A guide to the best shapewear that won’t cost the earth

From tummy control shapewear to maternity shapewear, these are the best pieces to help you feel confident in any outfit.

The best shapewear UK

by Eden-Olivia Lord |

Whether you're looking for the best tummy control shapewear for under tops and dresses, or to wear on its own à la Kim Kardashian West (you do you, hun) - we've got you covered.

Now let's be honest, shapewear has very much been a thing since well, forever. I mean, who can forget the scene where Daniel Cleaver (AKA Hugh Grant) discovers Bridget Jones' control pants?

But, while Bridget might have been wearing her trusty M&S briefs as early as 2001, some of the giants of the shapewear world didn't grace our UK browsers until 2012 (hey, Spanx) and queen of shapewear Kim K only released SKIMS back in 2018.

Shapewear is ideal for when we want to wear something a little form-fitting, whether it's on our stomach area (bye, bye muffin top), thighs (yes to anti-chafing 🙌), hips - you name it, we've all done it.

Now, thanks to Kim Kardashian West, wearing shapewear as your actual outfit is also very much a thing, so if you want to flaunt those shapewear shorts at the gym - we won't judge you.

So, whether you're looking for a shapewear dress to wear as your actual outfit, or require some control shorts to wear under that dress for your pal's wedding, or even for a New Year's celebration, we've covered all bases with our list of the best shapewear on the market.

SHOP: The best shapewear UK

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Best tummy control shapewear 2022

SHAPERX Body Shaper Slimming Open Bust Bodysuit
1 of 10

The best shaping open-bust bodysuit This black bodysuit helps push up your boobs, it has adjustable shoulder straps and it includes hooks AND a zip to help with tummy control.

Pros: It's a thong bodysuit, so you can say goodbye to VPL, and you can still wear your own bra.

Cons: Not too comfortable after long periods.

Customer product review: "This has great compression and is quite comfortable only I find after an hour or two it rides up into the crotch area and it can be quite uncomfortable."

Amazon
Firm Control Sheer Striped Wear Your Own Bra Body
2 of 10

The best tummy control shaping bodysuit If a supportive bra is a must for you, then this is the shapewear you've been looking for. You can keep your go-to bra and tuck in your tummy and hips all in one - you won't believe it, you can do it all for less than £30.

Pros: Adjustable straps, a v-shaped back for lower backed dresses and goes up to a size 24. Plus, it's M&S, so you know it's fairly trustworthy.

Cons: The 'nude' shade isn't suitable for all skin tones.

Customer product review: "I bought this for a wedding while still managing my lockdown weight gain. It was comfy enough to wear all day and really helped to smooth out the bumps - it was a bit tight around the thighs, but overall very happy and it was low enough at the back/thin enough straps to work under a low backed slim strapped dress."

The Outer Body
3 of 10

The best shaping bodysuit It's not cheap but this shaping bodysuit has been designed to target the waist, stomach and bust - what more could you want, huns?

Pros: It's an all-in-one bodysuit so you don't have to worry about too-tight bra strap marks.

Cons: Perhaps not as suited to larger busts, though the description does say you can wear your own bra under it.

Customer product review: "The fit was perfect; snug but not tight in the abdomen and hip area. (I used the Heist fit guide). Very comfortable. Can wear it all day long. Love It."

Franato Women Control Slip Body Shaper
4 of 10

The best shaping slip dress OK, we're obsessed with this shapewear dress that's actually Amazon's number one bestseller for full slip shapewear dresses.

Pros: The spaghetti straps can be adjusted higher, lower or you can take them off so it's strapless. Most importantly though it'll firm the tummy, hips, thighs AND bum.

Cons: Hand-wash only.

Customer product review: "I ordered an XL. I am a UK 14-16. It was comfortable & didn't make me feel like I couldn't breathe! It went on without a mega struggle & no fat bits (that I was trying to hide) popped out in other areas!! I would recommend!!"

Amazon
Spanx Power Shorts
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The best slimming shorts Spanx is quite literally the OG shapewear brand and it's no wonder they're amazing. We spotted these high waisted shorts in Youtuber's Patricia Bright's video and the results were incredible.

Pros: This has got to be one of the best short variety shapewear pieces for under a dress - with the high waist you can practically say bye-bye to your muffin top for good. And, it's seamless, so even the thinnest of dress fabrics won't detect these bad boys.

Cons: Some reviewers commented that the top of the waistband rolls down.

