Saturday, January 3, 2015


Alright fellow mommies with I-had-a-baby tummies.  Or just women.  (And let's face it, I think men are like 2 months away from doing this too given how fitted their clothing is getting.)  Let's talk shapewear.

I've tried a lot of shapewear over the years.  My main problem area is my tummy.  Even as a super-skinny teenager and a low-body-fat working-out-10-hours-a-week 20-something I had a tummy.  So my shapewear is more tummy focused.  But I think some of the lessons can apply to those with other problem areas too.

Hard-core shapewear:
I've learned that nothing shapes quite as well as what is basically a corset.  A super-structured item with boning will do a lot for one's shape.  It can nip in the waist on the sides, smooth out the hips, flatten the tummy.  The trick is finding one that (a) doesn't fold over or do weird things like that, and (b) doesn't dig into the chest or hips too much when sitting down and (c) where the boning doesn't show *too* clearly through your clothes.  After trying several, my personal favorite is:  .  It is structured but still somewhat comfortable, and it is long enough to provide shaping throughout the waist and upper hip area (without leaving big rolls where it ends), but short enough that it doesn't dig in when sitting down. The boning will show through a tad on skin-tight clothes like my herve leger dresses.  But it's not bad.  The hooks do show, so I wear it with the hooks in front for front-seam or front-zip dresses which disguise it, or reverse it and put the hooks in back otherwise (put it on with the hooks in front, and then rotate it).  I even wore the hooks on the side once, for a side-zip dress that had no front or back seams. 

Every-day shapewear:
Have you noticed all those lovely fitted pencil dresses and fitted sweaters I wear to work?  If you're wondering how I pull those off when I supposedly have a gigantor post-baby tummy, the answer is shapewear!  I don't *always* wear it (the roland mouret dress worked without it!), but for some of those outfits, I do.  I bought a very comfortable and simple tank/camisole from Nordstroms that works perfectly for this purpose.  It's just a little more snug than a typical cami, but still pretty comfortable.  And it smooths my tummy down just a tiny bit, and nips my waist in just a tad.  Plus it serves as a cami, which a lot of clothes these days require.  I highly recommend this one, since it is very thin and has nicely adjustable straps.  But just a warning on size - I am a size S in this one and I'm normally an XS in most clothes, so it might run a tad small.  If you have a much longer torso, it might also be a bit short for you (which would result in it rolling up), so check that out before committing.  :)

There are times when I don't want the discomfort or lines from boning, but the cami just doesn't provide the shaping I want.  For those times, the ideal shapewear is a pair of high-waisted briefs.  The waist has to be super high, so it basically reaches the bust.  And it should have one of those grippy strips on the inside at the top, so it doesn't slide down.  Another challenge is avoiding panty lines, since the panties on these types of shapewear are typically granny panties.  I found a shorts-style one to be perfect for me.  And this is another place where the spanx brand excelled.  I've bought many slightly cheaper pairs of similar shapewear, and they were always thicker.  They would either roll down at the top, give me panty lines, or both.  The only time I really enjoyed one of those cheaper pairs was in winter in Boston.  I got a calf-length pair that provided a nice fitted warm layer under dressy clothes in winter and did smooth my hips and thighs.  But it did all the bad roll-down stuff at the top, so I could only wear it if my top was loose and forgiving. I have to admit though, despite buying my high-quality in-between shapewear this summer, I still haven't used it - every time I've considered it, I've either gone for the corset or the tank.

Overall, I highly recommend investing in good shapewear.  If these prices seem a little high, watch for sales.  I bought two of these during Nordstrom's Anniversary sale in the summer.  But I think it's worth spending a little more on a really good item than ending up buying several cheaper ones because they just don't work.  I'm speaking from experience here.  If you can make it to a store to see what works on your body, that's best.  Otherwise, try ordering from a place that has relatively easy returns.  And always try your potential shapewear with the clothing you'd want to wear it with, and always make sure to sit, stand, bend, etc. when you're trying it on to make sure it stays put and is comfortable.

Any tips, or funny shapewear stories, to share?

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