25 Best shapewear 2023: our top selection for smoothing and sculpting | The Sun

SOMETIMES we need an extra hand to feel our best selves. The best shapewear enhances your figure, making you feel confident, sexy and ready to take on anything.

We're not just talking high-waisted Spandex pants – there is shapewear for all kinds of needs. Whether that's lifting your butt, pulling in your waist or simply smoothing your tummy rolls.

Don't worry, shapewear has come a long way since its inception. It's now all about being really comfortable and feeling as though you aren't actually wearing any at all.

Thanks to new names like Kim Kardashian's label Skims, it can actually look pretty good too. So you might even want to wear some pieces as actual evening attire.

To help you navigate this now-wonderful, empowering space, we've found the best shapewear to shop online now. From Spanx to Skims and Heist, we've got it all.

What is shapewear?

Shapewear is literally what it says in the name: clothes that work to shape and flatter your body.

According to senior stylist at Thread, Millie Rich: "Shapewear is an undergarment that helps smooth and sculpt your figure to accentuate your natural curves."

  • Best shapewear leggings: Conturve High Waisted Shaping Leggings
  • Best shapewear for your waist: SKIMS Boned Stretch-Woven Waist Trainer
  • Best shapewear butt lifter: Ningmi High-Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper
  • Best shapewear for a low-cut: Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body
  • Best shapewear knickers: Essential Minimizer Hipster
  • Best shapewear slip: Next Firm Tummy Control Lace Slip
  • Best shapewear shorts: John Lewis Tessa Light Control Thigh Slimmer Shorts
  • Best shapewear dress: Wolford Tulle Forming Dress

Conturve High-Waisted Shaping Leggings

  • Conturve High-Waisted Shaping Leggings, £19.99 from Conturve – buy here

Leggings are a year-round wardrobe staple. In winter you can pair them with oversized knits and boots, and in summer you can swap those for a lightweight linen shirt and some sandals. 

These seamless shapwear leggings from Conturve smooth and shape your body, with a supportive waist panel for extra support.

You'll never want to go near a pair of jeans again once you've gotten used to the extra-high-waisted comfort you get from these leggings. 

Be aware that although these leggings aren't at all see-through they are considered undergarments, so are best worn with long jumpers and tops, or even under trousers if you want extra support.

Material: Premium stretch fabric Style: leggings Colours: black Size range: S to 4XL

Skims High-Waist Shine Briefs

  • Skims High-Waist Shine Briefs, £48 from Harrods – buy here

Shapewear queen Kim Kardashian knows how to finesse a high-waisted brief that brings out your curves.

The Skims Shine collection is made to enhance your figure without skimping on comfort, featuring an ultra-soft finish and seamless design.

Choose from Onyx, Cocoa and Sienna to find one that suits your skin tone.

Material: Stretch-polyamide Style: briefs Colours: cocoa, onyx and sienna Size range: XXS to 5XL

Skims Sculpting Bodysuit W.Snaps

  • Skims Sculpting Bodysuit W.Snaps, £60 from Skims – buy here

A Skims best-seller, the Everyday Shapewear Bodysuit pulls in your core while simulatenously shaping and lifting your butt.

The Skims support level of this is rated strong so expect high-intensity sculpting.

It comes in nine different shades, but keep your eye on the site because these bad boys sell out pretty quickly.

Material: Spandex Style: body Colours: nine variations of nude Size range: XXS to 5XL

Dorina Skin Skulpt High Waist Shaping Shorts

  • Dorina Skin Skulpt Nylon Blend Mesh and Micro High Waist Shaping Shorts, £20.50 from Asos – buy here

Head to ASOS for the Dorina Skin Skulpt mesh shorts, equipped with a high-rise waist for support.

Not only are they flattering and reasonably priced, they're cut from recycled fabric so you're shopping sustainably too.

The mesh cut out is cool too, in case you fancy doubling them as a hot date night outfit.

Material: Recycled stretch fabric Style: shorts Colours: black Size range: UK 8 to 16

Ningmi High-Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper Butt Lifter

  • Ningmi High-Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper Butt Lifter Boyshorts, from £11.99 at Amazon – buy here

Ningmi's Butt Lifter Boyshorts are a number one bestseller in Amazon's 'Women's Control Knickers' category, so you can be sure they come highly rated by shoppers who have tried and tested this fave.

