Shapewear has come a long way from the restrictive, asphyxiating corsets of Victorian times. Where once we relied on whale bones to cinch our waists in, we now have luxurious, breathable fabrics to sculpt our physiques into perfect proportions.
It’s easy to see why you might debate whether it’s a good idea to wear shapewear every day. After all, in the late 19th Century, corsets were known to decrease lung capacity, leading to fainting episodes. However, modern innovation and the creation of bespoke materials such as lycra, or spandex, has revolutionised the market. Indeed, many women now choose to wear plus size shapewear every day. But is it OK to do so? In order to fully address this issue, we need to delve a little deeper into the world of foundation garments.
It’s all about the shapewear
If you browse online or in store, you’ll know there’s a mind boggling array of shapewear on the market. However, these are the main types:
- Control briefs
- Shaping bras
- Shaping Slips
- Smoothing tops
Not only are there many types of shapewear, but there are also different levels of control:
- Light control – this is perfect for smoothing out slight imperfections. Given that these pieces are lightweight and comfortable, this shapewear is great if you need a confidence boost to take you from daywear into the evening.
- Medium control – this shapewear provides a higher level of control, pulling you in in all the right places. This will give more dramatic contouring, while still moving with your body to give you a perfect silhouette.
- Firm/extra firm control – This highest level of control is for when you want to make an impact! Providing extreme contouring, this shapewear is fantastic under that cocktail or wedding dress, but may only be comfortable for a few hours so should definitely be reserved for special occasions.
Finally, we need to mention waist cinchers. Popularised by many A-listers on social media, these pieces are used for waist training, and can actually help to provide long-term waist shrinkage. Just make sure you follow guidelines, and don’t wear them for too long periods of time.
The one bug bear when it comes to shapewear is that it can lead to unsightly bulges. This is caused by wearing shapewear that’s the wrong size. We may mistakenly feel that dropping size will mean more control, but this simply displaces weight over and under the shapewear. From the muffin top to back fat, this can be unsightly and really detracts from why you’re wearing shapewear in the first place. So make sure you get measured properly, check the size guides, and order the right size and fit for you.
Choose your fabric wisely
Also, keep an eye on the fabric used, as some are better than others. What your shapewear is made of will have a huge impact on the quality and comfort of the garment.
Shapewear is made of a nylon and lycra mix. These two fabrics combined are strong, durable, cling to the body and allow for exceptional stretch. This makes them excellent for body shaping. However, they aren’t breathable. This can be an issue for shapewear as they will make your body sweat more. This is fine in cold weather, but can be problematic in warmer weather or when you’re exercising. In fact, for this reason, firm control shapewear has led to skin irritation if worn for long periods.
To counter this issue, modern shapewear incorporates cotton and microfibre. These fabrics achieve two functions: the cotton wicks moisture from the body, and microfibre is excellent for odour control. So don’t just choose your shapewear based on the style or size of the garment, you should also ensure it’s made of the best fabric mix.
The pros and cons summarised
This is tricky in one blog post, but can be summarised below:
Pros of shapewear:
- Provides excellent body contouring.
- Helps give control just where you need it.
- Boosts your confidence!
- Waist training provides long-term benefits.
- Ensures your clothing always fits, so there’s no need to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain a little weight.
- Comes in a wide range of styles to go with any outfit.
Cons of shapewear:
- Can be uncomfortable if worn for too long periods of time.
- Causes excess sweating, if the wrong fabric mix.
- Creates bulges if sized too small.
So as you can see, if sized and selected properly, the pros of wearing shapewear daily definitely outweigh the cons. By choosing the right foundation garments for you, ones that provide the right level of control, exactly where you need it, you’ll be set to look your best, whatever the occasion.
If you don’t know exactly what will work for you, or what size to select, then here at Elle Courbee, we can help direct you to the best plus size shapewear for your body shape. We stock some of the best shapewear on the market, so you can be sure to trust the brands we choose. Check out our plus size range here, or contact us on [email protected] for trusted advice.