Mar 11, 2024

19 Best Shapewear Bodysuits, Briefs, and Underwear 2023

Let’s get this out of the way first: There’s nothing wrong with not wearing shapewear, which admittedly has a reputation for being uncomfortable and even torturous — the term “sausage casing” came up more than once in interviews for this story. (Remember Renée Zellweger’s knickers scene in Bridget Jones’s Diary?) But it’s no longer just a secret fixture on red carpets or saved for special occasions — the divisive category has both expanded to offer a range of more comfortable products meant for everyday wear, and evolved with the times to be more inclusive.

Whether you want a bit of a boost, a hint of a lift, or just a little tuck, you’re much more likely to find shapewear in a variety of styles with different functions — from straightforward all-over smoothing to more complicated cuts made for dresses that have thigh-high slits. It also comes in a wide range of colors to match different skin tones, and sizes to fit different bodies and body types. This is in part thanks to more competition in the market — Kardashian-founded Skims, for example, has quickly become a formidable Spanx rival (though there’s a reason why the decades-old label is a fan favorite).

So I rounded up a panel of experts — including boutique owners, plus-size bloggers, and Hollywood costume designers — and asked them about their go-to styles. You can use the table of contents to skip ahead to the type of shapewear you’re shopping for, or simply scroll down to learn about them all.

Shapewear comes in many forms. One isn’t better than another; it just depends on what your desired results are. Because full bodysuits and dresses cover the most surface area, those will focus on smoothing your whole body, not just one specific part, and will most likely be the most constricting. Typically, these pieces are saved for more formal events because, as stylist Jessica Cadmus puts it, they’ll “feel constraining, and you’ll likely not want to endure this for more than an evening.” Individual pieces that target just one area — like your thighs, stomach, or butt — tend to be much more comfortable, and they come in a plethora of options, making it easier to try a few to determine your preferred style. Below, you’ll see shapewear in the form of bodysuits, tanks, shorts, briefs, thongs, and more.

We have to be honest: Not all shapewear will be enjoyable to wear, especially if it is a full bodysuit that compresses your entire torso. So if comfort is your No. 1 priority, perhaps think twice before buying a piece of shapewear. However, as mentioned above, shapewear has greatly improved in recent years, and many of the pieces featured on this list are described by the experts consulted as comfortable. You’ll want your foundation to be fitted enough to provide some support, “but it should never be so tight that you feel uncomfortable or like you’re suffocating underneath your clothes,” explains Shammara Lawrence, a freelance fashion writer and founder of the Power of Plus. “The best shapewear is snug and formfitting yet soft and so comfortable you can wear it for hours on end without feeling constricted.” Each of the pieces below is ranked by comfort on a scale of 1 to 3 — with 1 being very uncomfortable (but effective), 2 being bearable, and 3 being as comfortable as shapewear can get — based on testing and what the experts say.

Proper sizing can make all the difference for shapewear; however, lots of brands offer a very limited size range. Our objective was to focus on the brands that offer more of a variety, including different cup sizes for pieces that have a built-in bra. Below, we’ve listed the range of sizes that each piece comes in.

Type: Bodysuit with brief | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: XXS–5X, no cup sizing

It was difficult to decide what shapewear would take the “best overall” title. There were well-established (and highly recommended) brands that scored points on the comfort scale but fell short on having an inclusive enough size range. I didn’t want to pin something like a slip or thong with the best-in-class blue ribbon when those are garments meant for specific wardrobe scenarios. In the end, a bodysuit seemed best — and Skims shines in that department. (Or as our sister site the Cut says, it makes “maddeningly good shapewear.”) Several stylists consulted for this story mentioned the line is solid and budget-friendly.

