The best shapewear pieces of all time—hardworking heroes that smooth, lift, and sculpt

We’ve tried the best shapewear across sizes and styles from bodysuits to structured all-in-ones

best shapewear for women composite of women in shapewear pieces
(Image credit: Future / Marks & Spencer / Triumph)

The best shapewear will sculpt and smooth your shape in a way that is incomparable to your regular underwear. Utilizing some of the best fabrications and textile tech that the industry has to offer, shapewear can be a game-changer for your wardrobe.  

Whatever your body type, shapewear can still have a place in your wardrobe essentials. Having earned an unfair reputation as an item that is rigid and painful, the best shapewear is actually breathable, contour molding and can help you get the desired effect under your clothing. Shapewear is there to underpin and enhance your wardrobe and for many women it serves as a confidence boost helping them slip into an item of clothing they'd previously discounted. 

With a host of new shapewear brands as well as some of the best plus size shapewear brands emerging in recent years, lingerie designers are taking advantage of new fabrications and technology to create comfortable shapewear that breathes and moves with you, without compromising on fit and silhouette. 

We've tried and tested the best shapewear that's actually worth wearing—so you can shop with complete confidence.

Who makes the best shapewear

These are the best shapewear brands to shop now:

How to choose the best shapewear 

The best shapewear styles are self-explanatory in that they’re designed to smooth the area they’re covering. For example:

  • Shaping shorts—will streamline your thighs, offering a smoother finish under clingy fabrics.
  • High-waisted shorts and briefs—will sculpt and flatter your tummy. 
  • A waist trainer—will add definition to your middle, if you're looking to create an hourglass body shape.
  • An all-in-one body or slinky slip—this will offer all-over smoothness, flattering a tummy, sculpting your thighs, waist and bottom in the process. 

Once you've worked out what item of shapewear you want, consider the level of control you want. Brands usually list the level of control offered by an item to make this easy to navigate. Consider when you'll be wearing the shapewear and the type of item it will go underneath. For clingier items, you may want firmer control, whereas for floatier or softer pieces, whereas for every day you may choose to go with a lighter control just to give you a little added smoothness. Think about how much support and sculpting you really want. 

Lightest control—light control pieces tend to feel more like a gentle hug. Made of super stretchy lycra, they'll gently smooth out tummies and thighs and offer gentle contouring of bums. 

Firmest control—at the other end of the spectrum, firm or heavy control shapewear are made of weightier fabrics and often contain contouring panels. These offer the most uplift and shaping, but you're likely to notice you're wearing them and they may feel the least comfortable. 

The best shapewear as reviewed by our experts

Tried and tested by our fashion team, these are the best shapewear pieces across sizes, styles, and fits—for better support and comfort.

Best shapewear for most occasions

Specifications

Price: $148 / £132
Size: XS-XL, equivalent to bra sizes 30C-40D and dress sizes 4-18
Colors: Beige and black
Body Material: 51% elastane, 49% nylon
Gusset Material: 80% nylon, 20% elastane
Wash: Machine wash at 86°F/30°C
Made in: Vietnam

Reasons to buy

+
Solves a multitude of problems in one fell swoop
+
Comfortable to wear

Reasons to avoid

-
Built-in bra not suitable for all body shapes

The Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Low Back Mid Thigh Bodysuit is a full-length body piece of lingerie. By construction, it's serious shapewear—it holds in the tummy, hones thighs, and lifts the bust with a built-in bra. Nonetheless, since it features lightweight, super-stretchy material, it offers full flexibility of movement.

The Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Low Back Mid Thigh Bodysuit boasts multiway straps, which can be worn in an impressive five different ways. There's even an option to go backless. Spanx categorizes this bodysuit as a mid-range ‘level 2’ in terms of hold, akin to the feel of a firm hug. Because it relies on the soft, stretchy fabric to sculpt your shape, there are no niggling contour panels to contend with, making it comfortable enough for all-day wear. Ultimately, an investment buy that will quickly earn its keep in your wardrobe.