With high waist support and featuring a four steel bone design, the strong elastic spandex promises to help tighten your waist and belly, while remaining breathable in warmer weather.

One reviewer raves: "I’ve tried a few different ‘suck in’ shorts but none have worked as well as these do! I’ve been self-conscious of my mum tum and hip dips since having a baby and these have just given me my confidence back!"

Material: Stretch-cotton Style: shorts Colours: black Size range: S TO XXL

Joyshaper High Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper Butt Lifter Control Knickers

  • Joyshaper High Waisted Tummy Control Bodyshaper Butt Lifter Control Knickers, from £17.99 at Amazon – buy here

Joyshaper's tummy control knickers are decorated with floral detailing which adds a stylish touch to your shapewear drawer – but don't worry, the seam-free design will keep your silhouette perfectly smooth and free of the dreaded VPL.

As well as lifting your bum and flattening your tum, they're great for preventing chafing when you're wearing a dress or skirt in the summer.

Material: Stretch fabric Style: shorts Colours: beige Size range: S TO XXXL

We tested: Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body

  • Spanx Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body, £132 from Selfridges – buy here

Love wearing bodycon dresses with plunging necklines? You'll want Spanx' Suit Your Fancy Plunge Stretch-Jersey Body on your radar.

It's a little pricey at £132, but this works for all all-over body sculpt, from your thighs to your waist, hips and bust, lifting your cleavage with padded cups and leaving an open back.

If you have a smaller bust then you might want to size down for this one as we tried a medium (we're size 12-14) and it definitely could have been tighter around the back, although it still gave us a sculpting fit.

It clings to your whole body in the best way, cut from an ultra-soft stretch fabric, with a U shaped support in-between the cups that holds them well in place.

Like all Spanx products, the quality can't be faulted and the removable straps are adjustable so you can decide how much lift you really want for your cleavage.

Definitely invest in this if you love a backless dress or deep neckline, as it'll never fail to give you a flattering silhouette.

Material: 51% elastane, 49% nylon Style: body Colours: black and beige Size range: XS to XL

We tested: Spanx Higher Power Shorts 

  • Spanx Higher Power Shorts, £35 from Selfridges – buy here

If you're after a smoothing, sculpting shapewear staple that ticks off your tummy, thighs and butt all in one, then Spanx's Higher Power Shorts just might be for you.

Available in soft nude (above) or very black, these are full coverage shorts with an ultra-high waist compared to the classic Power Shorts that Spanx also offer.

When we first got them out of the packaging, we were wondering how on earth we would get them on as they look quite small, but that's because the shorts pull you in so well. 

We're obsessed with these. Not only do they completely flatten your stomach (even when we tried them on straight after eating), they sculpt your figure, accentuating the curves of your hips and butt.

There's even a slightly sticky waistband around the top which stops them moving as you wear them and they're so comfortable we can imagine wearing them all evening at a party with no problem whatsoever.

They're a lot higher than any other shape wear shorts we've tried, they go right up to your bust, which gives you really smooth shaping, ideal for wearing underneath tight-fitting dresses or jumpsuits.

Material: 54% nylon, 46% elastane Style: shorts Colours: black and beige Size range: XS to XL

Maidenform Women's Pretty Collection-Body Briefer with Lace Bodysuit

  • Maidenform Women's Ultimate Slimmer Bodysuit, from £28.51 from Amazon – buy here

A favourite under party dresses, this shaping design feels like sexy lingerie – it just happens to enhance in all the right places.

Fans rave that it's a 'confidence booster', 'the best fitting I have ever had', offers 'firm support' and 'makes me look a stone lighter'.

Material: 76% polyamide, 24% elastane Style: bodysuit Colours: white Size range: 36C to 42DD

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

  • Spanx Faux Leather Leggings, £72 from Amazon – buy here

Spanx have been around for over two decades, and the brand is still leading the charge when it comes to solution and style-focused shapewear.

These leggings have the shapewear benefits of a slimming power waistband and seamless front, plus the Spanx quality devotees have come to love and expect. 

'An excellent fit, very slimming and a good length,' writes a fan.

