How To Choose Shapewear For The Midsection


     I wanted to talk a little bit about the different types of shapewear that can help with a problematic midsection. My food intolerances mean that I sometimes bloat up a lot; and when I choose to wear something more fitting, shapewear is the only way I can save myself from questions about when the baby is due.

Degree of control

   From super restrictive to gently hugging:


  To hide your tum and give you a small midsection there is nothing like a real corset with steel boning. It can look really awesome and feel really sexy. The downside is that they can be pricey, take getting used to, and can be visible under clothing (layering spanx on top helps a bit). The safest style is longer in the front so that the fat doesn't bulge out below. Or, wear high-waisted control briefs. If you can afford it, a custom-made one is the most comfortable and flattering, as a generic one is made to fit a generic hourglass figure and might be tight or loos in some places.

Shapewear with boning

   This looks like spanx but with plastic boning. This holds the tum in pretty well, and is more comfortable than a corset. Watch out that the quality is not to cheap, otherwise the boning will bend when you sit. After a couple of hours of wear the boning can get a bit uncomfortable, but it usually suffices to shift the piece around a bit to change the pressure points.

Shapewear without boning

This smooths things out but usually doesn't hold things in. Such pieces are right for you if you just want to avoid rolls under clothes. These often look best if you size up: you get a smoothing effect and don't look like a stuffed sausage. Another problem with boning-less shapewear is that it tends to roll up if you move around a lot; especially if there are no silicone strips.

Which style to pick?

   If your torso is long or if you are tall, you need to check whether the shapewear is long enough for you. If you are petite, you might have the opposite problem.
Good shapewear (except corsets) should have silicone on the inside to prevent rolling up and shifting.
   Black vs nude is another choice. For the pros and cons of each read this post.

For issues with the midsection, you have a couple of choices:

Control brief:

  Works beautifully on the lower belly. There is risk of a muffin top if it doesn't go high enough. Another problem area can be the butt: the tight brief can often split fuller butt cheeks into two.

Control shorts:

  These go down to your knees, and some are even high-waisted.They do an amazing job of smoothing and holding everything in from bra band to knees, at the cost of spending double the time in the bathroom. Unless you get one of those with a hole in the crotch. I haven't tried that myself, so I haven't idea ow navigable it is.

Waist cincher

  My favourite option. these are sometimes called shape wear corsets. It does not complicate bathroom visits (you should wear panties over it) and it is easy to choose the right size. It lets you wear your favourite cotton panties.


   It is not easy to find something that will flatter every bust and fit every torso length, so bodies are very much hit or miss. However, the right piece can smooth out your entire silhouette. An open-bust piece will allow you to wear your own bra. A bodysuit may often give you quad butt cheeks just like the control briefs. Do check how high the piece goes under your armpits: high means you get extra smoothing, but also potential rubbing, and bits peeking out under sleeveless stuff.

   None of these is "better" than the others. What will work best for you depends on your body's proportions, distribution of fat, and personal preferences. Nothing beats trying things on in the store! I recommend being very very picky and being prepared to pay a bit more for the perfect piece.

Personal recommendations:

    I have been trying on several pieces from Debenhams, and the Natural Shaping Waist nipper is definitely worth recommending. It holds everything in, doesn't roll up, and importantly the plastic boning doesn't bends but doesn't after I have been sitting. It is a tube (doesn't have a hook-and-eye fastening) so it can be a tad tricky to wear, but totally worth it.

The boning

  Here is an interesting piece from Already Pretty about whether shapewear is "wrong" or insulting.

Do you (or would you) wear shapewear? Do you have a piece that you could recommend?
Image courtesy Anna Fischer

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