See our full Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Low Back Mid Thigh Bodysuit review

(opens in new tab)

Spanx OnCore High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short (opens in new tab) | Sizes: XS-3XL | Price: $78

These mid-thigh shorts smooth and secure the tummy area with high compression material. Enjoy your most flattering fit yet.

Best stylish shapewear for smoothing

Specifications

Price: $210 / £130
Sizes: 34-46, equivalent to UK sizes 6-18
Colors: Black and beige
Special Features: Press studs on the gusset
Material: 67% nylon, 33% elastane
Wash: Machine wash at 86°F/30°C

Reasons to buy

+
Can be worn with your own bra
+
More attractive than most shapewear

Reasons to avoid

-
Delicate fabric at risk of snagging

The beauty of the Wolford Tulle Forming Body comes from its simplicity. Crafted from a semi-sheer tulle and edged with a luxe velvet trim, it’s free from strap adjusters or fastenings. Perfect for anyone who finds the sizing tricky to master when it comes to bodysuits with built-in bras, the scoop neckline makes room for you to wear your own bra beneath. The straps are wide enough to hide your bra straps, too, for a nice, neat finish. 

Designed to provide light hold, this body won’t make your figure look dramatically different, but it will compress your shape and smooth out any lumps and bumps. Wear yours beneath silky evening dresses or high-waisted jeans for a guaranteed confidence boost. 

See our full Wolford Tulle Forming Body review

(opens in new tab)

Wolford Sheer Touch Forming Body (opens in new tab) | Sizes: XS-L, A-E | Price: $130 / £120

A silky bodysuit with adjustable straps, a deep neckline, and cinched waistline. It hugs the body’s natural curves, without feeling restrictive.

3. Marks And Spencer Anti-Chafing Thigh Slimmer

Best high-street shapewear

Specifications

Price: $30/£18
Sizes: 8-22
Colors: Black and beige
Material: 54% elastane, 46% polyamide (exclusive of trimmings)
Gusset Material: 100% cotton
Wash: 104°F/40°C
Made in: Thailand

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price
+
Great quality 

Reasons to avoid

-
Cuffed legs create thigh bulge

One of the worst side effects of wearing a dress in warmer weather is the dreaded thigh chafe. Enter the M&S Anti-chafing Thigh Slimmer, which is designed to solve that very problem. 

Crafted from a super-stretchy elastane blend, it won’t significantly alter your appearance but will smooth and hone your thighs for a really flattering silhouette. Thanks to the lack of side seams, VPL isn’t a problem either, meaning these shorts will sit undetected beneath even the most form-fitting outfits. Marks & Spencer’s patented Cool Comfort technology is the cherry on top, using lightweight fabrics and unique cooling technology to let the skin breathe. 

(opens in new tab)

Marks & Spencer Firm control Magicwear™ Strapless Body (opens in new tab)| Sizes: 34-40/ B-E | Price: $69 / £39.50

Offering full upper body shaping, the clever panels on this body will smooth and lift. With a built-in bra, it's perfect to wear underneath dresses instead of your usual bra and knickers. 

Best shapewear for lower budgets

Specifications

Price: $34 / £20
Sizes: 10-20
Colors: Black
Body Material: 72% polyamide, 28% elastane
Gusset Material: 100% cotton
Wash: Hand-wash only
Made in: China

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable to wear
+
Easy to conceal beneath clothes 

Reasons to avoid

-
Tricky to get on and off

If you’re new to shapewear and you want to smooth and flatten your stomach, then the Pour Moi Definitions High Waist Shaping Brief is the perfect place to start.The fit is firm, but certainly not restrictive, giving you a glimpse into what shapewear can do for your figure. The lightweight fabric, teamed with the fact that the contouring panels are only on the front of the briefs, makes for a comfortable fit you can enjoy all day long. In fact, because of how comfy they are we rate these briefs as one of the top pieces of plus size shapewear you can buy. Complete with a super-high waist, tuck yours into your bra to mimic the effect of an all-in-one bodysuit. 