Material: 94% polyamide, 6% elastane Style: leggings Colours: black Size range: 3XS to 3XL

Triumph Essential Minimizer Hipster

  • Essential Minimizer Hipster, £18 from Triumph – buy here

These no-nonsense hipsters from Triumph's best-selling Minimizer range might look like normal knickers, but they're actually shaping too. Winner!

Promising an invisible panty line, these discreet hipsters feature gathers at the back for supporting shape and are crafted from barely-there fabric, which ensures a forming and smoothing effect.

Pair with the coordinating minimizer bra to complete the set.

Material: 79% polyamide, 21% elastane Style: hipster briefs Colours: variety Size range: 8 to 20

Wolford Tulle Forming Dress

  • Tulle forming dress, £155 from Wolford – buy here

A shapewear dress is a fuss-free choice that's perfect for any formal occasions, so will cover you from Christmas parties to summer weddings.

This lightly shaping dress is made from a sheer stretch tulle with space for your bra, and offers the same Wolford quality we've come to expect from this brand's fantastic hosiery.

The light sheer tulle fabric ensures you can wear this under the most delicate of dresses or skirts.

Material: 67% nylon, 33% elastane Style: dress Colours: nude and black Size range: 34 to 44

Chantelle Seamless Camisole Top

  • Soft Stretch Seamless Camisole, £32 by Chantelle from Harvey Nichols – buy here

Less sculpting and more smoothing, Chantelle's cami top is perfect for building a seam-free silhouette under any outfit.

Featuring adjustable, seamless shoulder straps, it's made from a stretchy fabric that will feel like a second skin – which is exactly what we want from our shapewear!

Material: 80% polyamide, 20% elastane Style: camisole Colours: black and nude Size range: XS to L

Fashion Forms U Plunge Backless Bodysuit

  • Fashion Forms U Plunge backless bodysuit, £33.24 from Etsy – buy here

Backless tops and dresses used to be notoriously hard to find underwear for, but nowadays the options are limitless.

If your backless garment also happens to have a deep plunging neckline, this bodysuit by Fashion Forms is absolutely perfect.

Featuring detachable straps, self-adhesive push-up underwired padded cups and a backless design, this plunge front, thong bodysuit ensures a completely smooth and seam-free silhouette.

Material: Stretch fabric Style: body Colours: black and nude Size range: S to XL

John Lewis Tessa Light Control Thigh Slimmer Shorts, Black

  • Tessa Light Control Thigh Slimmer Shorts, £22 from John Lewis – buy here

These shorts from John Lewis's Tessa range are a bestseller, and come in at a great price if you're looking for an everyday style to wear under dresses and skirts.

Providing a seam-free finish and lightweight control shaping, they fit securely and comfortably from the midriff to the thigh — ideal for preventing the dreaded chafe.

Material: 70% elastane, 30% polyamide Style: shorts Colours: black and almond Size range: 8 to 18

Sure You Like Tummy Control Shorts

  • SURE YOU LIKE Women High Waist Body Shaper Underwear, from £12.99 at Amazon – buy here

These well-priced shorts are designed to slim the tummy, highlight the waist and smooth away any lumps and bumps, and they won't disappoint.

Fans like the comfortable fit, and the fact they can be worn all day under all sorts of different outfits – yep, they're that easy to forget about.

'Very comfortable and made me feel like a princess model, obviously not Tyra Banks, but had me doing an elegant wiggle,' writes one happy customer.

Material: 92% polyamide, 8% elastane,  Style: high-waist shorts Colours: black Size range: 8 to 20

Maidenform 'Take Inches Off' Unitard

  • Maidenform Women's Take Inches Off Unitard Bodysuit, £44.99 at Amazon – buy here

This bodysuit provides firm control with space for your own bra, smoothing from the bra line right down to the mid-thigh.

It's great under dresses and fans insist it's the best shapewear piece for all kinds of complaints, from muffin tops to a pot belly and unsightly rolls.

One fan writes: 'It feels far more comfortable than the high waisted pants I usually wear because it does not roll down and the shoulder straps can be altered'.

