Girdles for Women: Tips on Choosing the Best Compression Underwear
Okay, ladies. Let’s face it. We all have problem areas on our bodies that we’re just never satisfied with. Things tend to get dislodged and travel in unwanted directions as we get older. Bulges need taming, sagging needs rearranging, and our assets just need to be placed back in their God-given positions. Well, I’m here to tell you that a little assistance is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of! I am a full-fledged advocate of shapewear (sometimes called girdles or compression underwear). I’ve scoured the stores, both online and brick-and-mortar, and I am ready to share with you the tricks to choosing the best design.
Tips, Types, and What to Look for
1. “Scuba Suit” or Mid-Thigh Shapers
- These girdles for women are great for slimming and smoothing out the abdomen, hips, buttocks, love handles, and thighs.
- Look for ones with a gusset, or opening, to make going to the bathroom easier. This option tends to be offered the more expensive brands, however. Word of warning: Some of the holes are pretty darn small!
- Compression underwear made of thick material can make your derriere look flat to practically non-existent.
- The thicker the material, the more tendency they have to “roll” up and down.
- You want these to have a snug fit, but too tight and you will increase the chances of the ever-dreaded roll. So, proper sizing is of utmost importance.
- If you have a short torso, beware of the super high-waist shapers. They may be too long for you.
2. Boy Short Slimmers
- Boy shorts are like mid-thigh shapers except they stop at the upper thigh. If you’re only worried about your love handles and buttocks, these will do the trick.
- These aren't as effective at eliminating the muffin top.
- They are more suited for women who don’t have a lot to iron out or for women who feel claustrophobic and tormented by regular shapewear.
3. One Piece BodySuits/Onesies
- If you are large breasted, get the kind of bodysuit where you wear your own bra. Personally, I’ve never found a bodysuit with a built-in bra that provides enough support for my larger than average “girls." If you opt for a onesie with a built-in bra, make sure it has adjustable shoulder straps. If not, you might as well just put on your one piece bathing suit; you’ll get about the same results! In other words, don’t forget you’re also buying a bra with this design, so look for all the characteristics you require when bra shopping. In my book, adjustable straps are crucial for a custom fit.
- Beware if you’re tall! If you’re above 5’8”, getting a bodysuit that’s long enough is tricky. Even if you have a particularly long torso, you could be in for some pretty unpleasant shoulder digging and chaffing, as though you’ve spent a day carrying around a backpack.
- Spandex stretches in all four directions. So, bear in mind if your bodysuit is stretching ¾ of its capacity in width. That means you’re only going to have ¼ left to stretch in length. So, when in doubt, always buy a size larger. Look for material that has at least 10% Spandex for maximum comfort.
4. Camisoles/Shapewear Bras
- If one of your primary concerns is back fat, then a camisole bra is an excellent choice. They’re great for evening dresses or form-fitting blouses because they get rid of bra-bulging. They also make everything look smooth as well as make your tummy appear a little flatter. They can either be tucked into the pants you're wearing, or not. Some even have fancy trim that’s meant to be visible under shirts, giving you an elegant layered look. Again, when choosing a camisole, bear in mind again that you are purchasing a bra. Some even have molded underwire and can work as effective minimizer bras if you’re large breasted.
- The camisole isn’t immune to riding up. Again, getting the correct size will help avert this problem. My solution is to make sure my camis are long enough to tuck into my pants.
- Word of warning: Camis are not the most effective at tummy slimming. You’re better off with a onesie or a scuba suit if that’s your primary problem area.
5. Full and Half Slimmer Slips
- These are definitely not the slips for women of yesteryear, which functioned only to avoid static cling and transparency. A full slip basically looks like a dress. It can be strapless or have spaghetti or regular straps. A half slip just looks like a skirt and helps hold in the hips and thighs
- Opt for a high-waisted version if you’re worried about stomach fat.
- The most troublesome thing about these slips is that it makes you feel like a tightly wrapped mummy, unable to use your legs. You MUST find one with lycra and spandex in order to combat this walking disability. If you still feel confined, I recommend just sticking with the mid-thigh shapers.
6. Slimmer Thongs
This style is a great example of how girdles have evolved. If you enjoy wearing low-rise jeans or pants, slimmer thongs are a great choice. On the bottom part, it looks like a regular thong, but it comes with a control top compression panel for slimming purposes. Personally, I’m not a fan of thongs, but I know they’re a staple in many women’s undergarment collection.
I have excitedly purchased an embarrassing amount of girdles, with a lot of disappointment. No doubt about it, modern shapewear has come a long way since the old, vintage style. I still remember watching my grandmother get her daily workout trying to slither her way into her girdle and corset. She then had to strap the whole ensemble together, with snaps sticking out all over the place.
I first discovered the wonderful world of compression underwear quite a few years ago, just after the birth of my twins. My stomach was enormous — so much so it was difficult to ascertain which side of me was the front or the back. Down in the dumps, I ended up in Nordstrom of all places, looking at all the cute jeans I used to be able to fit into. It was then that I came across the girdles section. I found myself mesmerized by the idea and hopeful that these undergarments would solve my abdominal bulge. I knew absolutely nothing about body shapers, so I was shopping completely blind.
I tried on a Wacoal hi-waist, long-leg brief. I liked the way it fit and thought the price was reasonable, so off I went. Within a half hour of the first time wearing it, the top of the brief had rolled down into a snake-like shape below my stomach, and the bottoms of both legs had rolled up. Basically, I was left with a tight pair of underwear with rope-like bulges, which completely defeated the purpose of the body “shaper." Then, I tried to go to the bathroom. Good grief! Taking them on and off was a colossal battle — one not to be won in a small, public bathroom stall.
I could see, however, that I was on to something. If only I did a little research and could find the best qualities for my needs. If you have your own favorite, let me know in the comment box below!