See our full Pour Moi Definitions High Waist Shaping Brief review 

(opens in new tab)

Pour Moi Definitions Shaping Control Thong (opens in new tab) | Cup Sizes: S-3XL | Price: $27 / £15

With lightweight fabric, the Definitions Shaping thong shapes the posterior, flattens, and tightens the tummy area. Even so, it’s undeniably comfortable, featuring a bonded finish that won’t dig in.

Best shapewear shorts

Specifications

Price: $90 / £65
Sizes: XS-XL, equivalent to UK sizes 6-22
Colors: Black, brown, and beige
Material: 74% polyamide, 26% elastane
Wash: Hand-washing recommended
Made in: China

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable to wear
+
No VPL 

Reasons to avoid

-
Comes up a little small

Meet Heist: the inclusive lingerie brand that understands one-size-fits-all beige does not fit all. Case in point: The Highlight Short, an enduring bestseller, comes in three different shades of nude. Vast shade range aside, The Highlight Short features patented HeroPanels, cleverly positioned to smooth the stomach, sculpt thighs, and lift the bum. Additionally, the shorts offer firm compression where needed, thanks to the non-restrictive, sweat-wicking fabric. What's more, it includes an impressive 20,000 laser perforations, which allow the skin beneath to breathe.

See our full Heist The Highlight Short review

(opens in new tab)

Heist The Outer Body (opens in new tab) | Sizes: XS-XL | Price: $138 / £95

A do-it-all bodysuit that slims and accentuates the waist, stomach, and bust. Available in three traditional colors and multiple sizes.

6. SKIMS Maternity Sculpting Short Mid Thigh

Best maternity shapewear

Specifications

Price: $34 / £34
Size: XXS-5X
Colors: Sand, mica, clay, ochre, sienna, umber, oxide, cocoa, and onyx
Body Material: Nylon and spandex
Gusset Material: N/A
Wash: Machine wash cold, no bleach
Made in: Turkey

Reasons to buy

+
Inclusive size range 
+
Non-compressive core for a growing baby 
+
Supportive material 

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs small, size up 

In contrast to traditional shapewear designed to cinch in the waist, maternity shapewear should not compress, squeeze, or feel restrictive. Rather, the shapewear worn during pregnancy (and postpartum) should adapt to your body as it fluctuates. Accordingly, it's imperative to research and interrogate the fabric, fit, and level of support offered. 

The Skims Maternity Sculpting Short Mid Thigh ticks these boxes. Naturally, it's common to associate the word "sculpting" with rigid material and discomfort. But fear not: These shorts integrate a non-compressive core, which adjusts its shape for a growing baby bump. Even so, this opaque pair leverages all of the design elements we'd normally see (and love) in shapewear—secure hold, soft abdominal support, breathable fabric, and the BBL effect. Moreover, it includes a silicone band on the back of the waist, which prevents rolling and chafing.

(opens in new tab)

Skims Maternity Sculpting Bodysuit Mid-Thigh (opens in new tab) | Cup Sizes: XXS-5XL | Price: $64 / £62 | To lift and shape your natural form during pregnancy, this all-in-one is based on your pregnancy size, but if you want a very light sculpt, size up. With a non-compressive core this is designed to support a growing bump. 


7. Miraclesuit Booty Boost Hi Waist Bike Pant

Best shapewear to boost your bum

Specifications

Price: $62 / £56
Size: S-L, equivalent to UK sizes 8-18
Colors: Black or beige
Special Features: Removable padding
Body Material: 64% nylon, 36% elastane
Inner Mesh Material: 84% nylon, 16% elastane
Wash: Machine washable up to 104°F/40°C. Remove padding before washing
Made in: Nicaragua

Reasons to buy

+
Can be worn with or without padding
+
Silicone edging keeps legs in place 

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited size and range 

Shapewear is normally concerned with minimizing your frame, rather than enhancing it. These clever shorts manage to do both. The Booty Boost Hi Waist Bike Pant features compression paneling across the stomach, which smooths away lumps and bumps. The shorts also have inner-ply, mesh fabric that offers comfort for extended, long-duration wear. In other words, you can bid farewell to restrictive lingerie—once and for all.

