Beginners Guide: What is Shapewear and Who Needs It?

Shapewear has come a long way since its invention in the early 1900s. What once was considered an uncomfortable undergarment is now a must-have wardrobe staple for many women. What is shapewear today?

Shapewear smooths out bumps and bulges, giving you a sleek silhouette and at the same time, helps snug clothes fit better.

Does everyone need shapewear? How do you wear it comfortably? In this post, we answer all these questions, plus how to choose the right shapewear, you will learn how to take advantage of this foundation garment so you can look and feel amazing.

What Does Shapewear Do?

Shapewear is a type of undergarment that uses targeted compression to help shape your body. It can be worn under clothing as an extra layer of smoothing or shaping power, or even on its own as body-hugging pieces that show off your curves while still maintaining an overall slimming effect.

Modern shapewear is considered a foundation garment. This means it’s a base layer that helps to create the foundation for your outfit.

Shapewear is made to help you streamline and shape your body, no matter what type of figure you have. It can be used to enhance curves, flatten tummies, lift busts, and create an overall smoother silhouette.

There are several styles of shapewear available, high-waisted shorts, control briefs, thigh shapers, waist cinchers, or full-body shapers that have built in bras.

You can find the perfect piece for whatever outfit you have planned. From special occasions and events to everyday wear, shapewear can help you look and feel your best.

Who Needs to Wear Shapewear?

Anyone who wants to look their best can benefit from wearing shapewear and foundation garments! Whether you’re looking for extra support around your midsection or want to smooth under tight fitting clothes like a bodycon dress, there’s a piece of shapewear out there for you.

Shapewear can also help create the illusion of an hourglass figure by accentuating certain areas while minimizing others. There are varying levels of compression available too – from breathable and smoothing to more rigid slimming styles.

Even if you don’t think you need it, chances are there’s a type of shapewear that could help you look even better in your favorite outfits. Plus, an advantage of wearing shapewear is no visible panty lines!

How to Choose the Right Shapewear

Finding the right shapewear for your body type and preferences is key to achieving a comfortable fit. There are several things to consider when selecting the right piece, including:

Body shapes: Different pieces of shapewear can be beneficial depending on the shape of your body. For example, high-waisted briefs may be great for women with larger hips, while a full-body shaper can be ideal for those looking to reduce their waist size.

Compression: Choose a product with the right amount of compression so that you don’t feel constricted or uncomfortable in your shapewear.

Clothing Type: Different shapewear works better depending on what type of clothing you plan to wear it with. For example, a control brief may work well with high-waisted pants or skirts, while a full-body suit is perfect for bodycon dresses and jumpsuits. Even some underwear for plus-sized women has built in shapewear.

How to Wear Shapewear Comfortably

The key to wearing shapewear comfortably is to make sure that it fits properly. This means choosing the right size and style for your unique body type—which may require trial and error. The last thing you want is to be fidgeting with your undergarments throughout the day! 

Also, consider investing in quality pieces made with breathable fabrics such as cotton and spandex blends instead of cheaper materials like nylon or polyester which will not be as comfortable against the skin.

Finally, don’t forget about taking proper care of your shapewear—washing it according to the care instructions on the label will ensure longer lasting wearability!

Waist Trainer vs Shapewear

The difference between waist trainers and shapewear comes down to the level of compression. While both are designed to help you look and feel more confident in your own skin, shapewear provides more moderate shaping while waist trainers are designed to provide maximum support and reshaping.

How to Keep Shapewear From Rolling Down

One common complaint with shapewear is that it rolls down and doesn’t stay put. The key to keeping your shapewear in place is to make sure it fits properly—too tight shapewear will cause discomfort and too loose won’t stay put.

You may also want to opt for styles that have built-in waist bands or adjustable straps to help keep everything in place all day.

Shapewear FAQ

How long can you wear shapewear?

Although some people choose to wear their shapewear all day long, experts recommend no more than 8 hours per day for optimal comfort and health benefits.

Wearing them too often can put excessive pressure on your internal organs which can cause discomfort and restrict blood flow over time. Taking regular breaks throughout the day will help alleviate any potential issues associated with prolonged use of shapewear garments. If you need something the hug your curves all day, consider pants for curvy shapes that will hug you in all the right places.

What is a gusset in shapewear?

A gusset is a triangle-shaped piece of fabric that is found in the crotch area of many shapewear garments. It provides extra support, flexibility, and breathability to ensure maximum comfort and wearability.

It also helps prevent any uncomfortable bunching or pinching that can occur when wearing form-fitting clothing.

What is open gusset shapewear?

Open gusset shapewear is a type of garment that has an opening in the crotch area, making it easier and more comfortable to use the restroom. There are various styles available, from high-waisted panties to full body suits.

Does shapewear actually change your shape?

Shapewear only changes the appearance of your body shape while wearing it. Waist trainers are designed to help you tone your midsection while slimming under your clothes. In this long run, these might help change your shape.

Can you wear shapewear when pregnant?

Most experts do not recommend wearing shapewear while pregnant, as it can cause discomfort and excessive heat around the midsection. There are some brands that make pregnancy-specific shapewear to address this concern. It’s always best to discuss issues relating to pregnancy with your doctor.


Shapewear can be an incredibly useful tool in helping women look their best in whatever outfits they choose. From special occasions to everyday wear, having some quality pieces in your wardrobe can go a long way towards boosting confidence and creating stylish looks with ease.

From control briefs to full-body suits, there’s something out there for everyone regardless of size or shape! Just remember—proper fit and the right shapewear is key when looking for quality pieces that will last you seasons ahead!

Don’t hesitate to invest in foundational garments like shapewear. They’ll soon become some of your wardrobe’s favorite staples!