It’s an age-old question: are shapewear items good for you, and if so, should you buy them?

The skinny on shapewear

For the woefully (or blissfully) uninitiated, shapewear is a type of undergarment designed to pull your body in, smoothen your lines, and generally create a more fashionable silhouette. And as Simi Mira previously wrote here on All My Friends are Models, well-structured shapewear is great for creating an instantly slim look. These can be especially useful for outfits that involve lightweight or free-flowing fabrics, such as evening gowns and dressy tops. It is for this reason that they’ve become very popular among celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Kylie Jenner. And while they aren’t really a requirement for being fashionable, they are great for when you’re feeling bloated or need a confidence boost when wearing your favorite outfit.

Whatever your body shape concerns are there is more than likely shapewear that has been designed to address it.  The variety of shapewear on Woman Within is a testament to this — from control briefs that hold your belly in to bodysuits that work to lift your breasts and cinch your waist. There are even butt shapers that provide a 2-minute alternative to a regular squat routine, and smoothing camis that address weird lines that come from back fat. These also work to prevent your clothes from scrunching up.

Shapewear’s real-life Photoshop-like effects can have a profound impact on what you see in the mirror. This is Insider lists a number of ways to improve self-confidence, and notes how liking the way you look in clothes that make you feel good, can help boost your confidence. And if smooth lines and a slim figure make you feel more self-confident, then shapewear is certainly a great investment.

That said, it’s important to note that not all shapewear is created equal. There are certain things you need to know in order to get the ideal type for your specific needs.

Get the right size

The first rule of shapewear is to always get the correct size. Although it might seem like you are getting more compression and shaping effects for your money by going down a size, this can actually be counterproductive. Getting shapewear that is too tight exposes you to a number of issues outlined by an article on These include shortness of breath, dizziness, and unwelcome skin conditions. Therefore, buying and wearing the right size cami, bodysuit, or control briefs can mean the difference between feeling confident or uncomfortable. If you’re ever unsure, then don’t be shy and ask the sales assistant to help you pick out one in your size.

Choose your control level carefully

Shapewear items come in different control levels – from light ones designed to simply smoothen your silhouette, to stronger and more constrictive ones to transform your figure. Choose shapewear that correspond with your specific needs. If the tags don’t indicate the performance level, then take a look at its fabric components. The more nylon it has, the stronger it will be in terms of shaping your body. If you’re just starting out, then it might be good to begin with light or basic support before moving onto stronger control pieces.

Look for cotton blends

Most shapewear comes in nylon and spandex, and every woman knows that these two fabrics can get a little hot — especially if you intend to wear them underneath thicker garments for hours on end. Therefore, Bustle recommends looking out for ones that come with a cotton blend to help with breathability and absorb moisture, which can be lifesaving features in the summer.

Wear them moderately

Although it might be tempting to wear your shapewear all the time because of how great you look in it, it’s best to have days without it once in a while. Like with everything in life, moderation is key to making your shapewear work. Taking a break allows your body to adjust and recover, while also letting the fabric air.