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Girdles for Women: Tips on Choosing the Best Compression Underwear

Updated on January 24, 2017

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

Mid-thigh shapers
Mid-thigh shapers

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.

Boy shorts body shapers for women
Boy shorts body shapers for women

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.

You can wear your own bra with a style like this one.
You can wear your own bra with a style like this one.

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.

Some body shapers for women can even be attractive and add to your style.
Some body shapers for women can even be attractive and add to your style.

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.

Girdles for women have come a long way, huh?
Girdles for women have come a long way, huh?

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.

My Experience

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!

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  • profile image

    EverSoSweetMe 11 months ago

    I am an extremely indulgent, hopelessly incessant crossdresser and the Sp**x Super Higher Power Shaper Panty is absolutely magical at temporarily making the entire nasty bikini-zone boy thing disappear so effectively that it renders me perfectly flat in front even in the tightest of skirts. Also, I have very good reason to believe that my dedicated daily wearing of the shaper underneath my boy clothes for the past six months has initiated hopefully permanent shrinkage as well as retraction to up and inside my lower abdomen. Thank you, thank you and thank you Sara Blakely! I own several Sp**x foundation garments and they have done wonders for my greatest passion in life, the art of self-feminization!

  • Gilliane Moxham profile image

    Gilliane Moxham 23 months ago from Kilkenny, Ireland

    Nothing like a real girdle, the open bottom girdle with suspenders for stockings. That's what I love a woman to wear. Sexiest things ever.

  • profile image

    toms0321 5 years ago

    I have a mild case of scolosis - I decided after some research that the solution would be to be fitted in a girdle. I located a professional corsetier to help fit me and give me some consulting. She explained that part of the consulting was to find out about my personal life style - I am very active but I do a fair amount of sitting. The scolosis effects my posture - so she put me in a long legged very high waisted boned and zippered panty girdle. She had to also work with me on how to properly put on a girdle, laying down on a bed leaning back which pulled my belly towards my chest then pull up the girdle hooking up the hooks and eyes and pulling up the zipper. She had me stand up I was amazed as to positive results of the support my stomach and back were getting. The corsetier also had to work with me to make sure I relaxed my stomach muscles. She explained it does take a few days to a few weeks to become completely use to daily being girdled. I am completely amazed how great now I feel, I wake up clean up and put on a girdle in my daily routine and I found I now have dramatic increase in energy and confidence. What I have learned that wearing a girdle daily was a "Womans' Best Kept Secret". I sure wish I would have known this secret. I also found to my surprise that not just wearing a girdle is great, but also panty hose over the girdle gives my much more additional support.

    NOTE TO KAYBEE01 my advise like me is locate a professional corsetier who can help you - I happen to have some names of very knowledable corsetiers if you email me at toms_0321@yahoo.com - I am sure they will be able to help you.

  • profile image

    lingerielover 5 years ago

    From my experience a good fitting high waisted longleg girdle is the best choice. I love the feeling and the support the girdle gives me.

    Another choice is the classical open bottom girdle. Worn with stockings nothing comes close.

  • profile image

    KayBee01 5 years ago

    Still looking for best compression underwear for excess fat in lower abdomen due to many surgeries. Its like having a shelf of fat from hip to hip even though I'm not overweight. Any help appreciated.

  • Ingenira profile image

    Ingenira 6 years ago

    Hmmm... I like the Boy Shorts Slimmers, they look so sexy! Are you supposed to wear that inside a pants, or you can wear it for sports ? Have you got the price for it ?

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