The 9 types of body shapers everyone needs

Confused about the different types of body shapers? These smooth operators are the ultimate confidence boosters

Types of body shapers: Model wearing Heist The Outer Body
(Image credit: Heist)

We all know a decent set of underwear helps lay the foundations for our favourite outfits, but sometimes we needed an extra dose of help from some of the best types of body shapers, too.

Investing in the best shapewear is a great way to streamline your silhouette and enhance your natural curves. Whether you want to avoid a VPL or smooth out a tummy, it can help you look and feel your absolute best.

And it’s come a long way from barely breathable corsets – a good piece of shapewear should be supportive and comfortable, and not leave you desperate to get it off at the end of the night.

Which body shaper should I choose? 

It all depends on the occasion, the outfit and what areas you’re looking to smooth and lift. There’s a plethora of products to choose from, including bodysuits, tights, slips and knickers. Some offer light flattening, while others give firmer control.

“The most common type of shapewear is high-waisted shaping knickers, which are great for eliminating VPL under clothes and smoothing out the tummy and hip area. These are great for all shapes and sizes, and a key piece for your lingerie drawer,” says Lucy Ensum, garment technologist at Figleaves.

If you’re looking for an everyday piece, you probably want to go for something lighter, so it’s more comfortable and breathable, whereas if it’s a special occasion, you can handle something a little firmer.

“For those wanting more support and shaping, bodies and slips work fabulously. Like most shapewear, these come in varying levels of control and firmness, allowing you to choose the level that is right for you,” says Lucy. 

9 types of body shapers you need in your lingerie drawer


Whether you want to give your party dress a boost or are looking for an everyday lift, we’ve scoured the shops for the best shapewear for every shape, size and budget.

The shaping briefs 

Spanx Everyday Shaping Panties Brief in nude


(Image credit: Spanx )
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Spanx Everyday Shaping Panties Brief

Best for smoothing tummy

Specifications

Price: £20
Sizes: Small - XLarge
Control: Firm
Material: 89% Nylon, 10% Elastane, 1% Cotton

Reasons to buy

+
Smooths tummy
+
Comfortable fit for everyday

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two shades

The full slip 

M&S Medium Control Secret Slimming Full Slip


(Image credit: M&S )
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M&S Medium Control Secret Slimming Full Slip

Best all-rounder

Specifications

Price: £29.50
Sizes: 8-24
Control: Medium
Material: 63% polyamide, 37% elastane, (exclusive of trimmings)
Wash: Machine at 40

Reasons to buy

+
Sculpts tummy and hips
+
Smooths VPL
+
Lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two shades

The smoothing body

Figleaves Smoothing Body, £25


(Image credit: Figleaves)
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Figleaves Smoothing Body

Best for everyday wear

Specifications

Price: £25
Sizes: 8-18
Control: Light
Material: 73% Polyamide, 27% Elastane. Gusset Lining 100% Cotton. Exclusive Of Trims
Wash: Hand wash only

Reasons to buy

+
Smoothing your silhouette
+
Adjustable straps
+
Non-padded and non-wired 

Reasons to avoid

-
Only light control

The cycling shorts

Matalan Control Cycling Short


(Image credit: Matalan)
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Matalan Control Cycling Short

Best budget buy

Specifications

Price: £10
Sizes: 10-20
Control: Medium
Material: 71% Polyamide 29% Elastane. 100% Cotton Gusset
Wash: Machine washable

Reasons to buy

+
Smooths tummy, hips and thighs
+
Ideal under pencil skirts and dresses
+
Good value for money

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two sizes
-
Can come up big

The ultimate slimmer 

Maidenform Ultimate Slimmer Body, £38


(Image credit: Maidenform)
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Maidenform Ultimate Slimmer Body

Best for special occasions

Specifications

Price: £38
Sizes: Small - XXLarge
Control: Firm
Material: 81% Polyamide & 19% Elastane
Wash: Hand wash separately

Reasons to buy

+
Can wear own bra
+
Maximum firming and smoothing
+
Adjustable straps

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for everyday wear

The support tights

Wolford Velvet 66 Leg Support Tights


(Image credit: Wolford )
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Wolford Velvet 66 Leg Support Tights

Best for shaping the legs

Specifications

Price: £39
Sizes: xs-xl
Control: Medium
Material: 80% nylon, 20% elastane
Wash: Machine wash cold

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable waistband
+
Knitted heel
+
Aids circulation
+
Protects swelling

Reasons to avoid

-
Only one colour

The waist cincher 

Types of body shapers: Heist The High Waist


(Image credit: Heist)
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Heist The High Waist

Best for slimming

Specifications

Price: £55
Sizes: xs-xl
Control: Firm
Material: 74% Polyamide, 26% elastane. Gusset: 100% cotton.
Wash: Hand Wash

Reasons to buy

+
Improves posture
+
Second-skin fabric
+
Slims up top 5cm off waist
+
No VPL

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive

The leg shaper 

Wacoal Fit & Lift High Waist Long Leg Shaper


(Image credit: Wacoal)

Wacoal Fit & Lift High Waist Long Leg Shaper

Best for a bum lift

Specifications

Price: £68
Sizes: Small - XXLarge
Control: Medium
Material: 68% Nylon/Polyamide/Poliamida, 26% Spandex/Elasthanne/Elastano, 6% Polyester/Polyester/Poliester
Wash: Hand Wash Only

Reasons to buy

+
Flattens tummy
+
Slims legs
+
Lifts the derrière
+
Stays put

Reasons to avoid

-
Only two colours

The shaping vest 

Triumph Trendy Sensation Shapewear Vest


(Image credit: Triumph )
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Triumph Trendy Sensation Shapewear Vest

Best for layering

Specifications

Price: £34
Sizes: s-xl
Control: Light
Material: 87% Polyamide, 13% Elastane
Wash: Machine Wash at 40

Reasons to buy

+
Light smoothing around tummy and hips
+
Good for layering under t-shirts

Reasons to avoid

-
Only light control
Charlie Bell

Charlie is the Deputy Fashion Editor at Future plc across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own.


She bagged her first magazine job in 2009 and has previously written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. Over the years Charlie has embraced anything that was thrown at her from styling celebrities to testing out the best jeans on the high street to writing about must-have beauty buys.


With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.