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Over the past ten years there have been annual survey’s asking women what they think of their bodies and the results that have come back have made for stark reading. “Only One In Ten Happy With Their Shape”……. “99% Of Women Under 25 Not Happy With Their Bodies”…..  “More than 60% of Women Would Turn to Surgery if They Could Afford It”…. And so it goes on. It would seem that the ‘Body Beautiful’ is something that defies most of us. In an ideal world we would all like to hit the treadmill after work, go swimming or head off to yoga. The reality though is that for most of us, there just isn’t time.

The beauty industry and the shapewear industry have been quick to respond and the market is now flooded with great products that help to shape and tone, lift and smooth and even burn fat through wear. It’s all about finding the perfect product for your problem areas, and here is our definitive shapewear guide by target area…

Tummy Flattening

This is the most common problem area and one that has all shapewear products address. If this is your only problem area though, all you really need is briefs or shorts. Our favourite one stop shop product to address the tummy area is Spanx Slim Cognito Seamless Control Panty. At £47 it’s an investment buy but worth every penny. It’s Spanx’s strongest product and one that really pulls you in. It has hidden pockets to lift your derriere in all the right places and a non-binding waistband so you can wear it under the sheerest of fabrics without the dreaded VPL.   If it’s a bit of everyday support your after, and you can’t get that from your husband, then Naomi and Nicole has two great products, Naomi and Nicole amazing Light Brief and Naomi and Nicole Amazing Light Girl Short. Both offer light but firm support and have an adjustable waistband that allows you to roll up or fold down at the top, depending on what you’re wearing. Perfect for high waisted trousers or waist slung skirts.

 

Waist Cinching

If you want to create the illusion of a great waist choose high waisted styles or traditional corsets We recommend the Miraclesuit Waist Cincher is a traditional style corset that you wear over your underwear. It works like a dream, pulling you in and giving you that classic 1950’s shape. With built in flexible bones, it hugs your figure from the bra line right down over your hips.  As well as giving you great shape its design encourages you to stand straighter and taller – ironically a subject that most of last weekend’s newspapers were talking about.  Spanx Higher Power Briefs or Spanx Higher Power Shorts are more of a 21st Century version and have breathable cotton pants or shorts built in to the In Power Line waist cincher for the effect of a corset without the hassle!. You literally pull it on and roll it up for an instant smooth finish from your hips to your breast bone.

 

Thigh slimming

Thigh slimming is another big driver towards buying shapewear and you can easily combine this with tummy control by using a longer line product such as ShaToBu High Waist Mid Thigh Shaper which controls your middle area from below your bra line right down to your knees. The resistance bands that are woven into ShaToBu products help you to burn calories through daily wear. Thigh shaping shorts focus on smoothing the tops of your legs and have become a stalwart in most women’s wardrobes. Spanx In Power Line Power Panties are a personal favourite and their ultra strong, ultra slim long line covers you from mid-thigh to waistline. Spanx Slim Cognito Mid-Thigh Shaper is another super strong product that again covers your thigh to waistline. Both have targeted compression zones and here’s the science bit -  they condition your body, holding in certain bits and lifting others to give the lovely womanly curves that we all (secretly) want. This is the trongest product that Spanx does and it works! It is apremium brand though and if you need to count your pennies in addition to everything else (well it’s what women do) then ShatoBu Get Fit Mid Thigh Shaper is another great, if slightly less firm shaper that burns calories during wear. To firm your things & tame your tummy, whilst burning calories, this shaper is a must!

Back Smoothing

To eliminate back fat and visible bra lines we recommend you go for a camisole, bodysuit or slip. Spanx Slimplicity Lingerie Strap Camisole is a single layer and ideal for anyone with a smaller bra size who can use the support in the camisole instead of a bra. It’s sister product, the Spanx Slimplicity Open Bust Camisole is a better bet for those well endowed ladies out there or just great if you have a low cut top and want to expose a cheeky bit of bra strap or lace. Both act like a waist cincher, smoothing out the front, while the high back prevent any lumps or bumps from the rear. The invisible seams don’t detract from your top layer of clothes and give smooth lines whilst holding in your waist, your tummy and your back. How could we do without something like this in our wardrobe?  A word to the wise though, step into your camisole rather than pulling it over your head. That way you smooth up rather than down – a bit like putti

ng on your face cream.

