Welcome to an exciting new era of shapewear. With help from the burgeoning body positive movement, shapewear’s old reputation – as a dated, unforgiving element within your underwear drawer – is being overwritten. New brands are jostling for a position on our best shapewear list.
Wearing shapewear has become an empowering choice; one of celebrating natural body shapes and emphasising curves rather than squeezing them into spandex two sizes too small. Now, the industry is built around keywords that include comfort, support and wearability, with collections evolving to include everything from tummy smoothing bodysuits to seamless leggings, extra-supportive bras and shaping slips. These are the pieces that can be worn every day, whether that be to work, Sunday brunch or to your daily yoga class, as well as for special occasions.
Until recently, SPANX has been the leader of the shapewear pack, its Control Top undies industry icons (thanks, in part, to a very famous Renee Zellweger movie moment). But, with more of us opting for control underwear, the original shapewear purveyor has been joined by a legion of exciting new brands who are hell-bent on shaking up the industry. If you’ve ever wanted shapewear brands that offer more size and colour inclusivity, matched with innovative technology and bold designs, now is the time to discover them. Labels such as Pour Moi are turning out high-quality ranges with extensive sizing at competitive prices, while others like Heist, are revolutionising the market with technology usually reserved for Olympians. And that’s merely the start of what we’re dubbing the ‘shapewear renaissance’.
7 exciting new shapewear brands that should be on your radar
Whether you’re looking to add to the shapewear pieces already hiding in your underwear drawer, are a shapewear novice eager to start a collection, or are on the hunt for that one specific confidence-boosting piece, we’ve rounded up the seven shapewear brands you should know about right now. Our selection values comfort, ease and functionality, while also covering a range of price points and levels of compression firmness.
Since launching in 2019, Kim Kardashian West’s shapewear line Skims has had its fair share of criticism (initially for a poor naming choice, most recently for a controversial maternity shapewear line).
Look beyond that, however, and you’ll find a brand that has most definitely nailed the formula for successful shapewear: inclusive sizing (ranging from XXS to XXXXL), inclusive colours (fifteen in total, to suit all skin tones), innovative designs (such as the one-leg Solution Shorts, for wearing under high-slit skirts and Power Mesh Bodysuit for light-compression control). As Kardashian West made clear when launching, this is more than just shapewear. Skims, as she described is, is “solutionwear”; designs to suit, smooth and enhance every body type and empower customers to feel the best version of themselves.
Heist first made its name in 2015 when it reinvented humble hosiery; tights were transformed from an often sorry, saggy and ill-fitting underwear staple into breathable, ladder-resistant, second-skin hosiery that never falls down (apparently Meghan Markle is a fan). Three years later, the brand did the same thing for shapewear, rolling out its first line in 2018 after Fiona Fairhurst – the inventor and designer of the Olympic athlete-approved Speedo FASTSKIN swimsuit – joined as VP of Innovation.
The result, fittingly named The Outer Body, £95, (pictured above) is a feat of fashion innovation and uses similar Olympic athlete-standard technology for the ultimate fit and comfort. Bonded, contoured panels move with your body and support your muscles, breathable second-skin fabric perforated with 20,000 laser cuts ensures that the piece feels light and cool (and won’t chafe), while seam-free bonded edges ensure invisible wear under clothing. It even promises to slim your waistline by 5cm. The sleek, minimalist design of this particular piece is even stylish enough to be worn as outerwear.
The icing on the cake? Heist's inclusive sizing, creating some of the best plus-size shapewear on the market.
Miraclesuit may be best known for their swimwear (boasting the impressive tagline, ‘Look 10lbs Lighter With Miraclesuit Shapewear’), but this British brand also has an impressive shapewear lineup. All of Miraclesuit’s shapewear is an extra firm compression control meaning that it’s high on the support and slimming front, and uses revolutionary Back Magic® technology to shape and contour, but is also super comfortable.
Most of Miraclesuit’s pieces are designed with Wonderful Edge panels - silicone panels that stop pieces from riding up or down - and sheer panelling for cool comfort. Our favourite pieces are bestsellers the Shape Away Extra Firm Body Briefer, £73 which, unlike many other shapewear pieces, targets multiple body parts - the waist, hips, tummy and back with extra firm control panels to the front and sides - whilst also allowing you the freedom to wear your own bra, and the Firm Control High Waist Shaper Thong, £37 which will contour your tummy without flattening your bum.
Built on the belief that ‘people shouldn’t have to overpay for good-fitting lingerie, no matter what their size’, Pour Moi has come a long way from its humble origins as a two-member team in a tiny office above a shop in Macclesfield. Now, it’s one of the UK’s most popular brands for size-inclusive lingerie and shapewear, with sizes going up to a UK 22 and bra sizes up to an impressive J Cup.
We love how Pour Moi sizes its bodysuits by bra size for the ultimate fit – perfect (and popular) examples are two of its bestsellers, the Superfit Full Cup Bodyshaper (gorgeous lace detailing, non-padded, control tummy panel) and Definitions Shapewear Strapless Body, (underwired, moulded cups, contoured body). Also, unlike many other shapewear brands, Pour Moi’s price points are far more affordable, ranging from £16 to £45.
Promising shapewear that ‘keeps you smoothed, not stuffed’, Commando’s sleek, understated designs and seamless, second-skin feel has earnt the brand plenty of celebrity fans (Bella Hadid has been spotted wearing the Butter Control Short and Rihanna wore the Classic Solid Thong under that CFDA naked dress). Our favourite, the Classic Control Thong with a light-to-moderate control, has everything you could possibly want from an everyday shapewear brief.
If there is one thing that Wolford can guarantee, it’s quality. Established in Austria in 1949 as a women’s stocking company, it’s had more than 70 years to perfect its lingerie and hosiery, creating an enviable collection that prioritises functionality and wearability.
You will be paying a premium for that quality, though; prices range from £19 for shaping knee-highs to a staggering £225 for the 70th Anniversary Form Body Suit. That said, its shapewear collections are categorised by compression level (‘light’, ‘medium’ and ‘strong’) meaning there are choices for every customer. Additionally, each piece is designed to be so comfortable that you forget you’re even wearing it. Highlights of the collection are shapewear slips (3W Forming Dress) and under skirts (Sheer Touch Forming Skirt), which are ideal for layering under skirt suits and cocktail dresses.
Time and again, Triumph proves that shapewear – no matter how functional, smoothing and sculpting – can still be feminine and sexy. With designs featuring delicate lace edging, filigree tulle panels and vintage-inspired embroidery in sweet pastel shades and pretty floral prints, Triumph is our go-to for date-night shapewear.
At £46, the Infinite Sensation Bodydress is a great budget alternative to Wolford’s shaping slip and is super versatile (it’s designed without cups and is suitable to match with any bra). The True Shape Sensation Highwaist panties are another favourite because they look and feel far more expensive than they actually are; a super-high waist creates a smooth silhouette right up to the bust, soft mesh panels help with ease of movement and a slim silicone band at the waist prevents any slips.
Esther is a features and fashion writer and stylist, who is particularly focused on the intersection between fashion and social issues and feminism. Her work has been featured in woman&home, Refinery29, ELLE, Stylist, Dazed, Grazia, HelloGiggles, and HuffPost.
She also founded The Activist, a fashion, arts, and culture magazine, dedicated to celebrating young women and non-binary people in politics and protest.
When she’s not writing and styling, Esther is an avid bookworm and usually devouring something from the latest Women’s Prize longlist, getting crafty with embroidery art, or enjoying a jaunt around the Suffolk countryside.
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