Furthermore, the pair includes removable padding at the back, creating the illusion of a bigger, perkier posterior. A better bum without having to do a single squat? Consider us sold. If you'd prefer to forgo the padding, the shorts features ruched detailing and cleverly placed seams. They'll still help accentuate your behind, just with slightly less impact. They won't ride up either, thanks to silicone edging along the legs, which keep them perfectly in place.

(opens in new tab)

Miraclesuit Sexy Sheer Extra Firm Control High-Waist Half Slip (opens in new tab) | Sizes: XS-XL | Price: $62 / £57

This lingerie piece smooths the upper and lower torso areas, and its double midriff panels specifically flatten the tummy pooch and hips. By design, it serves as a bra, pair of panties, and waist-shaper in one.

Best shapewear bodysuit

Specifications

Price: $107 / £62
Sizes: 34B-42DD
Colors: Black or Beige
Special Features: Hook-and-eye fastening across the gusset
Material: 56% polyamide, 32% elastane, 12% polyester
Wash: Hand-wash only
Made in: Morocco

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality fabric
+
Camouflages well beneath clothing 

Reasons to avoid

-
Bra sizing won’t work for all body shapes
-
Limited shade range 

Featuring a built-in bra, soft silky fabric, and peek-a-boo mesh paneling, the Triumph True Shape Sensation Bodysuit makes shapewear sexy. 

If you’re looking for something to smooth and shape your frame, which you won’t be itching to take off by 9 pm, this is the bodysuit for you. Creating nice, clean lines beneath clothes, it’s easily camouflaged under even the slinkiest, most form-fitting of dresses. 

Swerving the niggling problem of a digging back band, it’s far more comfortable than wearing a body with a separate bra. The only downside is that as the sizing works by a bra, as opposed to dress size, it won’t work for all body shapes. 

See our full Triumph True Shape Sensation Bodysuit review

(opens in new tab)

Triumph True Shape Sensation Body Suit (opens in new tab) | Sizes: 34B-40D | Price: $102 / £75

This shaping bodysuit will lift and sculpt your silhouette for a smooth finish under dresses and tops. With unpadded cups for maximum comfort and shaping wires for streamlined lift and hold of your silhouette.

9. Commando Two-Faced Control Strapless Slip

Best strapless shapewear

Specifications

Price: $98 / £89
Sizes: S-L, equivalent to UK sizes 8-18
Colors: Beige and black
Body Material: 4% nylon, 43% cotton, 13% Spandex
Bust Material: 78% nylon, 22% Spandex
Wash: Gentle cycle up to 86°F/30°C
Made in: USA

Reasons to buy

+
Could be worn over your own bra
+
Comfortable to wear 

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited sizing

For those who hate the restrictive feel of traditional shapewear, this soft slip has just enough hold to hone your shape without any tell-tale rolling. Finishing just above the knee, the versatile piece can be layered under mini, midi, or maxi dresses. The top half isn’t padded or underwired, so while those with smaller boobs could get away without wearing a bra, it doesn’t offer support for bigger busts. Fortunately, its lightweight fabric is stretchy enough for adding a strapless bra beneath. Plus, the design's raw-cut edges and minimal seams eliminate the dreaded Visible Panty Line (VPL).

(opens in new tab)

Commando Classic Control Short (opens in new tab) | Sizes: XS-3XL | Price: $58 / £58

Timeless, supportive, and comfortable: a staple for your lingerie drawer. Made of 100% cotton gusset, these shorts incorporate luxe microfiber, light-to-moderate compression, and raw-cut edges to minimize bulging and digging.

10. Maidenform Waistnipper

Best shapewear for a smaller waist

Specifications

Price: $45 / £32
Sizes: S-3XL, equivalent to UK sizes 8-18
Colors: Beige, black and white
Material: 79% nylon, 21% elastane
Wash: Hand-wash only
Made in : USA

Reasons to buy

+
Firm control, while remaining comfortable
+
Can wear your own bra 
+
Front hook and eyes for easy on and off

Reasons to avoid

-
Sizes come up smaller

The Maidenform Waistnipper is an iconic part of the brand’s shapewear family. Soft and smooth with an easy hook-and-eye front, it doesn’t feel as restrictive as waist trainers often can. We promise you’ll last all day in this surprisingly comfy piece of shapewear, rather than feeling like you’ve been poured into a corset. 

