Not Your Grandmother's Undergarments

Shapewear has come a long way from your grandmother’s industrial-looking girdles and slips. Here are some of the newest developments in undergarments that can help your clothes fall gracefully over your body.

What lies beneath

With seamless construction and “spot reducing” designs that use compression to reshape your body, the latest shapewear can add or subtract inches where you need it without pinching or poking. Spanx may be the most famous brand, thanks to Oprah’s praise, but other companies also offer similar styles of bodysuits, briefs, camisoles (which can be worn in place of a bra), biker shorts and half-slips, many with high waists to avoid creating a “muffin top.”

 Bra talk

A bra can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The best choice? Find a bra that fits snugly around your ribcage, with fabric that lies flat on the breastbone. And don’t be afraid of the bra fitting specialist, located in many department and specialty lingerie stores. With a quick and professional measure, she can help you on your way to bra fitting success.

Extreme pantyhose

In addition to control top features, which minimize the tummy area, body shaper pantyhose styles now combine hosiery with slimming construction: high-waisted shapers, extra thigh control, even full compression from stomach to toes. You won’t have to sacrifice fashion for good control, either, because you can choose from back seams, textured patterns, fishnets and other dressy styles that look good while they do their work.


Designers have incorporated shapewear technology into one-piece and tankini swimsuits to turn them into personalized figure shapers. But low-tech techniques like ruching around the tummy area can also flatter your waistline while still looking stylish, and prints can be a great option, with patterns that divert attention to and from various areas of the body.