciate that the gusset has a hook and eye closure with three clasps allowing you to adjust to your comfort, but there seems to be a bit of a design flaw, as they unhook pretty easily as you try to re-hook them. But all-in-all, this is a sculpting bodysuit worthy of a place in your closet.
Price at time of publish: $89
Material: 65% polyamide, 35% elastin | Size Range: S–3X | Color Options: 5
Best Smoothing Short
Commando Classic Control Short
Comfortable fabric and design
Smoothes stomach, booty, and thighs
Shorts are a great length
They tend to roll at the waist
A pair of classic smoothing shorts come in handy underneath skirts and dresses for body sculpting or modesty purposes, and these are a great option. The raw-cut design makes for an almost completely seamless appearance underneath clothing, and it prevents the shorts from digging into the skin. They’re easy to put on and take off, and we appreciate that they feature a cotton gusset. Unlike many similar options on the market, the length of these shorts is flattering and functional—not so long that they can’t be paired with shorter garments and not so short that they bunch up at the groin.
They provide light to medium compression and work beautifully to smooth the stomach, butt, and hips without being too restrictive. The one negative thing about these shorts is that they do tend to roll at the waist—perhaps a silicone band or a thicker material at the waist would mitigate this. Though, since the fabric is quite thin and has a raw cut, even when it rolls, it doesn’t show under clothing. If you’re looking for a basic smoothing short that can be easily layered, this is the way to go.
Price at time of publish: $58
Material: 68% nylon, 32% spandex | Size Range: XS–3X | Color Options: 4
Best Sculpting Short
Honeylove SuperPower Short
Highlights the body shape
Has pull-apart fabric at the crotch
Pretty undetectable under clothing
Ultra-high waist design doesn’t roll down
Can be a bit uncomfortable to sit in
Shorts are a bit long
If you’re looking for shapewear that provides some pretty serious compression and support, especially for your thighs and midsection, we think these shorts are an excellent choice. They feature a really high waist which works to smooth and hold in the stomach, and perhaps the best part is that this section never rolls down as you move. They also have boning on the side seams and the back to accentuate your curves and provide support. The boning looks really flattering, but it can make sitting in these shorts slightly awkward and uncomfortable. Instead of snaps or a hook and eye closure, there’s a pull-apart fabric to make going to the restroom more efficient, and while this can take a bit of getting used to, it’s more comfortable than other options.
We love how beautifully they snatch the waist, smooth bumps, and provide significant support without being bulky underneath garments or super stiff. The shorts are a bit too long to accommodate a lot of mini skirts and dresses, but they’re perfect if you plan on pairing them with a midi or maxi dress.
Price at time of publish: $89
Material: Nylon/spandex body and lining; cotton gusset | Size Range: XS–3X | Color Options: 5
Best High Waisted
Shapermint Essentials All Day Every Day High-Waisted Shaper Shorts
Has an anti-slip silicone strip at the waist
Soft, comfortable material
Easy to put on and take off
Could be more smoothing at the waist
Slightly thicker material can be detected under some clothing
Though they’re called shaper shorts, we think these are best for smoothing. We didn’t find them to be particularly shaping as they offer just low compression and have a simple, high-waisted short design, but they work wonderfully for smoothing the booty, thighs, and stomach. They help to soften the appearance of lumps and bumps without feeling tight or rigid, and while they don’t provide tummy control per se, they do help you feel secure and supported.
The downfall of many shapewear garments like this is that the waistband often rolls down, but this one features a silicone strip around the edge of the waist to ensure it doesn’t slip and slide around. The fabric of these shorts is soft and comfortable, but it is a bit thicker than other similar options, so the edges of the legs and waistband will show through thin clothing. But if you’re looking for a basic pair of high-waisted, smoothing shorts, these get the job done.
Price at time of publish: $22
Material: 90% nylon, 10% spandex | Size Range: XS–4XL | Color Options: 5
Best Lightweight Short
Spanx Ahhh-llelujah Fit to You Everyday Shorts
Lightweight, breathable fabric
Raw-cut hems for seamless look
Don’t roll down
Not the most inclusive sizing
Not all shapewear is meant to make a big difference in how your body looks—sometimes, it’s simply meant for layering purposes, and that’s how we feel about these shorts. While they do provide some subtle smoothing to the tummy and thighs, we think they’re best for preventing chafing and wearing underneath dresses and skirts for modesty purposes. They can also be helpful if you want to wear underwear with a garment, but you’re seeing panty lines—these are a great alternative because they’re almost completely seamless and undetectable under clothing.
They’re seriously lightweight and breathable—so much so that some of our testers even forgot they had them on. They’re also easy to pull on and take off, and they don’t roll down as you move. If you’re looking for simple, lightweight shorts for layering and preventing chafing, especially during the summer, we highly recommend these.
Price at time of publish: $36
Material: 77% nylon, 23% elastane | Size Range: One size fits 0–12 | Color Options: 4
Our favorite piece of shapewear is the Skims Sculpting Bodysuit With Snaps. It’s versatile and comes in a wide range of sizes, smooths and contours the body, and comes with adjustable straps and a snap closure. But if you’re looking for super high-quality shapewear to invest in and have for a while, we recommend the Wolford 3W Stretch-Cotton Bodysuit. It’s smoothing, incredibly comfortable, and seamless.
