What Exactly Is “Shapewear” and How Does It Work?


In a nutshell, shapewear is defined as “women’s tight-fitting underwear intended to control and shape the figure”. However, shapewear goes way beyond just underwear. In recent decades, it has developed tenfold and is now a huge buzzword on the fashion scene due to the likes of Kim Kardashian (with the popular shapewear collection from SKIMS).

Let’s delve a little deeper into the background of shapewear fashion items and why they are now so prevalent in the fashion industry, and for some of us, our everyday lives.

History of Shapewear

If you think of the purpose of shapewear in its simplest of forms, it is to enhance the look of a silhouette. Therefore, it can be said that women, in particular, have been using endless different forms of shaping throughout history. This dates back thousands of years – for example, the corset. The corset is one of the ultimate shaping pieces of clothing, and has been used for hundreds of years. However, shapewear these days has developed to be more comfortable and adaptable than ever, which is another reason why we are hearing so much about it recently.

How Does Shapewear Work?

Depending on the current beauty standards and fashion trends, shapewear works by highlighting certain areas of the body. Really, this could be any area of your body from the neck down. Typically though, shapewear items focus on cinching in the waist, whilst accentuating breasts and bottom. They can also be used to smooth out the appearance of “lumps and bumps” across your body.

Why is Shapewear so Popular?

There are a number of reasons for the popularity of shapewear but one of the main ones is that it can make you feel more comfortable and desirable in your skin. They create “solutions” for every different body type, so they are accessible to people of all different body shapes and sizes. The underwear alone is said to stretch to twice its size, so this is also ideal for women with a fluctuating weight, or those going through pregnancy. The different pieces can stay with you through different stages of your life, meaning they are designed to last. 

Who Wears Shapewear?

The beauty of shapewear is that there is something for everyone. With all of the different styles, colors, sizes, and brand options, you shouldn’t struggle to find something right for you. Many celebrities have talked about their love of shapewear, including big names like Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry. Maybe it is the secret to A-listers looking so confident and secure on the red carpet!

Shapewear is a hot trend that is showing no signs of slowing down. It’s come a long way since its first conception, centuries ago, and it now stands strong with women’s needs and comforts in mind.


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