This piece is perfect for creating natural curves, nipping in the waist a little bit more, with panels up the front and back to keep the shape. Its main plus is minimizing hip bulge, for a smoother silhouette. When putting the Waistnipper on, we suggest starting at the bottom with the hook-and-eye fastenings. You can opt for your own bra to complete the look. 

(opens in new tab)

Maidenform Shaping Brief With Cool Comfort (opens in new tab) | Sizes: S-2XL | Price: $15 / £14

These shaping briefs leverage breathable, sweat-wicking fabric, courtesy of the brand’s Cool Comfort™ technology.

11. Miraclesuit Instant Tummy Tuck High Waist Thigh Slimmer

Best shapewear to slim your stomach

Specifications

Price: $59 / £55
Sizes: S-3XL
Colors: Beige and black
Material: 64% Nylon, 36% Elastane
Wash: Machine washable
Made in: Nicaragua

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable to wear
+
Easy to take on and off

Reasons to avoid

-
No cons from us

With a strapline that promises you'll 'look 10lbs lighter in 10 seconds,' it's fair to say our expectations for these shorts were set pretty high. And boy did they deliver.

At an initial glance, these shorts look like they can dig into your body—after all, they're covered in a criss-cross of paneling. However, once wiggled on, they're surprisingly roomy and breathable. For us, the 'miracle' comes in the form of a double-lined panel at the stomach. Not only does this flatten and smooth the stomach area, it virtually blurs lumps and bumps. Similar to a bodysuit, the design comes up high enough to tuck into your bra, without the associated logistical problems in the bathroom.  

(opens in new tab)

Miraclesuit Fit & Firm Hi-Waist Brief (opens in new tab) | Sizes: S-2XL | Price: $46 / £42

With a seamed design, this all-new lingerie piece contours and tones the body, featuring silky fabric, singe-ply construction, and soft mesh panels. 


What fabric should you look for when buying shapewear

Fabric is very important when buying shapewear. The best shapewear contours your shape and offers smoothing and lifting properties, molding to your silhouette in the same way as best leggings. Sometimes shapewear can be quite heavy, which, on warmer days, can be a recipe for disaster. 

When shopping for the best shapewear, always look for breathable fabrics. The textile industry now has innovative and high-tech fabrics that offer both breathability and shaping, you don't have to be uncomfortably hot in shapewear.

Shapewear is made from stretch fabric, but the designers know what size works for what shape. The temptation to size down in shapewear is an old fashion myth. Buy your regular size as anything too small will dig in and actually have the opposite effect, canceling out the very reason your bought shapewear in the first place. 

Does shapewear work?

Shapewear works if you're looking to smooth and sculpt your shape. The idea of shapewear, is as the name suggests to add shape to your silhouette. Depending on the kind you buy, it will sculpt different areas of your body, which means that it is important to purchase the right piece of shapewear in the first place. 

Shapewear isn't designed to change your size, it offers the ability to smooth out lumps and bumps and particularly under more bodycon outfits, it creates a streamlined silhouette and can make your clothes look better and you feel more confident. 

What is shapewear good for?

Shapewear for many women aids in their confidence when wearing certain items. Offering a smooth finish under your clothes, think of it as putting down foundations. You wouldn't build a house without laying the groundwork, when constructing an outfit, you have to think about what's going underneath as much as the final piece of jewelry or chosen shoe. 

Shapewear is good for creating a smooth and polished finish. It will often help more tailored or bodycon pieces sit flatter on the body and can help give you that final lift and sculpt that helps you feel confident. 

Shapewear is now available at all different price points, so how much you spend on the best shapewear is really quite personal. Specialist lingerie and shapewear brands will cost more, but often they have a lot of research and fit expertise at their disposal.