10 best shapewear pieces to smooth & cinch

Let’s be honest: having kids changes your body. Suddenly, there’s a permanent pooch where your once flat tummy was, and you’ve got a few extra lumps and bumps popping up in other places. But it’s A-OK because our little bundles of joy were worth it. Plus, at this stage in the game, we’ve learned to embrace what we’ve got and love ourselves no matter what because it’s not about being perfect. 

With that in mind, we still want to look and feel our best, and a handy little tool known as shapewear can help us achieve that in a cinch. A few key pieces of the best shapewear you can buy right now can add to our already-existing arsenal of belly bandits and well-fitting, comfortable bras. 

The shapewear market has exploded in recent years. Since the inception of SPANX’s first feetless control top pantyhose in 2000, the global shapewear market has grown to more than $1.9 billion — with hundreds, if not thousands, of styles available. Undoubtedly, women are spending their hard-earned money on the sometimes constrictive garments that promise a smoother foundation underneath their clothes. 

What is shapewear? 

Shapewear includes bras, panties, biker-style shorts, leggings, bodysuits, and full-body garments that offer light to firmer compression to smooth and shape areas of the body, virtually eliminating any lumps and bumps under clothing. 

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Once just a celebrity red-carpet stylist hack, it finally became mainstream in the mid-2000s. Shapewear can provide the smoothest possible look under your clothes and, sometimes, even make you look one to two sizes smaller. It operates essentially as a “compression garment,” meant to squeeze and “suck you in” wherever you desire. It’s almost like being photoshopped IRL. What’s not to love?

How to shop for shapewear

  • Compression: The most important thing to know is its varying compression levels. A lighter compression garment will do more smoothing, whereas heavier compression will provide more shaping. 
  • Styles: There are many options, be it a bodysuit to whittle the middle, a biker shorts style to slim hips and thighs, or a full-length piece to target all the areas simultaneously. You’ll want to make sure your shaper doesn’t show, so first figure out what body parts you’re trying to address and then figure out if your chosen dress or outfit will allow it to be completely inconspicuous. 
  • Sizing: It’s a common misconception that women should size down to get more of a “squeeze” with their body shapers. The compression level ‌accomplishes that. For the best effect, you must shop based on your NORMAL pants or dress size. Like bras, all brands run differently, so be sure to check out their size chart for reference. 
  • Other Features: Do you want to ‌WYOB (“wear your own bra”) or hook it to your bra, or do you want one built into the garment? Do you want to ensure it won’t roll down (a common issue with shapewear, so look for silicone lined on the edges), or will it be easy enough to get in and out of the restroom? Can you breathe in it? These are all factors to consider when choosing your perfect piece. 

Related: 4 fave postpartum shapewear finds to support your recovery & confidence

Levels of compression in shapewear for women 

The most important factor when considering a shapewear piece ‌is the level of compression you might look for. It can mean the difference between being able to breathe in it – or not. Here is a breakdown: 

  • Light compression: This will have the most stretch and give and allow you the most room to breathe. It’ll provide a seamless and smooth look under clothes. 
  • Medium compression: A medium compression piece will allow for some shaping and smoothing out unwanted lumps and bumps but won’t ‌make you look smaller. It’ll be sturdier and have less give than those lighter compression pieces. 

Firm compression: The firmest pieces will have the most snug fit, making them the hardest to get on and off, and you will feel the squeeze — but this means it can help you trim off one or two dress sizes!

10 best shapewear pieces for women 

Now that you’ve got an idea of what shapewear can do, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best shapewear for women you can get right now. Whether you want it for a special occasion or just everyday use, we’ve got you covered. 


$75 (on sale for $37.50)

Seamless Bra Bodysuit

A bodysuit has been the must-have piece the first few seasons (and they transition beautifully from summer to fall) and us moms love them because they’re multitasking like we are! This bodysuit from Eby not only has a built-in bra, which is a huge bonus, but it’s completely smooth and seamless with no slip-grip technology so it stays in place!

Legging 2.0



Legging 2.0

We love products that do double-duty and obviously leggings are a momming staple. This pair from Honeylove literally molds to your body like a second skin and its inner shaping panels help sculpt the body perfectly. Oh and best of all, they aren’t see-through when you bend over!

Fusion High Waist Shaper Short



Fusion High Waist Shaper Short

I really consider these my go-to. If you’re going to have one pair of shapewear, this is the style to get, as it smoothes an area where many women feel they need it (hips and thighs) and goes easily under most items of clothing. This Felina pair offers firm control with a seamless, invisible design. The ultra high rise silhouette provides 360-degree contour sculpting, while fully bonded panels flatten the tummy and cinch the side waist.

Vanishing Edge High Waist Brief



Vanishing Edge High Waist Brief

Let your panties pull their weight by doing more than just covering your lady bits. This pair from SOMA secretly helps to slim and whittle the middle with a high level of compression right up to the bra line, while also sculpting the waist.

Suit Your Fancy Open Bust Catsuit



Suit Your Fancy Open Bust Catsuit

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention SPANX in a shapewear roundup, as the brand virtually invented the category. This catsuit style slims and shapes multiple spots at once, so it’s a great bang-for-your-buck option. It’s a mid-level support, so not too light but not too firm, and has open access so you you can wear your own bra (while smoothing any back bulges in the process!)

Waist Trainer



Waist Trainer

Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS is giving SPANX a run for its money, and it all started with a waist cincher. Not your grandma’s girdle, some women like that corset feel for the ultimate squeeze to get that coveted hourglass shape.

Center Stage 2-Piece Set



Center Stage 2-Piece Set

We love Lizzo and all the body-pos energy she brings to not only her performances, but her debut shapewear collection with Fabletics called Yitty. This two-piece set offers everything you need — a shaping bra top, paired with a pair of shaping shorts. It comes in lots of great colors and prints and up to a size 6X.




High Waist Seamless Butt Lifter Tummy Control Shorts

Have you ever noticed how some high-compression shapewear can inadvertently flatten your buttocks, while it’s flattening your tummy? Well, SHAPELLX has come up with a solution for that! They’ve left out the compression in the rear of this pair so you can still keep your shape in the rearview. 

LuxeLift Tank



LuxeLift Tank

Built-in bra support plus a medium compression tummy smoothing makes this Knix tank a must-have under everything. Plus you’ll love the silky soft microfiber fabric that won’t ride up while you’re wearing it.

High Waist Shaping Capri



High Waist Shaping Capri

Sometimes you need a little more than what a basic bike shortie has to offer. Enter the Capri-length shaper, which offers medium compression to tame the bustline down to the calves. It works under jeans, dresses, long skirts, and more, and you’ll love the buttery soft fabric that’s infused with Vitamin E.

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