What Is Shapewear? A Beginner’s Guide to Shapewear

What Is Shapewear? A Beginner’s Guide to Shapewear

Whether you have a party, performance or special event coming up or you just want to look ultra-put-together at an important meeting, a shaping undergarment can help sculpt your figure. If you’re new to shapewear, finding the right piece for your needs may be daunting. However, when you learn more about the styles and fabrics that make a garment well-suited to your specific needs, you’ll be able to find a shapewear style that fits you perfectly. Read on to learn more about shapewear for women as well as shaper bras for women. And discover how you can select the perfect foundation garment for any occasion.

What Is Shapewear?

Shapewear is the name for foundation undergarments that sculpt your silhouette and help your clothes drape smoothly over your body. Shapewear is manufactured from special high-tech fabrics that pull in, support and lift your body while compressing uneven areas. You can wear shapewear anywhere and anytime you want to boost your confidence. Some people prefer to don shapewear for special occasions, but many women wear it daily at work or out with friends.

Is Shapewear Comfortable?

Today’s shapewear is comfortable, lightweight and breathable. Seamless construction and no-cling finishes make these garments a nearly invisible addition to your wardrobe. Most shapewear fabrics combine polyamide and elastane to provide soft-touch compression. The textiles are designed to provide different degrees of compression, from light to firm contouring. At Leonisa, we have four compression levels: super comfy, moderate, firm and extra firm. Panels and seams are strategically placed to create a lifted look for the hips or butt while nipping in at the waist and flattening the belly.

What Kind of Shapewear Should I Choose?

Shapewear is designed in many different styles to accommodate a wide range of bodies and needs. Some women like garments that provide minimum coverage, like panties that will flatten their tummies or lift their buttocks while they wear their favorite bra. Others want to trim their waists for an hourglass look. Many women simply want an underlayer that will provide full, smooth coverage under their clothes without feeling overly tight or constricting. They may also choose shapewear to match their skin tone or to be undetectable under more revealing clothes like mini, backless, strapless or bodycon dresses.

If you’re just beginning your search for the perfect shapewear, you should familiarize yourself with the different design categories that are available to you. Shapewear can be classified by its cut, purpose, compression level or any combination of these traits. Some kinds of shapewear are specifically designed to slim the torso, while other types focus on defining areas like the buttocks, breasts and arms. All foundation undergarments offer aesthetic benefits, but there may be differences between everyday shapewear and garments that help you recover from surgery. 

Maybe you’d like to lift your butt or wear a short, slinky dress with complete confidence. No matter what you want to address, you’re sure to find a shapewear garment that helps you feel great when you know which construction, style and type will work best for you.

What is Shapewear Compression?

Every person has different preferences when it comes to shapewear. You may be someone who wants as little fabric against your skin as possible while targeting a problem area. On the other hand, you may feel more confident in a moderate-to-firm compression garment that offers support and sculpting power. Whatever your concern, a little knowledge about shapewear compression levels will help you find a piece that helps you feel confident and comfortable in your skin. 

compression levels

Light Compression

If you’ve heard that shapewear is hot, restrictive and uncomfortable, you’ll be happy to know that many variants are soft, light and breathable. At Leonisa, we call it Super Comfy Compression. Garments made from fabrics like SkinFuse® gently hug your curves and wear like a second skin as they smooth your curves, help prevent chafing under dresses and make you feel more put-together. If you’re new to shapewear, these gentle undergarments will keep you comfortable throughout the day.

Moderate Compression

If you want firmer compression that provides a slimming effect, choose shapewear from Leonisa with moderate compression. A soft, stretchy fabric like DuraFit® will shape your curves while helping you stay cool. If you want extra contouring power under a favorite dress and still have plenty of freedom to move, this is the shapewear to choose. You can wear these garments every day or keep them on hand for special occasions. Some people even wear shapewear while they exercise.

Firm Compression

When you want to sculpt your figure and give your curves an extra boost, choose foundation undergarments that offer firm compression. Shapewear made from PowerSlim® fabric is resilient enough to sculpt your curves. These items are wonderful to wear when you want to make a good impression at a special event. Some styles can even help improve your posture and encourage better blood circulation after surgery. Firm compression garments may feel somewhat restrictive if you have never worn shapewear before, but your body will adapt so long as you choose a properly sized and fitted piece. Many people find it beneficial to wear firm-compression shapewear daily.

Shapewear Styles

Your wardrobe is full of different kinds of clothes. Perhaps you wear pants and suits to work then jeans in the afternoon. Maybe you wear dresses to dinners, weekend parties and semi-formal events. You probably have workout clothes and a few fancy pieces for extra-special occasions. Since you need various clothing styles in your life, you also need shapewear that is designed to coordinate with the specific garments you choose to wear.

Woman Posing in Compression wear

Waist Cinchers

Waist cinchers put the focus on shaping your figure to create an hourglass silhouette. Depending on your chosen compression level, you can take inches off your waist. These versatile garments sculpt your torso, whether you wear them to work or to work out. They’re also great for emphasizing your feminine shape at a special event. Some models even help improve your posture. Waist cinchers accommodate many body types, and many styles have bands you can adjust to influence the shape of your body. If you plan to wear a close-fitting knit, look for seamless waist-slimming shapewear that will suit your needs.

