Shapewear 101: Why and HOW to wear it

shapewear 101

Before we dive into Shapewear 101, I want to tell you about one of my news nightmares. Why? It illustrates one of my key points about shapewear and explains precisely the reasons I swear by it for professional events.

I’ve just finished an on-set interview and return to my desk feeling rather pleased. That segment went great, I think to myself. Then, my producer rushes over with concern in her eyes.“Lindsay, you could totally see your underwear out there! Are you wearing lace?” she asks. “We could see EVERYTHING.”

My eyes drop to my computer and my heart sinks. The emails are already coming in: That was scandalous!“, “If I wanted to see this, I would open a Victoria’s Secret catalog”, “What was your anchor thinking when she wore that dress?” 

Thankfully, this was just a dream. It didn’t ACTUALLY happen, but it’s really not that much of a stretch. Changing light can reveal much more than you anticipate, especially on a TV set! You’d be shocked at how eager viewers are to comment on a journalist’s wardrobe or appearance. Although usually well-intentioned, these remarks are blunt and can sting a bit.

Where does shapewear fit into this equation? 

Whether you are dressing for a special event, preparing for a big presentation, or work in television news—NO woman wants a wardrobe malfunction!

why wear shapewearshapewear 101High-Waisted Shaper Shorts

Shapewear not only gives your confidence a boost with its smoothing and sculpting powers, it takes that particular worry of your plate. You and your curves are covered. When it comes to looking elegant and professional, modesty is where it’s at!

Shapewear 101: Why wear it?

  • More retailers are working with thinner, revealing fabrics. Shapewear provides must-needed coverage.
  • Unlined dresses (think Amazon finds) show everything & demand additional support
  • Allows fitted silhouettes to feel sleek and tasteful, not trashy

shapewear guideAmazon Dress | High-Waisted Shaper Shorts | Bow Heels

Now, let’s dive to into more specifics about shapewear and knock down a few misconceptions.

First, I know some people might be reading this saying…  C’mon… you don’t need shapewear. You’re right, no one NEEDS shapewear! We are beautiful just the way we are. That said, it’s important to remember bodies are ever-changing. Sometimes we feel amazing, other times we might need a little confidence boost.

Maybe life is getting in the way of your gym routine, perhaps holiday parties have left you with a bit more padding than you’d like, or you’ve lost significant weight and feel self-conscious about your excess skin. After I had my son, shapewear helped me come to terms with my postpartum body. I needed time to ease back into my fitness routine and loved how these high waisted shaping leggings and shaping tights smoothed out the areas I was hung up on.

Shapewear can help you appreciate your shape as it is NOW. And there’s no reason to feel embarrassed about using it!

That’s one of the reasons I was so excited to collaborate with Shapermint for this post. This company gets it! It’s a marketplace that sells a wide range of shapers… andhere’s the really cool part—it was created by women just like you and me, who use shapewear for all the reasons above. 

Are you new to shapewear? Still think it’s something only your grandmother would wear! Trust me, these garments have come a long way. Shapewear is now super comfortable AND effective. But, there are a few tricks of the trade.

Empetua High-Waisted Shaper Panty | Tweed Dress

Shapewear 101: What to know before you wear

Buy the appropriate size.

Don’t make the mistake of buying a size too small thinking it will hold you in better. You will not only feel uncomfortable, you will also be creating unwanted bulges in the same areas you are trying to smooth. In contrast, when you choose the right size, your shapewear stays firmly in place, no rolling down, no need to tug or pull. Best of all, you get the sleek look you desire.

Understand the levels.

Shapewear is organized in levels of compression. News flash: It doesn’t have to feel like a corset or straight jacket to work! In fact, that’s probably why shapewear gets a bad rap. Lower compression levels provide a “smoothing” effect, while higher compression styles are fashioned with heavier fabrics to “sculpt” and shape your body. Read descriptions carefully so you understand exactly what a particular piece of shapewear is offering. Levels vary from brand to brand. For instance, Shapermint describes them as Medium (light control), Medium-High (firm control) and High (extra-firm control). What does that all mean?

  • Medium: Everyday shapewear pieces to smooth trouble spots and allow you to wear your clothing more comfortably
  • Medium-High: Adds subtle contours to your shape, helping accentuate your curves. Made with supple, stretchy fabrics that move with your body.
  • High: Have a special occasion coming up? These pieces are perfect for formal, structured clothing like wedding dresses, prom gowns and evening/cocktail attire. You will feel toned without feeling constricted.

 No lines, no problems! Shapewear ensures I don’t need to worry about my backside. 

Color confidential.

Sure, nude is boring… but it’s versatile. Think carefully about the colors you’ll be wearing your shapewear with before making your purchase.

High waist for the win!

Wearing a slinky dress? There is nothing worse that undergarments creating a “muffin top” where there isn’t one. High-waisted panty, shorts and bodysuit shapers guarantee a smooth line all the way up your torso. I always prefer higher waistlines, as I find them more comfortable. Make sure your garment offers some sort of anti-slip function so it stays put. Shapermint’s styles have a handy silicone strip.

Have shapewear questions? Please ask in the comments below. I’m happy to help!

Use code: LINDSAY10 for 10 percent off your Shapermint puchase

[Thanks to Shapermint for sponsoring this post]



  1. Kathleen Cregg | 26th Nov 18

    What a perfect post! I’ve never found shapewear that I’ve liked but maybe it wasn’t the right size. I’ll have to try this brand, sounds like it’s a winner! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women | 26th Nov 18

    I must be honest and say I have never tried shapewear but I totally see where you are coming from with this. It shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks – besides they can’t tell anyway. Plus if this gives you a huge confidence boost – then that’s a huge plus in my book.

  3. Angel Strunk | 30th Nov 18

    I love using shapewear with dresses. I’m able to still look curvy without looking lumpy! Thanks for sharing these tips.

    • laveremis | 1st Dec 18

      So happy to help you find shapewear you enjoy and to pass along a few tips that guided my selections! Hope you are having a great day Angel.

  4. Annette Lynn Watkins | 6th Oct 20

    I love the article. I am looking for a shapewear that lifts and smooths on the “bra” section and works as a slimmer on the rest. I have dresses similar to the one you are wearing from Amazon and cannot wear because of my undergarments not looking smooth. do you have any suggestions? this really is helpful and I appreciate you posting the information on here. Love your dress from Amazon. Beautiful!

    • laveremis | 10th Nov 20

      Hi Annette, so sorry I am just seeing this! I got a bit behind on the blog. What I typically wear underneath Amazon dresses is either high-waisted shaper tights (here’s an example from Spanx – but you could get any brand or a high-waisted shaper short for summer days ( You want to find shapewear that hits your body significantly above the waistline, ideally the rib cage area. This eliminates any bulging created by shapewear that sits at your waist. I’ve also tried full body shapewear ( it’s pretty much guaranteed to give you a smooth look… but I personally find them a bit constraining and prefer tights or shorts. Shapewear is one of those things you have to kind of test out to find what is best for your body and preferences. Three brands I would recommend: Spanx, Assets (cheaper version of Spanx) and Shapermint ( .

    • laveremis | 10th Nov 20

      I just realized I didn’t full address the “lifts and smooths” part of your question. Most of the shapewear I’ve personally experimented with smooths out the lower body. I haven’t yet found something with a built-in bra that was worth trying. I’m still looking and will let you know if I find something. Right now, the closet option for that would be what’s called an all over body shaper.

  5. Irza, The Supermelon | 24th Sep 23

    Wow, this article really breaks down the benefits and practical tips for wearing shapewear in a way that anyone can understand and feel confident trying it out!

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