We have now a dozen types of shapewear items, all serving their own purpose for a specific occasion, let’s break them down in a beginner’s guide to shapewear (plus glossary!) so that you know which one is the right for you based on your needs. 🙂

Shapewear has been the hidden secret for celebrities for a while until more and more brands started selling them to the masses. If foundation makes a canvas for makeup, shapewear does the same for clothes.


The first step for getting the right type of body shaper for women is knowing your body shape. This will help you understand clearly the balance you have to achieve with any body shaper: your top curves have to be proportionate to your bottom curves (a.k.a the always desired hour-glass figure).

Once you’ve already determined your body shape, you need to ask yourself what you want to enhance with the shapewear you buy: is it the bust? The waist? Butt, thighs? All of it? I’m not even being funny in the last question: you can either get a shapewear bodysuit or create your own custom shapewear wearing your favorite top and bottom pieces.

The final question you have to ask yourself is, how much coverage and compression you want? It’s not the same wearing a corset than a lightweight waist trainer. 😉

The higher the compression, the more dramatic the result will be, so you have to keep in mind that if you want to just hold and control your curves in a natural way you should stay away from padded items, because they’re on the opposite side and their function is creating curves. Also notice if you live on a warmer weather you can search for breathable, lightweight fabrics.

Once you’ve answer those questions you can search for the perfect shapewear item for your daily life or your special occasions. 🙂



black shapewear bodysuit

Shapewear bodysuits sculpt the torso area that includes the waist, hips and tummy. You can see it in two versions based on the bottom finishes: they can end with a panty or extend to mid-thigh, the latter being the only ones of the group that offer an all-over coverage.

Great for: Dresses, high coverage needs.


open bust bodysuit

This kind of bodysuit still controls the tummy area, butt and thighs but it doesn’t have a built-in bra so it’s suitable for those who want to pair this with their own bras.

It makes the perfect match for large-breasted women or nursing mothers who need their own nursing bra.

Great for: V neck tops and dresses.


deep plunge bodysuit

Another version of bodyshapers is the deep plunge bodysuit, which has a barely-there bust consisting in only cups without noting in the middle. Some of them come with adhesive material that sticks gently to the breast.

Great for: Deep cleavage tops and dresses.


shaping slips shapewear

Shaping slips help create a smooth foundation for dresses and skirts. You can smooth your trouble areas and get the shaping and support of a bodysuit but with a skirt bottom instead of pants.

The ones from Cosmolle.com are made of 30% Spandex + 70% Nylon, giving breathability to the fabric so that it feels like your second skin.

Great for: Dresses, skirts, tunics.


shapewear camis

This camisole-looking shapewear has built in shaping panels, pads and/or underwires. They minimize flab and lift up the bust.

Remember when I said above that you have to know how much coverage in compression can you handle? Well, if the answer is “not much” but you still want some control, then camis are the perfect choice. You can also find strapless versions.

Great for: Tank tops, t-shirts, medium coverage needs.


shapewear corset

Corsets are designed to make a woman’s waist look smaller and sexier, and they won’t only tighten your tummy and lift your posture, but also lift up the bust.

Since the ancient ages, corsets are used as body shapers. Nowadays they come in two versions: covering only your waist and rib cage (similar to waist trainers) like this one from Cosmolle*. The second features a built-in bra (called Merry Widow).

They can help you fit into a size (or two) smaller and emphasize a narrow waist.

Great for: Dresses, high coverage needs.


high wasited bottoms shapewear

They look like cyclist shorts but they actually cinch the waist, tuck the tummy and snatch the thighs. You can find them also with padded buttocks for extra curves.

Great for: Pants, skirts, dresses.



Although they resemble to normal everyday panties, they’re meant to shape and conceal the midsection.

These items are designed with medium to high compression panels on the front, side and back. The goal is smoothen out your lower abdomen and make it look flattering while preventing that pancake bum after you squeeze on your skinny jeans (we’ve all been there).

Great for: Tight pants, skirts.



Every body type can benefit from tummy-taming options like waist trainers, so it’s no surprise that they’re the most popular shapewear item right now.

Like corsets, waist cinchers are shape wears designed to control midsection bulges. Multiple adjustments and hook front closure ensure comfortable fit.

Great for: Tops, dresses.



Workout bands are a style of waist trainer constructed specifically for use during vigorous movement. They can handle heavy sweating and intense activity.

In fact, workout waist bands will help you sweat harder, so that you can maximize the results of your training. They usually come in bright colors and patterns, that’s why they’re not necessarily recommended underneath light colored fabric or think materials.

Great for: Workout sets, intense activity.


arm shaper

This shapewear only covers the arms, and it’s designed to control, shape and contour that annoying underarm flab.

Great for: Long sleeve tops and sweaters.

I hope this guide was useful and informative for you guys!