It’s a recurring message that you’ll find all over our blog at Elle Courbee: size correctly! This is the key to comfortable and satisfying shapewear. And it’s the one piece of advice that is always offered up to women at the start of their shapewear journey. It is easier said than done, though. As shapewear is produced in different styles and by different brands, you will likely find that you need to work with a variety of size guides. Sometimes you may need to choose by dress size, other garments may follow an M/L/XL range. Or you may need to go by inches, cm or even bra size.
Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of wearing a dress size smaller in the hope that the compression will make you that dress size. It is far more likely to result in lumps and bumps in places where you don’t want them to be. Far better to buy at your true size and get a lovely smooth silhouette. Similarly, don’t go the other way and buy large because you are nervous about discomfort. Modern shapewear fabrics have just the right amount of stretch for you to remain comfortable in a garment that is made for your measurements. Go large, and the garment is more likely to move or roll down.
Make sure you measure the right bits! This may sound obvious, but it’s easy to measure a little too high or low and end up with a completely inaccurate number. For underbust or bra sizes, measure directly under the breasts, rounding up to the nearest whole inch. Your bust should be measured while wearing a supportive but non-padded bra. Find your waist point by bending slightly to the side and locate where your body creases.
Use a proper tape measure and make sure it sits flat on your body while you measure. Get someone to help if you need to, it will be worth it to get an accurate measurement! If you don’t have a measuring tape, use a piece of string which you can then measure with a ruler.
Shapewear which focusses on your waists, like a cami, briefs or shaping shorts, will tend to be sold with dress size guidance. If you tend to hover between dress sizes, go for the dress size that corresponds to your waist measurement. So if you’re choosing between shaping shorts that are 14-16 or 18-20 and you tend to hover between a standard size 16-18, measure your waist only and consult the brand size guide. Helpfully, you will find brand specific size guides on product pages for garments sold on this site.
Anything that involves a cup size, like a corset or underwired bodysuit, will use a bra size to guide you. So it’s vital that you check your bra size before choosing. All women vary in their bra size throughout their lives, so you should regularly check your size, especially when purchasing something new.
If you want to use shapewear to either enhance or alter your body shape, it’s key to choose not only a style but a size that suits. For apple and pear-shaped women especially this can be tricky. If you are naturally different dress sizes at different parts of your body, then what do you choose when it comes to a shaping bodysuit, for example? The trick here is to go by the measurement of the part of your body that is the focus of compression. So as an example, pear-shaped women who aim to compress their thighs should choose shaping shorts that are correctly sized for their hips.
At Elle Courbee we know the importance of correct sizing. This is why we clearly link brand specific size guidance tables on the garments that we sell. So you can easily work out what’s right for you. If you’re still not sure, we’re easily contactable to help with your purchase!