Even the most cursory of online searches will throw up a dizzying array of underwear. From traditional briefs, bras and lingerie set to body contouring pieces such as control briefs, shaping corsets and smoothing body slips, the options can seem endless. But before you make your choice, you need to decide which section of the store (online or high street!) is for you. Shaping or non-shaping underwear….that is the question!
This is excellent for everyday use, if you’re only looking for the lightest control possible. Non-shaping underwear does have the prettiest matching sets, with the most extensive range of colours. This underwear is predominantly made of cotton, and embellished with sumptuous materials such as lace, embroidery and silk. However, non-shaping underwear won’t hold you in, and provide the kind of shape control many ladies need. Here’s what you can expect from non-shaping underwear:
Although not considered as ‘shapewear’ I think all ladies will agree that bras provide some shaping. After all, why else would we wear them? Non-shaping bras come in a variety of styles. This includes a full cup, balconette and t-shirt styles. Full cup bras are excellent for the more well-endowed among us and offer a good level of support. Balconette bras are excellent for improving bust shape, as they lift and provide fullness. T-shirt styles are also excellent for providing support, tend to be seam-free and – as the name suggests – are the best choice under fitted tops as they are the least visible.
All these options are available padded or non-padded, depending on how much you want to boost your bustline. They can also be wired or non-wired, depending on the level of support required. Non-shaping bras can be used to improve your bust shape, lifting and boosting your cleavage to fabulous proportions. However, they will do little to reduce back fat or underarm fat. Also, if you’re above a 40G then you’ll struggle to find a bra, unless you can find a specialist seller.
When it comes to briefs, there are a few non-shaping styles to choose from. These include high-waisted, bikini, boy shorts, high leg, Brazilian and thong styles. Which you choose comes down to personal preference and comfort, and whether you need to minimise a VPL. Although high-waisted briefs will help hold you in a little, and high leg underwear is great for appearing to elongate your leg length, if you’re looking for help with controlling and smoothing your silhouette, then you need to look at shapewear.
Slips seemed to be going out of fashion in the late 20th century, but are undergoing a renaissance. Traditionally worn under a dress or skirt, they prevent unlined clothing from riding up. Although slips soften the silhouette, they offer little in the way of control. Most slips on sale today are control slips, providing seam-free smoothing and contouring that’s comfortable enough to be worn all day. This is why they’re a really popular option for wearing under your work wardrobe.
The choice when it comes to shaping underwear is extensive, from control briefs and panty girdles to corsets, bodysuits, waist cinchers and control slips. They each come in a wide variety of styles, depending on your shape and the area you most need help with.
Shaping underwear traditionally comes in three colours – nude, which is the most invisible colour under clothing, white and black. After all, this is your secret weapon and unlikely to be seen in the bedroom! Created from stretchy materials such as lycra (in the UK) and spandex (in the US), breathable cotton mixes and microfibre, shapewear expands and contracts, pulling you in in all the right places. Shaping underwear comes in a fantastic range of sizes. After all, it’s not just plus size ladies that need help with body contouring. Even the slimmest of people can have areas that feel out of proportion. Here are a few examples of shaping underwear:
While we’ve already discussed that non-shaping bras can be used to help improve your décolletage, they do little to minimise the lumps and bumps that can appear around a fitted bra strap. Shaping bras have smoothing panels around the back and under the arms, to smooth and contour around your bra straps. This minimises underarm and hides any back fat. Shaping bras also tend to be sold in a wider range of sizes, including the larger sizes rarely found on the high street.
Control briefs and panty girdles
This control shapewear is the most popular shaping underwear. Control briefs and panty girdles use clever panelling to flatten the waist and hips. Control briefs tend to be high waisted, smoothing the figure and creating a neat waistline. Cycle short style panty girdles provide smooth shaping over the tummy, hips and thighs. If you’re worried about flattening your butt then don’t, clever shapewear will lift and accentuate this area, and some short styles even come with extra padding to achieve a shapely rear!
Shaping briefs and panty girdles tend to come in three levels of control:
- light, for gentle shaping and everyday use;
- medium, for more powerful control; and
- firm control, which provides ultimate shaping for a special occasion.
Once the preserve of Victorian life, the humble corset has come a long way in recent years. Now acceptable as outerwear, the corset is excellent for boosting your bust and minimising your waistline. In fact, the corset – and it’s offspring the waist cincher, which sits below the bustline – are now used to train your waist to a smaller shape. This, we think you’ll agree, makes it the ultimate shaping underwear.
Control slips provide contouring from the shoulder to the thighs and are sold in traditional skirt style or can be bicycle-short style, for wearing under trousers. They’re available overbust, or underbust, meaning that they can be worn with any bra, and under any neckline. As we’ve already stated, control slips are really popular now, and under bust versions are often seen on the likes of Kylie Jenner herself, on her tiny frame!
We hope that’s helped you decide whether to take the plunge and invest in shapewear. As you can see, it’s not just a question of your size, it’s also about your shape and whether you require a little help to cinch, smooth and accentuate any part of your figure. Shapewear isn’t just for the plus size among us, it’s actually there to help everyone and give them confidence in themselves.
Here at Elle Courbee, we specialise in plus size shapewear, with sizes ranging upwards from UK sizes 14-16. Given the current shopping restrictions, many high street shoppers are now switching to online shopping. So if this is your first time choosing plus size shapewear online, then we hope you like our carefully curated collection. Contact us on [email protected] if you need further guidance, our expert team is on hand to help you make the right choices.