Last week when I talked about layering and the idea of visible/invisible layers, I mentioned that in order to keep everything smooth in the invisible layers post that I was wearing shape wear. This led to a few of you asking me about different shape wear products and brands.
I must admit that I am somewhat reticent to talk about shape wear– it feels like airing my dirty laundry (hah!). But, since this is a fashion blog I think that it is somewhat appropriate. So, I will share with you the products/brands that I own and when and where I wear them.
Before finding what I think is the best slimming tank top, I had tried many slimming under shirts. One of the first brands that I tried was from Wal-Mart and was the Sweet Nothings Get the Skinny camisole tops. I had several of them in white, and one in black. I also tried the ones with the lace edging. These tanks were super long, but I found that as an annoyance more than a pro. Also, I can’t tell you how many times I poked a hole through the lace trying to tuck the tank top in. If there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s that I don’t want my shape wear to show. That’s not my thing! Also, the straps were skinny which wasn’t so good because they tended to show more under tops–and then there were two sets of straps, one from the tank top and one from my bra. Most of these have been deleted from my wardrobe, but a few of them may still be lingering around.
Another brand/style that I tried is from JC Penney. It is the Worthington Seamless Tank Top. This item isn’t really marketed as shape wear, but it is for wearing under your clothes to create a smooth look. These tank tops were nice, but they didn’t have the shape wear power that I was looking for. I have tried a few other slimming tank tops, but I either cut the tag out or its faded to the point that I can’t read the brand and don’t remember where I bought it. I have two of these, one white and one black.
On to Spanx! I’ve never owned anything from the actual iconic brand, but I have purchased several items from their budget friendly line, Assets, sold at Target. I bought a scoop neck tank top to wear under my work uniform shirts. This is probably one of the best items that I’ve ever bought! It works perfectly to smooth down and gently shape my midsection. And, it doesn’t flatten or squish my chest. I started wearing them under my work shirts and then slowly started wearing them under everything. Eventually, I wanted to see what other colors or styles they had available. I have three in black (mostly for work), one in nude and one in white. I had two in white, but the original one that I purchased in white started to look uber-dingy and had to go. I didn’t buy all of these at Target, though. I remember that one of the colors wasn’t available and I had to buy it from the Spanx website. (Forgive me though, because I don’t remember if it was the nude or white.)
There are two more slimming tops that I want to mention. The first is a nude top from Old Navy and it is a tank top with a built-in bra. I thought that this would be especially good for the warmer months when I don’t want to wear a bra and a shape wear tank top. However, I don’t think that it really is shape wear, because it doesn’t have much strength. Also, for me the bra top has very little support and structure. The last top slimmer is from Self Expressions by Maidenform. It is a 3/4 length v-neck top and is great when I need warmth and slimming! I have one in black and white. This is one of the few exceptions when I allow my shape wear to show.
Now that we’ve talked about the top half options, let’s move on to a mid-section only shaper. I only own one of these, and there’s a reason. It is a Hanes Satin Waist Cincher in nude. I think I bought it to wear under a dress for a wedding I attended. However, it didn’t really work for me. First, it was bumpy and visible under my clothing which is a big no-no! Second, if I remember correctly, it rolled up on itself/rode up. Anyway. It’s tucked away in a clothes bag under the bed in case I ever want to give it a second chance.
The next item is a full body shaper by Delicates. This can be worn strapless and looks a lot like a black one-piece swimsuit. It has a snap closure at the crotch. I don’t remember where I bought it or how much it was. I think that I wore it once or twice, but it doesn’t really work for me. Rarely, in my everyday dressing do I find the need for all over slimming, and it’s just not that comfortable to wear under dresses. For those reasons, this lives under the bed with the waist cincher.
Now, on to the bottom half products that I do wear and like! First up the Self Expressions by Maidenform Dream Boy Short. I have these in nude because they are supposed to give you a seamless line under pants and skirts. However, what I have found is that the waistband hits in the wrong place. It either needs to be shorter so that it stays hidden beneath my pants waistband, or higher so that it can be a tummy smoother, too. Also, the seamless line that they promise ain’t so seamless, and I hate visible panty lines more than anything!
The next item is Sweet Nothings by Maidenform and it is a lightweight shaper. I can’t seem to find an exact match online, but it is the length of a thigh shaper and has a regular length on the waistband. I bought this because it is a nice lightweight option to help smooth away panty lines under pants and skirts, but not overly constricting. And, it doesn’t dig into my thighs like some of them do. I own this in nude.
The second item is very similar, except that it is a stronger level of shaping. The Cupid Comfortable Firm Control Hi-Waist Long Leg Shaper (5519) in nude is great under pants, dresses, and skirts. It can also eliminate the need for me to wear a shaping tank top because it is a waist shaper, too. However, it is not seamless and that can sometimes pose a problem.
My favorite bottom-half shaper that I own is also Cupid brand, but I can’t locate it on their website. It seems that they no longer make this exact style, but there is one that is extremely similar and it is the 5369 Extra Firm Control Triple Panel Hi-Waist Long Leg style.What I like about this one is that it is more seamless than the other Cupid brand shaper that I own and it is definitely a much higher level of shaping! This can be a good and a bad thing. It is not comfortable to wear for long periods of time— the elastic bands at the leg opening start to cut into my thighs. I own this in the nude color, also.
Last, but not least is a new product that I just picked up at Target in the clearance section. It is a black boyshort by Self Expressions by Maidenform. I liked the idea because it is level 2, Firm, and it has tummy control and seems like it would help eliminate visbile panty lines without the thigh shaper. Out of all the things, the thigh shaper is the one that I need the least–it is just nice to have the longer length to eliminate the lines. I am hoping that this boyshort will solve that problem. But, like I said, I haven’t tried it out yet. When I do, I will let you know how I feel about it.
This may be more than you ever wanted to know about shape wear, but hopefully it helps give you some information about products that I like, why I like them, and when I wear them. I think that it is definitely trial and error as we all have our own area’s that we want to smooth and shape! If you are just starting to get into using shape wear, I would recommend that you purchase your items in nude. This is going to allow for the greatest versatility. However, I can understand that it is hard to feel sexy when you are wearing shape wear and it is nude. For that reason, I have purchased many of these items in duplicate in black. I also own several of the tops in white. Almost all of the bottom-half shapers that I own are nude, though.