Bottom smoothing and Rear Lifting

It might sound like a line from a song, but the Spanx Simplicity Booty Booster does just that. It’s a super strong control short, that will lift your bottom whilst controlling your tummy & hips, with removable bum pads that will allow you to boost or not boost depending on what you’re wearing. This is a classic and often cited by stars as the one item of shapewear that gives them womanly curves in all the right places. It’s not a cheap buy but the kind of product that once tried you won’t be able to live without. Good old Trinny and Susannah (remember them from their bottom squeezing days) have come up with their own version and it’s really good. The Trinny and Susannah Bum Tum and Thigh Reducer will lift and firm your rear as well aas pulling in your tummy and giving you a great waist. As the pioneers of the original ‘magic knickers’ these girls know their stuff. Newcomers Naomi and Nicole are another power duo (if you’ll excuse the pun). The Naomi & Nicole Rear Lifting Boy Short is a very affordable yet highly effective product with a slightly lighter control. Made from a fine but powerful mesh, the strategic bands on this product help to lift in just the right place, under the most fleshy part of your bottom. 

All Over Body Shapewear

The classic bodysuit or slip is the best way to give yourself a smooth all over shape.   A bodysuit works well with trousers whilst a slip is generally a better option for wearing under dresses. Take time to get your sizing absolutely right to ensure the smoothest possible fit. Spanx Slim Cognito Shape Suit is a classic fit with delicate straps to suit all kinds of slim fit, sheer or strappy tops. This is a super strong product, with graduated compression is guaranteed to hide the most prominent lumps and bumps, whilst contouring your figure into the perfect hourglass, and often used by new mothers to held move everything back into place. It’s an investment buy but with the right care and washing should last a lifetime. There is also an open bust option, the Spanx Slimplicity Open Bust Mid Thigh Bodysuit which allows you to wear your own bra, combining a pretty neckline with all over support. The Spanx Slimmer and Shine Strapless Slip is designed to give you ultra strong control which will sculpt your figure to perfection in a very fluid bodysuit with apretty satin detailing. This is Spanx’s most attractive shapewear and although it is an investment buy, will adapt to work with most of your wardrobe. 

Arms

Arms are a big sore point for women, particularly over a certain age. Diane Keaton is famous for her dislike of showing her arms now that she’s over 60. She’s clearly never tried some of the great shapewear options that are out there to deal with this problem area. Spanx On Top and In Control Elbow Length Top is a classic shape, pulling in your waist, smoothing out your tummy and controlling those bingo wings to a tee. It’s a t-shirt that you wear as a single layer or under a lightweight shirt or fine sweater. Consequently it won’t work so well under that strappy dress. This is where the Queen of the High Street, Mary Portas has come up with her own unique solution. Mary Portas Armery is a range of pretty fishnet, lace and patterned arm shapewear that you can slip on under the most floaty and flimsy of dress or top. The idea is that you slip into the bolero style all in one arm piece and then slide your dress over the top. As well as smoothing your arms, the lovely lacey patterns will add a dramatic or interesting touch to the plainest of dresses, taking daywear into nightwear in one swoop. A real recession busting addition to your wardrobe.

Legs

Now I like my legs and although they don’t need much help, I’m smitten with Spanx Look at Me Leggings. A shapewear take on the classic black footless tights, they fine guage, strong support leggings firm and sculpt you from waist to ankle. They feel so nice at the end of the day I don’t want to take them off. But I do, to swap them over with my ShaToBu Get Fit Shaping Tights and ShaToBu Get Fit Shaping Footless Tightswhich burn calories during wear. I ride my bike around London and it’s great to know that my legs are working doubly hard when I cycle in these tights – a real cheats way to exercise. If I haven’t transformed your view of shapewear by now, let me offer up just one more very important bit of advice. Don’t treat all shapewear the same. Just like the M&S and Zara battle, what works for one person might not work for another. The big lesson here is try before you buy. The brand is important, the cut and fit is important and the size is very important. Too tight and you’ll look like you’re wearing someone else’s skin. Too loose and the product doesn’t do it’s work. Try, try, try and only then buy. Get it right and shapewear will become a staple in your wardrobe. Believe me, you’ll get more love and support from these great products than the man (or woman) in your life!

Until Next Week…

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