10 best shapewear

Enhance your natural silhouette with some clever lingerie

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The Independent Online

We’re not afraid to say that sometimes we need a little help. Shapewear is every woman’s best friend and our secret weapon for disguising any lumps and bumps we’d rather a dress didn’t show off. You don’t have to wear something that’s going to completely change your figure. Instead, it is about enhancing your silhouette, with the added bonus of being able to smooth, lift and flatten in all the right places. We’ve tried and tested some of the best body-boosting products out there to find a prettier and more effective alternative to Bridget Jones’s very big pants. 

1. Ultimo Signature Black Body: £49, Ultimo

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You want to flatten your tummy and give your waist some shape but what you don’t want is to be left with a bra that doesn’t fit. Enter Ultimo’s signature black body. Part of their new “uber sexy” shapewear range which seeks to flatter the body and not suffocate your organs, this body provides fantastic hold  especially around the waist – but also gives you the freedom to wear your own bra. The low coverage front and multi-position straps mean this a great choice for any style of dress, from plunging necklines to racer backs. The entire collection is designed to make you feel more confident in your own skin while taking all the frump out of shapewear and making it a worthy part of your lingerie collection. Comes in sizes 8-16 with a thong back so there is no VPL. 

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2. Spanx Shape My Day Open-Bust Slip: £75, Selfridges

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A brand synonymous with shapewear, Spanx has been solving women’s wardrobe woes since 2000 (and men's since 2010) but it has come a long way since footless pantyhose. While they offer a whole host of slimming intimates, this open-bust slip is our favourite because it means you get to wear your choice of bra – wave goodbye to ill-fitting skivvies. This was a bit of a struggle to get on but well worth a little tussle for a super-smooth silhouette; the slip has a slightly tighter band around the midriff making it great for problem tummies and the length means it helps flatter the thighs too. A lot of shapewear can feel restrictive but this is made from super thin, soft fabric that feels almost like a second skin making for a breathable fit whatever the weather. Choose from black or nude. 

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3. Next Firm Control Thigh Smoother: £15, Next

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These might not be the most glamorous undies but they definitely do the job especially if you’re looking for a piece that promises to target multiple areas. While they’re described as a thigh smoother, which they undoubtedly are, they’re also high-waisted which means they provide great definition to your middle with a gripped band to prevent any slippage. They also have great built-in contour, which helps to target specific areas such as the tummy, tops of the thighs and the bottom. This pair does a good job at banishing the buldge but they’re not the most comfortable pair we tried. The fabric is pretty thick and not the softest but if you can get past that they’re well worth giving a go. Available in sizes 8-20 and in black or nude. 

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4. Asos Waist Cincher Lace Thong: £16, Asos

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This is definitely some of the prettiest shapewear we’ve seen with its high-waist design and lace panels that promise to streamline your shape while looking stylish. The thong makes this perfect for those looking to avoid a VPL but the high rise cut on the thigh means it’s not so great for anyone with larger hips. The firm stretch fabric provides light control on the tummy while the side panels cinch in your waist to create an hourglass figure. It’s available in black and nude and goes up to a size 18. 

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5. Marks & Spencer Firm Control Magicwear Geometric Low Leg Waist Cincher: £22.50, Marks & Spencer

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If you’re looking for a piece that will lift and tuck in all the right places without the worry of unsightly lines then this is the one for you. It’s also a waist cincher, but this one has a low leg and built in panels that flatten the tummy, smooth the hips and lift your bottom so it’s a much better option for those worried about their bottom half. There’s no need to worry about VPL either because the seamless edges sit perfectly in the natural curves of your body while the non-bulge waistband sits high on your torso so it doesn’t dig in. It comes in a great range of sizes (8-22) and a choice of either black or nude. 

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6. Intimates Control Strapless Control Slip: £29, Littlewoods

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The great thing about this option is that it comes with removable straps making it perfect to wear under most dresses. If you’re larger busted, you may find the straps provide you with a little extra comfort but the non-slip grip around the top ensures a stay-put fit either way. The sizing for this slip goes on bra size and comes in an impressive range of sizes from 34B to 40F; the cups are underwired and very lightly padded for further support. Shapewear isn’t always the most glamorous of items but this slip is super sultry; the fabric is silky and soft with sheer side panels and delicate lace trimming across the top and bottom. 

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7. Simply Be Magisculpt Light Control Lace Bodyshaper: £22, Simply Be

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If you’re looking for a piece that will smooth and shape your body without restricting, then this will do the job. The bodyshaper is made entirely from lace with a smoothing mesh lining at the centre front and cups making it far more appealing than your average control pant. Soft and comfortable, it provides just the right amount of support with a bra back fastening and adjustable straps for a personalised fit. What’s great about this one is that it’s designed with crotch press studs making a trip to the ladies far less problematic. Available in sizes 34B to 48C, this is great for light control but the all-over lace means those with heavy hands should approach with caution.  

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8. Miracle Suit Waist Cincher: £33.50, John Lewis

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Always dreamt of having an hourglass figure? Well John Lewis' super-flattering waist cincher does help. The product resembles a corset with boned detailing and extra firm control that slims the middle torso while taking inches off your waist – it can be a little tricky to fasten the hooks but once you’re in it is surprisingly comfortable thanks to some stretchy side panels. This is great for problem tummies and while we’re not sure we agree with the brand’s promise that you’ll become 10lb lighter in 10 seconds, it does the job with instant waist-reducing results. 

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9. Wacoal Ultimate Side Smoother Brief: £54, Wacoal

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If you’re looking for a simple yet effective brief that you can comfortably wear day or night then this from the lingerie specialists – Wacoal , which was founded in 1946 – is ideal. It has a high-rise waist with a double panel front and a separate band that sits on the hip for good control on areas that are often less than firm. The seamless edges mean that it’s invisible even under tight clothing and we love the fact that it comes with removable straps for additional support and comfort. Available in sizes small to extra-large with nude and black colourways to choose from, this is a dependable, light control piece that ticks all the boxes.

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10. Myleene Klass Swirl Embroidery Control Body: £38, Very

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If you’re looking for something a bit more glam, then try this embroidered body designed by Myleene Klass. Wearing shapewear shouldn’t just be a necessity and this option proves that you can look and feel just as great out of a dress as in one. It’s made from super-silky fabric with elegant lace detailing on the cups and sides with a gorgeous nude underlay. The bra is lightly padded and underwired for extra support and also comes with removable straps – including suspenders. The only slight downside to this is that the bottom isn’t seamless so it’s ever so slightly visible if you’re wearing tight-fitting clothes. Other than that, this is great value and a sophisticated-looking take on shapewear.

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Verdict

For a piece that looks great, gives light comfortable control and doesn’t break the bank we recommend Ultimo’s signature black body. It holds everything where it should be with the added bonus of wearing your own bra and we just love how they’ve managed to elevate ordinary shapewear to pin-up heights. We can’t go without mentioning Miracle Suit’s waist cincher either, which succeeds in giving you the hourglass figure you’ve always dreamt of having.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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