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How to Dress Your Body Type: Shapewear [Infographic]

Monroe and Main is sharing an infographic series on How to Dress Your Body Type.

Step #1: Take Your Measurements
Step #2: Identify Your Shape
Step #3: Shapewear (check it out below!)
Step #4: Dress for your Shape with Colors & Prints

Here is Step #3: Shapewear

Taking your measurements and identifying your shape are essential for figuring out how to dress well and find clothes that fit and flatter your body. But there’s another step that comes just before putting on those ultra-flattering clothes, and it can make a huge difference: Shapewear. Shapewear has come a long way since the days of corsets that cut off circulation and make it difficult to breathe. Today these foundation garments are not only helpful, they’re comfortable and stylish. It can be confusing trying to figure out what option will give you the look you want, so we’ve made a guide to help plus-size ladies figure out what’s the best shapewear for them. Shapewear are undergarments that smooth those lumps and bumps on your skin (we all have them – especially as we age!), help you conceal a tummy or achieve hourglass proportions.

And it’s not just plus-size ladies that can benefit from shapewear. Even svelte celebrities like Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Garner wear them! If you’re interested in giving shapewear a try, our new infographic below has everything you need to know to get your shapewear shopping started:

Click on the image to enlarge. 
Infographic-Finding Shapewear for your Shape

Tips for finding the perfect shapewear

First, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind while shopping for shapewear. For one, you should make sure you buy the right size shapewear for your body. A size that’s too small may be too constrictive, leaving you very uncomfortable. Since you’ve already taken your measurements, this should be no problem – just refer to Monroe and Main’s sizing chart to choose the right size. Check that you can move easily in your shapewear before wearing it for several hours at a time.

It’s also a good idea to understand the different levels of control. Medium-control shapewear will smooth out any lumps, while strong control will be much tighter, helping you define your shape even more.

Finally, you should always think about your outfit before choosing shapewear. Make sure the style you choose, whether it’s a full body suit or a pair of high-waisted briefs, won’t show underneath your clothing and will provide just the right amount of support.

For the lower body

When shopping for lower-body shapewear, your goal is likely to smooth and minimize your bottom and thighs. Shapewear styles like briefs or shorts are great places to start, and high-waisted versions have the added benefit of flattening out the tummy (and avoiding a muffin top!). Some lower body shapewear is padded or has a lifting feature that gives smaller or flatter bottoms a little more shape.

For the tummy

If you’re trying to downplay your tummy, shapewear can be amazingly helpful. Corsets are structured, which allows them to suck in the tummy, cinch the waist and support the breasts. For strapless or sleeveless dresses, opt for a corset style without straps or a pair of waist-cincher panties. If your outfit allows, wear a corset with straps and a bra of your choice. A full body suit will also help you conceal your tummy.

Creating an hourglass shape

Shapewear can also help you create an hourglass shape by allowing you to cinch your waist. Styles that have this effect include body briefers, waist cinchers or corsets. Remember – your shapewear shouldn’t be restrictive! Make sure you can breathe and move around easily, even in corsets and other strong-control shapewear styles.

If you’re looking to minimize your thighs and butt…


Try slimming control briefs or shorts to cover your bottom half. If you have extra weight around your middle, be sure to look for a high-waisted pair. It will smooth and shape your thighs and bottom as well as add definition to your waist. It will also be more comfortable than a low-rise pair. Some versions come with extra lifting power to your bottom. These garments should fit snugly and smooth out any dimpled skin. They’re great for wearing under a pencil skirt or tight trousers.

For full-body control…


If you’re planning on wearing a dress and want to cover everything for a slimmer waist, bottom and thighs and a better bust, look for a shaper slip. Just like a regular slip, these garments are silky dress that can be worn underneath a top layer, but they are fitted instead of loose. When you are wearing one you should feel supported, but not restricted. Be sure that you can comfortably move about while wearing a full-body shaper. If you want to wear your own bra, there are plenty of full-body control slips and body suits that have cutouts. This allows them to work with your bra to lift your bust while adding shape to the rest of your body. Some options look like a one-piece swimming suit with a brief-like bottom and others are longer, also shaping the butt and thighs with a shorts-like bottom.