Former Strategist writer Chloe Anello and I have the Seamless Sculpt Brief Bodysuit (I requested mine from the company), which is one of the brand’s bestsellers. Reminiscent of a one-piece swimsuit, the bodysuit comes in a wide size range — from XXS to 5X — and a number of different skin-tone shades. “It looks as though you’re wearing a skin-colored leotard, not some torturous contraption … I didn’t feel silly in it,” Anello explains. I felt the same when I tried the briefer on for the first time (not at all like the girdles my grandma had). It contours curves and sculpts your shape while still being comfortable. A friend of Anello’s also calls it “reliable” under tighter clothing. Note that Skims recommends sizing up for the most comfort, especially if you’d like to wear it every day — even if you don’t, I’d still suggest taking at least a size more than usual as the bodysuit runs small. But for $68, you’re getting a good piece of shapewear that also happens to enhance your butt instead of flattening it.

Type: Bodysuit with thong | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: XS–3X, A–F cups

The Powersuit from +Body by Julia Haart — an eponymous shapewear line created by the former creative director of La Perla — is more than double the price of the one in our “best overall” slot. It’s definitely a splurge — though, unlike much of the shapewear on this list, the bodysuit is meant to be shown off. It gets a special commendation here for that reason.

The brand recently went through with a relaunch — and the Powersuit now features “Powerbond 2.0,” which translates to a more bespoke-fitting bodysuit. Anello has the older version while I was sent the newer design. Since you can choose your cup size (from A to F), there’s no “unflattering top that compresses your breasts into one blob,” Anello says. You do have to do some hoisting — and once they’re in place, they’re in place. The cups are cut low for something that’s accentuating. It’s supportive all over as well. Stretchy without squeezing. The Powersuit was especially flush against my back, giving me a smoothed-out silhouette. The laser-cut edges ensure the bodysuit doesn’t show underneath whatever you’re wearing. Because of the print, the bodysuit is also tasteful enough to be worn on its own. “It actually made me feel good about myself. The majority of the other shapewear I tried felt and looked relatively unsexy — I would be embarrassed if anyone saw me in just the shapewear, which definitely impacts how you feel about yourself,” Anello explains. Note that all of the company’s collection goes up to a size 3X (though it seems like the top of the size range sells out fairly quickly).

Type: Bodysuit with brief | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: 34B–40DD

If you like the look of the +Body by Julia Haart bodysuit but don’t want to spend that much, consider this lace number from well-known bra brand Bali. It’s even more lingerie inspired than our splurgeworthy recommendation, featuring a paisleylike, peekaboo lace. The piece stands out especially when you’ve studied the shapewear market as thoroughly as we have. Lots of shapewear is too “grandma’s girdle” or needlessly technical for our taste. But this bodysuit is a favorite of celebrity stylist Ali Levine for fulfilling “the four f’s: fit, form, fabric, and fashion.” The lace gives you a bit more breathability, and the cups are lightly lined, giving you not-too-sheer coverage. The hook-and-eye closure also won’t show any lines under your clothes. She describes the bodysuit as “very sexy as well as slimming and trimming for the body.”

Type: Bodysuit with built-in minimizer bra and brief | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: 34C–40DDD

It’s unfortunate how much gut-rearranging and thigh-squeezing shapewear I had to suffer before finding this piece, which is (so far and by far) one of the best bodysuits I’ve tried out. I know some shaping is happening once it’s on, but I don’t feel it. Really, the bodysuit feels like it’s working with your figure, instead of against it — whereas other so-called “foundational garments” are more concerned with controlling them. The design features my favorite minimizer, the Wacoal Visual Effects. (That was part of the reason I asked the brand if I could try this bodysuit in the first place.) On past bodysuits I’ve owned, the tops of them are the equivalent of those shelf bras you’ll see on tank tops — they don’t do anything. On Wacoal’s, my breasts were held up without being overemphasized, either. Best of all, I felt good about myself when I shimmied out of the bodysuit. No red marks to be found on my stomach. And I didn’t feel like I was releasing myself from confinement, which is how I’ve felt with other shapewear.

