Source: Best Health Magazine, November/December 2009
1. Try it on
It’s always best to try shapewear on. Liliana Mann, who owns Linea Intima stores in southern Ontario, says if you can’t, then consider how you buy pantyhose. If you’re an A on the chart on the back of the package, but feel comfortable in a size B, buy a size B.
2. Stay true to your size
A common mistake is buying a size too small, which causes bulges and ripples instead of a smooth line, says Claudette Groody, vice-president of merchandising for Doris Intimates in Montreal, which makes Secret shapewear. So stay true to your size, says Maggie Adams, public relations manager for Spanx. ‘Sometimes women seeking extra comfort or control will size up or down, sacrificing function or comfort.’
3. Know when you’ll wear it
Some shapewear comes in degrees of control. Buy light- and medium-control shapewear for every day, says fashion expert Charla Krupp, author of How Not to Look Old. Light control smoothes out bulges; medium can stop jiggling. Reserve firm for special occasions: It can take you down a size, but is more restricting’hence, not necessarily as comfortable.
4. Avoid white
Buy beige or black, but not white, says Krupp. ‘Even under a white T-shirt, beige looks better.’
5. Test with every outfit
If possible, bring your shapewear with you when you try on an outfit, says Canadian celebrity stylist Linda Gaylard, who helps dress presenters for the Gemini and Genie Awards. ‘I’ve seen shapewear make an outfit look worse, not better,’ she says. One relatively slim client had a scooped-back dress. The shaper came to just above the waist, creating back fat. ‘It can feel like stuffing a sausage.’
6. Pick the right fabric
Consider the fabric of your outer clothes. Cotton may cling to a hosiery-type shaper, Adams says, so opt for shapewear of a slicker fabric, like a polyester/spandex blend. Clothing fabric such as silk or clingy jersey requires seamless shapewear to make it invisible.
7. Pick the right style
Under a jersey wrap-style dress, go with a high-waisted slimmer underneath. Avoid a full-slip style, as those are usually cut too high; wrap dresses typically have a deep V at the cleavage.
8. Consider a body suit
Going black-tie? If you have your eye on a stylish bias-cut gown, a shaping undergarment that goes only to your mid-thigh can create a visible line. Instead, try a body suit that starts under the bust and goes down to the knee.
This article was originally titled "Gone with the Girdle," in the November/December 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.