Various styles of body briefers adn shapewear

More Shapewear Tips

Note the styles

It’s no secret that fashion changes each season. For springtime, there are plenty of seasonal styles to look forward to like pencil skirts, floral dresses and crisp, white shirts – just to name a few. You may be excited to start shopping for your new spring wardrobe, but it’s important to take your undergarments into consideration when buying new clothes.

Some women believe that seamless shapewear is only meant for tight dresses or dressy occasions. However, the fact of the matter is that lots of women wear shapewear on an everyday basis, with casual clothes. Shapewear is meant to slim and highlight your figure so that you look your best every time you get dressed. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the grocery store or a gala – shapewear can be your best friend.

So when it comes to shopping for spring clothes, you’re going to want to take your intimate apparel into consideration. Do you adore that pink and red floral dress but feel like you need a little more support? Shapewear can do the trick! Be sure to take try these garments on with your new spring styles so that you can always look your best.

Color-coordinate your shapewear

The last thing you want is to have your amazing outfit planned and then realize that you don’t have the right color shapewear to pair with it. A delicate, white shirt looks great but not with a black corset. The colors will show through in the light!

When it comes to buying either new shapewear or new articles of clothing, you want to take color into consideration. Ask yourself, “Do I have undergarments that won’t show through this?” Luckily, shapewear comes in various shades such as black, natural, white, brown, blue and gray. Start your collection now so that you always have the perfect option to complement a new spring getup.

Don’t be afraid

Some women hold back from wearing a fashionable item because they don’t think they can pull it off. But with shapewear, all things are possible! Have you ever wanted to rock a pencil skirt but lacked the confidence? Have no fear, these undergarments can help you with any of your trouble spots. Need some full-body slimming? A control slip could do the trick. Or, do you want to add some more curves to your look? A fannie lift brief could be perfect for you.

There are lots of different kinds of shapewear, so you’re sure to find something that will make you feel like you can take on the world.

Dress for the temperature

As spring comes, the air might be getting a little warmer. If you’ve only worn shapewear during the winter, you might want to revamp your collection for springtime. For example, a full corset may get a little too warm for the weather, and your long-sleeve shapewear won’t be necessary when the sun is out and bright.

When it comes to undergarments during those nicer months of the year, you want to make sure you don’t overheat. Buy separate pieces so that you’re not stuck wearing a full body suit. Opt for lace because it’s light and breathable under any clothing that you sport. If you’re prone to overheating, it’s best to buy shapewear that’s made of cotton or lace no matter what season it is.

Update Your Collection

Because intimates are typically very stretchy, sometimes women have a hard time determining when to update their shapewear drawers. In addition, undergarments do not take well to the washing and drying machine. Most are meant to be dry cleaned or hand washed. Inevitably, some end up laundered and, as a result, the materials to break down. The rubber, silicone and spandex become less taut and the article of clothing will not fit right. If you’ve had a piece of shapewear for more than a couple of years, it’s time to shop for some new pieces.

Reminder-here are the 4-steps in our How to Dress Your Body Type Infographic series:

Step #1: Take Your Measurements
Step #2: Identify Your Shape
Step #3: Shapewear (above)
Step #4: Dress for your Shape with Colors & Prints

Tell us how this works out for you! Comment below.

Comments (4)

Denise

Having a line where we put our shape numbers in can be helpful, then once selected rectangle then we can concentrate on the sizes

Laura Bianchi

This is an intimate question. I’ve always had dificult in the ladies room if you know what I mean? The brand’s I’ve tried look great but I practically have to get undresses. Any suggestions, I of course use the facilities before leaving home and don’t induldge much while out! Bummer

Monroe and Main

Hi Laura,
We don’t currently carry any of these, but we’ve seen some shapewear in the market offer snaps to make getting in and out of them easier – It definitely can become a hassle! Hope you’re able to find something that fits your needs.

ouida stokes

I was told prior that you buy shapewear a size smaller to look smaller. Now I have learned that I buy it in my size. No wonder I have found shapewear to be so uncomfortable, I have been squeezed in. Thanks for the info. Now I might can enjoy wearing shapewear.

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