Material: 81% polyamide, 19% elastane Style: bodysuit Colours: beige and black Size range: S to XXL

Commando Whisper Weight Tank

  • Whisper Weight Tank, £46 from Commando – buy here

Commando is the latest brand to hit the UK from across the pond – and it's revolutionising shapewear as we know it.

This cami combines smoothing with ultimate comfort and seamless edges thanks to an innovative raw-cut fabric.

You won't be able to see or feel it under your clothes. 'I never really understood the point of camis, in terms of functional lingerie. 'This one changes that. I can wear lightweight, light-colored tops with this in hot weather without uncomfortable added bulk. 'It actually makes my existing wardrobe more usable.' writes a convert.

Material: 78% nylon, 22% Spandex Style: camisole Colours: black, beige and white Size range: XS to XXL

M&S Body Define Firm Control No VPL Full Briefs

  • Body Define Firm Control No VPL Full Briefs, £15 from M&S – buy here

M&S has long been a must for shapewear, and their current collection is filled with some great options – like these firm control briefs.

Available in two shades, the no-VPL waistband is designed to be super comfortable while offering you firm tummy control.

The colourways can also be worn with bras from the M&S range for a coordinated underwear look. No more mismatching!

Material: 62% polyamide, 38% elastane Style: knickers Colours: rose quartz and black Size range: 8 to 24

M&S Collection Light Control No VPL Full Briefs 2-pack

  • Light Control No VPL Full Briefs 2-pack, £12 from M&S – buy here

You just can't argue with £12 for two pairs of light control briefs, can you?

These are perfect for comfy everyday wear, providing gentle compression to smooth and flatten your tummy, while still remaining totally wearable.

Material: 77% polyamide, 23% elastane Style: briefs Colours: black Size range: 8 to 24

Next Firm Tummy Control Cupped Lace Slip

  • Firm Tummy Control Cupped Lace Slip, £36 from Next – buy here

Next's shaping slip manages to do both sexy and practical, so it's a win in our eyes.

Designed to smooth the tummy and hips, the bra is lightly padded and comes with multiway straps, which can also be removed if you need to go strapless.

It's firm control, too, with one 5-star reviewer describing it as being a comfortable fit and easy to put on.

Material: 78% nylon, 18% elastane, 4% polyester Style: slip Colours: black, chocolate brown, nude and tan brown Size range: 32A to 38DD

Next Total Support Smoothing Microfibre Body

  • Total Support Smoothing Microfibre Body, £42 from Next – buy here

In the mood for sexy lingerie?

This smoothing body from Next not only looks amazing but features a firm control panel if you want a bit of extra help in the tummy department.

The full cup design makes it ideal for larger busts too, with cup sizes available from B to F.

Material: 82% nylon, 18% elastane Style: body Colours: black and nude Size range: 34B to 34F

John Lewis 15 Denier Sleek Body Shaper Tights

  • 15 Denier Sleek Body Shaper Tights, £7 from John Lewis – buy here

Shapewear comes in all forms, so if you're not keen on specific control pants – why not swap out your ordinary tights for a shaping pair?

John Lewis's 15 denier tights are available in six shades, including black, sable and natural, and they feature a wide waistband to hold in and smooth your waist, hips and tummy.

Be sure to pick up a few pairs, as these are always handy to have in your underwear drawer.

Material: 88% nylon, 11% elastane, 1% cotton Style: tights Colours: variety Size range: S to XL

KSKshape Arm Shaper Compression Sleeves

  • KSKshape Arm Shaper Compression Sleeves, from £15.99 at Amazon – buy here

If you're self-conscious about excess skin on your back and arms, an arm shaper can be a great confidence booster, helping to smooth and sculpt those areas with no one needing to know you haven't been working out religiously.

Offering medium compression, this version by KSKshape is also recommended for post-surgery, arm liposuction surgery recovery, brachioplasty and post-weight loss.

It even promises to provide back support and help correct your posture, with one shopper commenting: 'You will unconsciously keep straight when you sit.'

Material: 79% nylon, 21% Spandex Style: sleeves Colours: black and beige Size range: S to XXXL

SKIMS Boned Stretch-woven Waist Trainer

  • SKIMS Boned stretch-woven waist trainer, £74 from Selfridges – buy here

Kim K's shapewear brand SKIMS has been a cult favourite ever since it launched – this waist trainer even had a waiting list.

