Lola saw me in my Spanx Higher Power shaper, the one that starts just below the bust and ends mid-thigh. It’s super-glam. This was our conversation:
“Mommy, do you wear that so that you look skinny and everything.”
“Um, well, yes, but mostly it’s just for smoothing.” Ahem.
She wasn’t fooled. Smoothing equals slimming. Even an 8 year old knows that.
I am not ashamed to say I need a little help in the smoothing department. Even though I am on day 3 of the Ab and Squat Challenge that my lovely friend Mandy is hosting. Well, I haven’t exactly done day 3, but there’s still time! The night is young… Anyhow, we could all use a little help sometimes. And fortunately, shapers and slimmers and repairers are all designed to help you skip a workout and still shimmy into that cocktail dress. Yes, today is all about shapewear. Not a glamorous part of mom style, no, but essential. Pick your gripe, and I’ll show you the best shaper for the job.
But first, some general guidelines:
1. Pick a Fabric: The higher the nylon percentage, the stronger the hold. Extreme shapewear can help transform your body, but unless a red carpet is in your future, stick to medium control for smoothing and shaping. If it’s not labeled, feel the fabric. The thinner and sleeker, the less control. Most are made of synthetics, but some lines have cotton for breathability.
2. Pick a Size: And make it your real one. Going smaller can lead to discomfort, not to mention possible health problems, and may cause skin to bulge out above and below and the waistband to roll down.
3. Pick a Purpose: Do you want generally slimming shapewear you can wear every day, or something special to wear under a party dress. Specialty shapewear sites, like The Hourglass Angel, offer options you’ve never even considered, like butt-lifting jeans and cellulite smoothing leggings.
The Best Shapewear for Moms
Yes, this exists. There are padded panties, briefs with butt lifting circles cut out, and anything else you can imagine. And a lot that you can’t imagine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Fortunately, there are subtler ways to boost your bottom line.
My Pick (for Subtle Shaping)
My Pick (for Slimming and Control)
There are oodles of options for slimmer thighs, from the original Spanx, which was essentially a control tight with the feet cut off, to bike short style shapers, mid-thigh shapers, and leggings and pants with built-in shaping.
Old fashioned “girdles” used to hit you at the belly button, causing the rest of the fat to squeeze out above it. And the waistbands always flipped down. (Don’t ask me how I know this). Fortunately, they’ve come a long way. Look for a style that hits just below the bra for a smooth, flat line.
Smart new camisoles let you wear your own bra, not like the ill-fitting old styles with a built-in bra. I love this version from Skinnygirl, which makes some of the prettiest shapers I’ve seen, with a lovely lace print.
Why no slips. I don’t believe in shaping slips, that’s why. I have a plain microfiber Cosabella slip that I will use, when I need one, but shaping slips ride up. Every. Single. Time.
As you can see, these aren’t your mama’s girdles. The shapewear industry has really taken off, with new brands introduced all the time, so this is by no means a comprehensive list of everything that’s available. For more options in different price ranges, check out the picks in my Amazon store.