Type: Bodysuit with brief | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: 32B–40C

Obviously, if you plan to wear something strapless with shapewear underneath, you will need to ditch the straps on your undergarments too. This bodysuit from TC Fine Intimates comes with straps for those who appreciate versatility, but ultimately, it’s meant to be strap free. Levine thinks it “gives you the perfect foundation” because it smooths your stomach, waist, and back and suits most necklines, so you can use it for more than one outfit. “I’ve used it for award shows like the Emmys and Oscars,” she says. You select your size based on your bra size instead of what would best fit your torso, with the bodysuit available in sizes 32B to 40C. Because it’s labeled as “extra firm,” it will be very tight regardless how big or small of a size you choose. And while Levine thinks it is bearable to wear for a formal event in which you’d like to pull out all the stops, reviewers mention it deeply compresses your body and is definitely not intended for everyday use.

Type: Bodysuit with shorts | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: XS–XL, no cup sizing

There’s a reason, as Levine says, that “We all think Spanx when we hear shapewear”: For a long time, the company made some of the only (comfortable) options. Of all its products, our experts think Spanx’s bodysuits are its most worthwhile pieces. Dina Scherer, owner of Modnitsa Styling, pointed us specifically to this one because you can wear it with backless dresses, low-cut tops, or evening wear. It allows you to show a lot of skin but still offers support thanks to its padded cups and thigh-length legs. You should keep in mind that you can’t select your cup size for this bodysuit, which might be a deal-breaker for some. I had to play around with the cups and straps to get the right fit over my chest when Spanx sent me this style for review, but once those were adjusted, I was properly lifted up top. I’d describe the piece as compressive, like an all-over sports bra, which is why I ranked it a 2 for comfort.

Type: Bodysuit with shorts | Comfort level: 2.5 | Sizes: XS–3X

Consider an open-bust bodysuit if you’d rather wear your own bra — this one offers the same torso and thigh sculpting as the full Spanx bodysuit above, without the one-size cups. After trying both styles, I liked this version slightly better for its lighter-feeling fabrication. It’s sculpting, with paneling all over, but still breathable. And though the bodysuit is made to be worn with a bra, it hides the outline of the undergarment well, coming up high on the sides of the bust. Stylist Grace Thomas is also a fan and counts it among her absolute favorites. “You really feel supported” in it, she says, adding that Spanx’s fabrication (a combination of nylon and elastane) is smooth against the body. Thomas acknowledges that because it’s a full-coverage style that’s cut to shape through the middle of the thigh, “You might get a little tired of wearing this piece after a full day” — but says “it won’t be something you’ll want to remove the instant you put it on.” That’s why she rated it a 2.5 for comfort, which I agree with.

Type: Bodysuit with brief | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: XS–3X

This is the brief version of Spanx’s OnCore Open-Bust Shaper featured above — and comes with a slightly cheaper price tag (which is why we thought it deserved a separate spot on this best-of list). Stylist Alison Deyette says some of her clients prefer this option because it has a shaping effect on the stomach, hips, and back without an ill-fitting bra or the full coverage of shorts. And if you’d prefer a more breathable material, Strategist contributor and costume designer Alison Freer suggests checking out this Rago open-bust bodysuit made from a lightweight sculpting mesh. Freer says it’s “so firm, you could bounce a quarter off of it, but it’s still shockingly comfortable — a testament to what proper garment construction can do for the female form.”

Type: Slip | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: XS–XL, no cup sizing

Commando’s underwear has often been praised for its true-to-the-brand-name, gone-commando fit. So it’s fitting that the company makes an appearance on this list as well, with Cadmus turning us to its slip called the “Two-Faced.” The piece’s name comes from its tech-y material, which includes microfiber on one side and cotton on the other, and is designed to offer moderate compression that doesn’t squeeze you in. Cadmus’s clients appreciate that this feature makes the bodysuit seamless (“basically undetectable to the eye,” she says) and helps it stay in place. She also says it’s “considered ‘breathable’ and ‘comfortable’ as far as shapewear goes,” adding that it’s “about as comfy as you’re going to get.”