How We Tested
To determine what shapewear is worth your money, we held an extensive test where a large group of testers with various body types and lifestyles tried out the garments over the course of six weeks. All of the shapewear was evaluated based on how easy it was to put on and take off, how it looked on the body, how comfortable it was to wear, and its durability. The garments that scored the highest across the categories appear on this list.
Other Options We Tested
Spanx OnCore Open-Bust Panty Bodysuit
We love how smoothing this open-bust bodysuit is, but alas, it’s quite difficult to put on and take off, and it’s not the most comfortable option either.
Wacoal Visual Effects Bodysuit
This underwire bodysuit is good at slimming the tummy area, but because the size is determined by your bra cup size, we found it difficult to achieve the right fit.
Skims Sculpting Short Mid-Thigh w/ Open Gusset
These sculpting shorts do a nice job of smoothing the stomach and thighs, but the waistband is noticeable through clothing and the material isn’t as durable as other options.
Meet the Expert
- Gabrielle Calder is an online stylist at Net-a-Porter. She was previously a styling assistant at Bergdorf Goodman where she worked with a wide range of clients on developing their wardrobes.
- Preeti Arya is an assistant professor of Textile Development and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
What to Look for in Shapewear
Choosing the right type of shapewear is key to achieving the outcome you’re looking for. If you’re looking to smooth your legs, booty, and lower stomach, try sculpting or shaping shorts. “Sculpting shorts are great for wearing under dresses or skirts and can provide a lift in the booty area,” says Calder. If you’re looking to give your body a more sculpted look overall, she recommends going for a bodysuit. “Bodysuits are great for wearing under dresses as well and can give the body more of a contoured shape.” Our favorite bodysuit that achieves this is the Skims Sculpting Bodysuit With Snaps.
What makes shapewear different from other clothing items is not only its functionality and design but also its fabric composition. If you take a look at the tag on your shapewear, you’ll likely notice that it’s made with elastane (also known as lycra or spandex), nylon, polyester, or a combination of them. According to Preeti Arya, assistant professor of Textile Development and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, these materials are best for shapewear because of their durability and stretching capabilities.
“Petroleum polymers like nylon and polyester have high tenacity and strength, dimensional stability, and resiliency,” she says. “Nylon and polyesters are also durable in terms of laundry, number of wears, and closet life.” She explains that while nylon is more expensive than polyester, it is more durable. So if you’re looking for shapewear to invest in, it’s wise to seek out a garment with a high percentage of nylon in the fabric composition.
While nylon and polyester contribute to a garment’s durability, elastane is what creates stretchiness. “Elastanes are petroleum polymers innovated not for strength but for stretchability,” says Arya. “The beauty of elastane is that we do not have to use a very high percentage to make it effective. Anywhere from six to 20 percent serves the purpose depending upon the end product.” She explains that the higher the elastane content, the more compressive the garment is.
The compression level of the shapewear piece you choose will also impact how it looks and what it accomplishes. According to Calder, low-compression shapewear offers a thin and barely-there level of smoothing that allows the garment to act as a base layer without offering much shaping support. The Yummie Bria Comfortably Curved Smoothing Short is an example of a low-compression short that works well under breezy and diaphanous dresses, skirts, and pants. High compression shapewear, on the other hand, is best for complete control and may be designated for bodycon styles that are prone to showing ripples, bumps, and panty lines. If you’re looking for high-compression, try a waist cincher, like the Squeem Perfect Waist Contouring Cincher, or a sculpting bodysuit, like the Skims Sculpting Bodysuit With Snaps. Medium compression is, you guessed it, somewhere in between the two.
As Arya mentioned, the higher the elastane concentration, typically the more compressive a garment will be. So, it’s wise to take a look at the fabric composition, paying particular attention to how much elastane is in it in order to gauge how compressive it will be.
What’s the best shapewear that doesn’t roll down?
It’s not uncommon for shapewear to roll down, especially at the waist or legs, but this isn’t just annoying, it can also take away from the functionality and look of the piece. “Shapewear with straps at the top will keep it from riding down and from having to adjust it,” says Calder. “If you’re wearing shapewear shorts, finding ones with a silicone hem, so the legs do not ride up as you walk is key.” The Shapermint Essentials All Day Every Day High-Waisted Shaper Shorts have a silicone band at the waist to help them remain in place.
But the issue doesn’t always lie in the design of the garment; Calder explains that oftentimes the problem is as simple as not wearing the correct size. She recommends trying on shapewear in person if possible and being sure to carefully follow the size guidelines provided by the brand.
Is it better to size up or size down in shapewear?
You must find the correct size for you—neither too big nor too small. If you size up, you’ll lose compression and shaping functionality. If you size down, you’ll likely be quite uncomfortable, and the tight garment could cause skin bulging, which is the opposite of what you want. Again, be sure to utilize the size guide provided by the brand.
Why Trust Byrdie
Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied marketing and product development in the cosmetics industry as well as fashion business marketing. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022, where she covers all things beauty.