As a woman, weight fluctuations are almost inevitable and we can fluctuate up to 6lbs every month. From monthly cycles, pregnancy, postpartum and menopause; our bodies are ever changing and we just have to find a way to keep up. You may find one of the frustrating thing is having to adapt your style preferences to suit your expanding body. Feeling good from within is a work in process and shapewear can help with boosting your body confidence.

The thing with shapewear is, no one really needs it; it’s simply an option. With the right fitting outfit and accessories, we are all able to pull off a look whatever size we might be. At the same time, just because a person chooses to use shapewear, does not mean they are low in confidence. In the same way that we use make up to accentuate our natural features, wigs to change our hairstyle or to camouflage hair loss and plunge bras for added volume, shapewear gives us the same freedom to feel comfortable in our own bodies.

Besides being used to reshape your figure and give you a boost in confidence, shapewear can help to improve your posture. The gentle compression from the fabric encourages you to adopt a straighter and more confident posture, thereby reducing strain on your back.

There are so many to choose from; there are ones that target just your thighs, butt and stomach or multiple areas. Follow our tips to help you pick the right one for you.

Stay true to your size

You may think going a dress size down will snatch you in better, but actually the wrong size can have you looking like a stuffed sausage instead of a curvy Carol! I’d recommend not going a size down because even though it might look good from the front, there’s always a bit pushed out in the wrong direction, visible from the back or someplace you won’t notice until you’re looking at photos later on. The wrong sized shapewear will not only leave you feeling uncomfortable and in pain it can make you look short of unflattering. If you happen to buy a size that’s bigger than your actual size, shapewear loses its purpose and will not hide any bulges or bumps that you want to. A good fitted shapewear should feel like your second skin and give you a nice rounded silhouette. It should smooth out all the lumps and bumps leaving you with a nice tight silhouette. Some people experience shapewear that roll down. At times this is due to buying the wrong size but this can also be due to the fabric being super thin.

Don’t go for one size fits all if your plus-size because they might come up quite small. Go for the ones that are in available in S,M,L,XL and so on. As a rule of thumb, if you’re wearing a size M for your panties, go for a Medium. So, moral of the story is, find your size and stick to it.

Try before you buy

We all love the convenience of online shopping and it usually works out well if you’re familiar with the brand’s sizing. For shapewear, it’s not advisable to shop online as many retailers do not allow returns in case you later find out the sizing is off. It’s best to go in-store and try them on and request for the assistance of a sales rep to ensure you get the right size. Too tight a fit will cause you to have muffin rolls, bulges and discomfort. Shapewear is designed to be restrictive and truthfully the right size is uncomfortable enough so why make it worse for yourself by not getting the right size and fit.

Know your body type

A piece of shapewear can be the right size, but feel hella uncomfortable; so, it’s not just enough to buy based on sizing alone. Your comfort level is the difference between you having a great night at a party and completely itching to leave because it hurts when you sit. When trying, test for how comfortable it is when you sit, will you realistically get in and out of the ladies’ room? Does it bunch up and slip? Does it give you a bra bulge or visible seam lines?  Even the best quality shapewear can sometimes miss the mark for your body type so being honest with yourself about how you feel will not only save you from distress later on, but it’ll save you money as the best don’t always come cheap.

Surprisingly, not all shapewear snatches you in at the waist; some even make your stomach rounder and pronounced instead of smoothing it out and defining you. Everyone is built differently and unless you’re having a made to measure undergarment it’s important to remember that shapewear is not a one size fits all and you’ll need to know where you want the most compression. Factors such as height, length of torso, broadness of shoulders, bust size etc can throw off the fit of the shapewear.

Choose for the occasion

Regardless of what type of shapewear you choose, it’s always smart to try it on under the clothes you plan on wearing it with. Some shapewear works beautifully with some types of outfits and not as well with others. You may find medium control shapewear sufficient under a sun dress, a pair of skinny jeans or for general everyday wear but not firm enough for bodycon style dresses. Not all shapewear are full compression, and like other undergarments you’ll need to try out a few to determine the cut that best suits your frame. Extra firm shapewear is usually armed with compression zones that will suck and tuck your body into shape for a complete figure transformation. It’s probably best to reserve these heavier pieces for when you want to pull out all the stops and don’t mind being uncomfortable.

Shapewear should not be used as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle as we should all be working towards living a healthy, active lifestyle. It’s a good idea to own a variety of shapewear that you can rotate through your wardrobe, to ensure that you’ll always have what you need. Finally, Remember, you can eliminate several of the most common problems by choosing high-quality shapewear that fits well.

What are your tips for choosing the right shapewear?