Type: Shorts | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: S–8X

Though you could go with the old reliables, like Spanx and Yummie, or the newer, buzzy brands like Knix, our pick for the best shaping shorts is this pair from Rago. When shopping for shaping shorts, Freer says “the best are always high-waisted, as anything that cuts you off in the middle of your midriff won’t be able to do much real shaping.” (This was a general consensus among our panel.) With that in mind, she told us this long-legged pair of shorts from Rago has “totally flat seams that won’t ever show under clothes, a split crotch so you don’t have to wriggle out if it to use the bathroom, and special grippy, lace leg holes that don’t ride up or bind your thighs.” (Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for something hyperspecific, Skims has shorts intended for clothing with high slits, which stylist Samantha Brown describes as “ingenious.”)

Type: Shorts | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: S–3X

Sapna Palep, CEO of lingerie retailer Journelle, introduced us to the Spanx Power Short. Palep applauds the piece’s shaping power, along with its seamlessness (no visible panty lines to worry about since it’s made to be worn on its own without underwear) and non-digging waistband. (And speaking of waistbands, she also stands behind the higher-waisted Higher Power Short that’s just $2 more.) Palep says that whenever she wears the shorts, it doesn’t feel as if she’s adding another layer of clothing, because the designed-to-be-lightweight shorts are both bearable and breathable throughout the day. Palep adds that the shorts “smooth out your form without changing who you are.”

Type: Shorts | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: S–3XL

Also featured in our guide to preventing thigh chafing, this pair of shorts from start-up undergarment brand Knix counts former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson and Kara McGrath, deputy digital director at Allure, as devotees. The silky (and slinky) shorts were specifically made to prevent chafing on your inner thighs. “They’re really lightweight and breathable, so you don’t get sweaty,” Adelson says, adding that the shorts are so smooth that there’s no friction to be found. And McGrath likes that they feel as if you’re wearing nothing. She adds, “I’ve recommended them to basically anyone I’ve spoken to in the past three years, and everyone who’s bought them tells me they’re a game changer.” Strategist writer Dominique Pariso is also partial to Knix, but prefers its High Rise Shaper Shorts. These live up to their name with a super-high cut that starts right under her bra (which helps avoid “any noticeable stomach lines,” she says). She likes how hourglass-emphasizing the shorts are, too. Pariso mentions that they are “comfortable enough that I forgot that they were there, until I went to take them off.”

Type: Shorts | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: XS–1X

From Spanx’s diffusion collection called Assets, these shorts come in at under $30. Stylist Ansley Morgan introduced us to the line, which she came across while searching for shapewear for a summer wedding. The shorts aren’t particularly formfitting, according to Morgan, so if you’re after dramatic compression, you’re better off with one of the alternatives above. But the pair is great for straightforward smoothing. These have become an essential for her underneath outfits to stop her thighs from rubbing against each other, especially as the shorts are “lightweight” and “incredibly comfortable.” She points out that they hide underwear lines well too.

Type: Brief | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: XS–XL

The wrong brief means dealing with unwanted visible panty lines — undies branded as “shaping” sometimes even exaggerate the problem with multiple seams and panels. As noted above, Commando has been repeatedly recommended to us because its intimates don’t do that. These shaping briefs come recommended by stylist Erica Ball, who describes them as “relatively seamless, which is hard to find when not wearing a thong.” Really, they resemble the minimalist, navel-high panties popular right now (think of the offerings from Arq and Cuup). The briefs have not-so-noticeable panels throughout that “help draw everything in,” explains Ball, and they’re made from a stretchy, soft, and smooth microfiber fabric that earns them a 3 on our comfort scale. They are so comfortable, in fact, that she can wear them for an entire day and not be impatient to take them off at the end of it: “This is an easy shapewear item that gives me drastic results with little effort.” (You can also go with the thong version, which she has similar praise for.)