Customer product review: "Fantastic product. You look slender and contained especially with fitted dresses. Wore under my dress for my daughter's wedding and it looked fab. Didn't feel uncomfortable either. I am sold on the product. Much much better than any girdle."

Skims Solution Short #2
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The best tummy control shapewear for high slit dresses Kim Kardashian shook the world when she dropped her shapewear brand that helps shape, sculpt and smooth your figure, and they're available in different shades meaning they're inclusive for everyone. These shorts are the dream if you're wearing a thigh-high dress or skirt, so we 10/10 would recommend them.

Pros: They have a silicone waistband to prevent rolling.

Cons: May be slightly visible with super tight dresses.

Customer product review: "Really nice product, but the finish cuts in slightly and is quite visible with a tight dress. The material feels nice, size fits well and can be used perfectly with looser dresses."

2-pack Shaping Thongs
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The best shaping and tummy control thong So you've got your shapewear but suddenly you're now faced with the dreaded VPL - we've all been there. Lucky for you, H&M have found the perfect solution with these ingenious shaping thongs.

Pros: No VPL and great value for money.

Cons: Some reviews claimed they were slightly baggy at the top - so perhaps size down.

Customer product review: "Great thongs, with the perfect amount of stomach support. I've had 3 children and lost my baby weight but still have lots of loose skin. These are just what I needed to have a smooth appearance and give more confidence in tighter fitting clothes."

Spanx Suit Your Fancy low back mid-thigh smoothing bodysuit
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Best low-back shaping bodysuit

We know, we know this one is pretty pricey but it aims to smooth your stomach and thighs, and the cups are slightly padded (a win-win).

Pros: It has a plunging neckline - perfect to wear under a cleavage-friendly dress - as well as a low cut back.

Cons: Not as supportive for larger busts.

Customer product review: "Really nice product if you have a small chest, like an A or B cup. Had to return, as it didn't offer enough support for me."

Spanx Suit Your Fancy Butt Enhancer Shaping Shorts
9 of 10

Best butt-enhancing shorts Want a rounder bum? Then these shorts are your answer. Cycling shorts are very much in, so why not wear this with a cropped top and trainers to complete your outfit.

Pros: The padding is removable, so you can have the firming without the enhance if you wish.

Cons:For the price, the 'lift' is quite subtle.

Customer product review: "Really pleased with this lingerie. Can't say it lifts my bum, but definitely enhances it and dresses hang better."

Dorina Air Sculpt high waist shaping shorts
10 of 10

The best sheer shaping shorts We'd buy these shorts just because of the design, tbh. But nevertheless, we're loving that they're seamless (no lines showing through your clothes), they're high waisted and the length is short meaning you can wear them under a mini dress or shorts.

Pros: Comfortable enough for everyday!

Cons: Hand-wash only.

Customer product review: "They aren't so heavy-duty that you are suffocating but help give shape and support where you need it. I would be careful if you have longer/pointy nails though because the material is like a mesh so you could potentially rip them when putting them on."

Amazon

What shapewear do the Kardashians wear?

They're the family that can make anything stylish so is it any surprise that the Kardashian/Jenner family wear Kim Kardashian's Skims shapewear?

They're often seen wearing them or posting videos or photos of themselves wearing their sister's brand.

Cute.

Plus, have you seen the waist trainers they use? Kylie Jenner has been known to flaunt her post-baby body and, the secret to her cinched waist? A waist trainer, apparently.

According to their Instagrams, Kim and Kylie use the Waist Gang Society trainer which, technically, is a US brand but hurrah for us, they do international shipping 🙌.

READ MORE

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How to keep shapewear from rolling down?

First off, look for shapewear with a silicone waistband to help the fabric cling to your body. Failing that, some veterans of the shapewear world (thank you, ladies) have suggested pulling the waistband up under your bra and using the bra's underwire to keep it in place, if the length of the piece allows, of course. Genius.

What to wear your shapewear with

If you want to channel your inner Kim Kardashian West, then why not wear your shapewear shorts as, well, your shorts? Pair them with a matching crop top and trainers (or heels if you really want to dress up) and you're good to go.

You can also buy shapewear dresses with built-in bras that you can wear with heels for your next night out or date night in.

OR you can wear your shapewear shorts underneath your jumpsuit or dress (mini, midi or maxi depending on your mood). It'll give a bit of light control to help smooth your figure in a discreet way - a win, win.

And if you want to wear any of the shorts above but want to dress them up a bit why not wear them with an oversized shirt (tuck the front in and leave the back out) and some heels.

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