You can get your hands on it right now from Selfridges and you won't be disappointed. Crafted from ultra-thin and soft neoprene with flexible boning for a smoothe silhouette, wear this on days when you want to feel extra cinched and fabulous.

Material: 75% nylon, 25% elastane; interior 81% nylon, 19% elastane Style: waist trainer Colours: clay and onyx Size range: XXS to XXXXL

What are the different kinds of shapewear?

Thread's senior stylist, Millie Rich says that there are so many different types to wear depending on what you want to achieve.

"Controlling camisoles – perfect to help control your tummy; controlling tights/shorts – can be worn under dresses and skirts to shape your bum and thighs; corsets – on-trend garments used to make your waist appear smaller while shaping your tummy," she explains. "Body shapers – a full-coverage shaper that shapes your torso and your breasts; control pants – a great option for cinching your tummy and streamlining your waist; salf slips – perfect if you want to wear a mini dress or skirt, they shape your waist, tummy, and thighs; dress slips – like a half slip, a dress slip is great to wear underneath a mini dress and provides full support from the bust to the hips."

Why does shapewear roll down?

Rich says that the best way to stop shapewear from rolling down is to shop for the correct size. Pretty straightforward.

Can you wear shapewear everyday?

"There's no hard rules when it comes to wearing shapewear every day, but there are some things you should be aware of," says Rich. "There are different types of control levels when it comes to shapewear, but light control is recommended if you want to wear shapewear every day, as it is much more stretchy and flexible. Firm-control, on the other hand, is often more rigid and is best kept for special occasions, as it offers a lot of sculpting, but not much comfort.

"For the best breast support it is best to wear underwire bikini tops and bikinis with a push-up quality, which can help make exercise, such as swimming, more comfortable. Simply Be blends theirs with high elastane, nylon fabrics, and thicker straps, so you feel comfortable and supported all over."

Does shapewear really work?

Since shapewear is a compression garment, it can smooth out lumps and bumps, accentuate curves and make whole areas appear thinner and flatter.

Shapewear is designed to make everything look smooth and is worn underneath clothes, such as dresses and tight trousers, but it won't create permanent changes.

Some people insist that wearing waist trainers can shrink your waist over time, but there's no evidence to prove that.

There is, however, scientific evidence to show wearing too-tight garments for too long can create digestive problems.

How do I choose shapewear?

The type of shapewear you choose depends on the look you're trying to achieve – and the occasion you need it for.

Be sure to pick the right size (the size you normally wear). Tone your legs with shapewear shorts or leggings, high-waist knickers can do wonders for making tummies look flat, and a shapewear bodysuit will smooth the whole torso (that's why it's a favourite under bodycon dresses).

How much do body shapers cost?

As with any item of clothing, you'll find body shapers at a range of price points.

M&S is a good option for budget-friendly shapewear, with 2-pack knickers starting at £10.

Premium shapewear brands like Spanx are more expensive: you're looking at paying around £60 for the Suit Your Fancy high-rise stretch jersey thong.

Should you buy shapewear a size smaller?

No, you should buy shapewear in your regular size.

Since shapewear is made from slimming, stretch fabrics, it will fit snugly over your body when you get the right size – that's how it was designed to work.

What is the best shapewear for under a dress?

It all depends on what sort of coverage you're after, but for occasion dresses, lots of women opt for a full bodyshaper or slip for the most seamless of bases.

If you feel like you just want some extra support in the form of a light control pant or tights, then these are really comfy and wearable options. Just do you!

What is the best shapewear for tummy control?

Anything that says 'firm control' is your friend if you're looking for sculpting in the tummy area.

Check out some of the briefs and shorts in our picks above: these will smooth your silhouette, without creating any unwanted bulges.

What colour shapewear is best?

Shapewear comes in a brilliant variety of skin-matched tones these days, so opt for something similar to your complexion for a completely natural look under light or sheer clothing.

Meanwhile, for more opaque garments, you can't go wrong with white or black shapewear – plus you can mix and match it with your other underwear.

Where to buy shapewear?

As you can see from our feature, there are so many places that stock high quality shapewear, including:

  • Conturve
  • Selfridges
  • ASOS
  • John Lewis
  • M&S

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