Type: Brief | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: 28–46

Brands like Spanx and Nancy Ganz came up as popular brief options, but Nancy Ganz features a limited size range, while Spanx apparently causes you to run warm regardless of how lightweight it is (and no one wants a sweaty butt). These briefs from Rago are made from a mesh with a subtle floral pattern that’s breezier than most options, and it goes up to a size 46. They’re recommended by Freer because the “firm-hold granny panty has special V-shaped leg openings that allow it to expand around the thigh,” giving you the freedom to walk, sit, and dance in total comfort. “The only seam on this panty is cleverly hidden between the cheeks, making it invisible under clothes.”

Type: Thong | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: S–XL

While a shaping thong may seem like an oxymoron, Scherer says this one is worth a try. “The misconception that shapewear can’t be sexy and feel great on you while doing its job is dispelled with this piece,” she says, promising that it is totally capable of smoothing you out even with its beautiful, minimal coverage design made from lightweight fabric. Since it’s a thong, she adds, it’ll work just as well with jeans and pants as it will with skirts and dresses. But for those interested in something a little more heavy-duty, we also heard about these different thong-style pieces from Spanx, one of which is conveniently much less expensive.

Type: Tank with scoop neck | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: XS–3X

While it makes shapewear bottoms, Yummie is perhaps best known for its tanks, which are what Levine usually has clients wear for red-carpet and press events. “I like how soft yet fitted they are,” she told us. This shaping tank — which contains two movable inner panels — is one Levine “especially loves for underneath sheath dresses and blouses.” Brown is also a fan, telling us it works just as well under clingy sweaters. With details like a reversible neckline and nonslip hem, Levine says the tank could even be worn on its own “with a nice pair of trousers.” And even though it may be counterintuitive to how you put on normal tops, when wearing any shaping tank, remember: Step into the garment and shimmy it up.

Type: Cami with scoop neck | Comfort level: 2 | Sizes: S–4XL

One of shapewear start-up Shapermint’s best sellers is this camisole, so I asked the brand to send me one to try. My first impression was that the thickness of the fabric — a combination of nylon and spandex — would make wearing it unbearable. Luckily, that turned out not to be the case. The top is as breathable as the brand promises. Plus, I can actually go braless in it — something I can almost never do. My chest was lifted, like I was wearing a great bralette. While I wouldn’t wear the cami underneath something overly formfitting, it’s great for when you want to be a little more secure in, say, a fit-and-flare dress. Though I’ve shunned shaping tops in the past because they often roll up, this one stayed put. Just note that the brand’s size chart isn’t traditional, so double-check your measurements before you buy; I’m almost exclusively a medium, but took an extra-large in this top.

Type: Tights | Comfort level: 3 | Sizes: XL–L

Perhaps, like fashion editor Dena Silver, you’ve “been known to wear control-top shorts with tights because sometimes stockings alone just don’t do the trick” under the slinkiest of skirts or dresses. If so, she promises these tights — which are opaque opaque — from J.Crew are nothing less than “a godsend.” Not only are they the “blackest black tights” Silver has ever tried, but they also come with a “waist-cinching band” that means you don’t need to put on another shaping layer. The tights go in and out of stock — so don’t dillydally when you see your size.

• Karen Iorio Adelson, former Strategist senior writer• Erica Ball, stylist• Samantha Brown, stylist• Jessica Cadmus, stylist• Alison Deyette, stylist• Alison Freer, Strategist contributor and stylist• Shammara Lawrence, a freelance fashion writer and founder of the Power of Plus• Ali Levine, celebrity stylist• Kara McGrath, deputy digital director at Allure• Ansley Morgan, stylist• Sapna Palep, CEO of lingerie retailer Journelle• Dominique Pariso, Strategist writer• Dina Scherer, owner of Modnitsa Styling• Dena Silver, fashion editor• Grace Thomas, stylist

Additional reporting by Chloe Anello, Lori Keong, Lauren Levy, and Dominique Pariso

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