Hip Shapers and Shapewear Panties

Hip and butt shapers glide over your torso, cover your hips, smooth your lower tummy and stretch over your ribcage. Carefully placed seams and compression panels can lift and accentuate your buttocks. Shapewear panties offer a minimalist approach to body sculpting and are great for hiding bulges and smoothing your hips and belly under pants and jeans. Many women wear these shapers every day to boost their confidence. They slim your tummy area and hips while leaving you free to show plenty of skin. 

These comfortable garments are easy to wear under all kinds of clothing. Some are specially padded to give your butt an extra boost, and many styles are designed to hide visible panty lines and diminish the appearance of cellulite.

Shaper Shorts

Shaper shorts smooth your thighs, hips and torso: they cover your ribcage, shape your waist and stomach, help you avoid visible panty lines and prevent chafing. They’re especially good for creating a feminine silhouette that complements your skirts and summer dresses.

Compression Leggings

Compression leggings can help shape your entire lower body with compression by sculpting your waist, tummy, thighs and buttocks. They can make cellulite less prominent and lift your buttocks to enhance your feminine shape. Compression leggings can double as athleisure garments you can wear to yoga and the gym. Try them under jeans or pair them with a sweater.

Shaping Bodysuits

Bodysuits are all-in-one shapers that sculpt your figure from your bottom to your bust. Most body types will look sleeker in a bodysuit. They smooth out bulges below your bra, shape your waist and provide firm tummy compression. Many bodysuits offer built-in bra cups that offer extra support. They look great under fitted dresses and jumpsuits!

Shaping Slips

Shaping slips are like bodysuits, but the bottom is shaped like a skirt. They can sculpt your curves, smooth your tummy and thighs and provide firm compression under bodycon-style dresses. Most are designed so that you can wear your own bra underneath, and their open bottom makes it convenient to use the restroom.

Cami Shapers

Camisole shapers are easy-to-wear foundation garments that can help sculpt your upper torso. Some camis are supportive enough to replace your bra, while others can be worn as an outer layer. Camisole shapers can smooth your tummy, waist, underarm area and back. They are great to wear every day under tank tops and T-shirts and suit women with natural hourglass figures.

Shaper Bras

Shaper bras help keep your breasts in place and provide an extra lift while smoothing your underarm area and upper back. They provide extra comfort and support and are great to wear every day. Shaper bras are designed for a broad range of cup sizes, and they can help your breasts look firm and youthful under close-fitting tops.

Woman in Tan Compression wear

Specialty Shapewear

When you’re considering shapewear pieces to add to your wardrobe, you may be looking for garments that serve a very particular purpose. Perhaps you dislike how your upper arms look in blazers or long-sleeved tunics, or you need extra support after abdominal surgery. Maybe you’ve just had a baby, and you need to improve your circulation while you work to regain your figure. You may also require seamless shapewear to solve an aesthetic problem, such as smoothing a few lumps under a tailored suit or slinky dress. Fortunately, there are garments at Leonisa designed to specifically address these needs.

Arm Shapers

Arm shapers come in various lengths to smooth out the upper arms, and some smooth down to the wrists. They use compression fabrics to make your arms look more toned and prevent them from jiggling. Some people wear arm shapers to help prevent bruising and swelling while they recover from liposuction. Most arm shapers typically cover the biceps and upper arms, while some reach beyond the elbows. They can connect in the back or under the bust. Arm shapers are suitable for every body type, and they work best under clothes that fully cover the shapewear.

Seamless Shapewear

Seamless shapewear is made of specially fused textile panels that are invisible under your clothes. Whether you choose a panty, bodysuit or butt-lifting short, seamless shapewear helps you avoid visible panty lines (VPL) and unsightly breaks under tight-fitting clothing. 

Since seamless shapewear is made to fit like a second skin, you can wear it under anything. Garments are designed to provide targeted compression levels for different curves you want to smooth out. Seamless shapewear is great for curvy figures, and there are comfortable options for everybody.

Post-surgical Shapewear

Post-surgical shapewear includes compression garments that can help provide support and improve circulation while you heal from surgery. They can prevent bruises from forming and help your body recover faster after liposuction, breast lifts, tummy tucks and many other procedures. Post-surgical shapewear often features special closures that will be least visible and most comfortable under loose-fitting clothing. The fastenings are usually placed to make the shapewear easy to put on and take off.

Postpartum Shapewear

Postpartum shapewear helps new moms heal and regain their pre-pregnancy figure. It’s made in many different styles to accommodate a variety of body types and sizes. Some postpartum shapewear flattens the tummy area and helps new moms feel confident in their shape. Other styles encourage blood circulation and promote postpartum healing after a cesarean section. Many postpartum shapewear styles offer targeted compression and adjustable closures so that the garment can adapt to your needs as your body changes.

Woman in Black Compression wear

Find the Perfect Shapewear for Your Needs

Now that the question “What is shapewear?” has been answered, you’re probably ready to take the plunge to make a purchase. When you’re looking for shapewear, many options at Leonisa can help you feel comfortable and confident. The key to success is finding shapewear that fits well, feels good and looks great under your clothes. Enjoy browsing a wonderful variety of shapewear styles and find your perfect match at Leonisa.

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