Curvy Girl Shapewear 101: A Guide for Choosing the Best Shapewear for Plus-Sized Babes

Shapewear for Plus-Sized

In case you haven’t heard, the days of hiding your curves behind baggy or poor fitting clothes are over. It’s time to fall in love with your curves, maximize your assets, show the world that you are proud of your body and you aren't afraid to show it off.

Thanks to the body positivity movement and the inclusion of big-bodied models in mainstream fashion, curvy girls worldwide are finally learning to give themselves permission to feel beautiful.

Since there’s a wider variety of plus-sized clothing options, you can learn to dress in a way that expresses who you are -while flaunting whatchya got- instead of “dressing to hide”. And with the right shapewear underneath to accentuate your silhouette, you can rock any look with confidence.

Your curves aren’t cookie-cutter, why should your shapewear be?

See one curvy woman, see them all, right? WRONG!

Just as there are as many ways to be beautiful, curvy bodies come in a multitude of forms. Some big-bodied women are busty and have narrow hips. Some plus-size ladies have bangin’ booties and thighs with tiny waists. We represent all shapes, all colors, all backgrounds.

So with such diversity of shapes and sizes, why do we expect shapewear to fit the same, no matter your body type?

Shapewear is a foundation, not a disguise

If you have fair skin, you wouldn’t use concealer created for dark skin, right? It would defeat the purpose of blending away dark circles or blemishes. The same goes for shapewear: as a plus-sized woman, you can’t (and shouldn’t) use shapewear meant for skinny girls.

Because––guess what? You don’t have to look skinny to look beautiful!

If you’ve worn shapewear before, you know that it is designed to enhance your shape, as well as smooth out any bits that might make you feel insecure. And while high-compression shapewear can add extra contours to your silhouette, it’s not intended to make your body look like something it isn’t.

So... when you wear ill-fitting shapewear, not only does it not do the job of creating a smooth canvas for your clothing, it can actually cause more lumps by pinching your body in the wrong places or rolling down!

You want to choose the best shapewear to flatter your unique, beautiful body––without squeezing the stuffing out of you!

So how do you find the right style for bringing out your best bits––without squeezing the stuffing out of you? How do you know when you’ve got the right kind of shapewear for your curvy body? Is it even possible to find plus-size shapewear that will stay where it’s supposed to without rolling down or riding up?

We made this guide just for curvy women so you can discover shapewear styles designed for plus-sized bodies.

The 6 Body-Positive Rules of Choosing Plus-Size Shapewear

1) Know your measurements

plus size shapewear

The first thing you need to know: buy shapewear in your size or, if you are not completely sure, one size larger.

Some women think that if they get shapewear a size down, it will provide more compression and make them look thinner. Nope! In fact, shapewear that’s a size too small will only create bulges and rolls where you don't want them, plus it will be extremely uncomfortable.

Also: shapewear sizes don’t always correlate to underwear sizes. Don’t assume, just because you normally buy a certain size of plus size undies, that you are the same size in shapewear.

If you’re unsure about your size, you can check out our sizing charts and our help center to learn more on how to choose the right size of shapewear according to your measurements.

2) Know your body shape and focus on what you want to flaunt

Body types

What’s your natural silhouette? What parts of your body do you think are your sweet spots? Great shapewear takes what you already have and gives it a boost.

No matter your size, knowing your body type will help you see the beauty you were born with (rather than trying to be someone else).

It will also help you choose the best shapewear options for your unique build: body shapers will highlight different parts of your body while taking attention away from less flattering spots.

For example, if you want to accentuate your bum for that new pencil skirt, our Co’Coon Seamless Butt Lifter Shorts would be perfect for you. But if you are trying to smooth some back bulge then we recommend our All Day Every Day High-Waisted Shaper Shorts.

3) Choose your support level

No, we’re not talking about moral support––although we’re here for that, too! ;-)

You Got This

Once you’ve figured out the correct size and which areas you want to accentuate, it’s time to decide on how much compression you want.

Curvy women have a choice of three different types of compression:

Light compression: Do you have some bulges you want to smooth out so you can wear clothes more comfortably? Light control, everyday shapewear pieces will smooth trouble spots so you can rock your look all day long.

Medium compression: Are you looking to accentuate your curves? Firm control shapewear is made with supple, stretchy fabrics that move with your body while adding subtle contours to your shape. You should get hours of comfort from firm control pieces.

Firm compression: Often used to provide more contouring to your shape. Firm and extra-firm control pieces are perfect for formal, structured clothing like wedding dresses, prom gowns, evening gowns and cocktail dresses. You should feel toned and sturdy without feeling constricted.

5) Match the right plus-size shapewear to the occasion



The amount of compression and support you need will depend on the occasion and the outfit––and what makes you most comfortable.

Everyday wear: To be honest, some occasions (like Netflix binges) don’t call for shapewear at all. BUT if you love hanging out in a certain pair of jeans but hate the muffin top that appears when you wear them, your best bet is light or medium support shapewear.

Work wear: If you work in an office with a dress code, try medium-support pieces that will help give your business separates a clean, tailored look. That way you stay comfortable and feel toned while looking sharp.

Evening wear: Yes, full-figured woman, you CAN wear a bodycon dress for a night on the town! A nice medium to firm-support bodysuit will help you show off your shape while leveling out dimples or rolls.

Formal wear: Going to a wedding or other affair that calls for glamour? You’ll appreciate the extra firming power that comes from heavy-duty shapewear pieces. Getting married? Congrats! Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Bridal Shapewear.

6) Keep these 4 essential shapewear pieces in your closet

The Bodysuit

The Bodysuit

Bodysuit (or leotard) style shapewear provides all-over support and contouring for your torso, back, butt and thighs. Some styles come with a brief cut, but most curvy women we know prefer to have boy short/biker short cut to help avoid “chub-rub.”

Our amazing body positive #ShapermintGal, Kristy Taylor (@dressedfortime) is wearing a Torsette Thigh Slimmer from Miraclesuit, which provides extra-firm coverage without constricting.

Bike Shorts

Bike Shorts for curvy girls

Bike (or shaper) shorts give you thigh-slimming, butt-smoothing confidence and protect your thighs against chafing and irritation (aka “chub rub”). When you choose the right size, they stay in place without cutting into your skin.

This gorgeous model is wearing a pair of our best-selling Empetua™ All Day Every Day High-Waisted Shaper Shorts, which offer comfortable, lightweight support all the way down to your knees.

Shaping Panties

Shaping Panties for curvy girls

Does your tummy pooch make wearing waistbands uncomfortable?

TC® Shape Away® Hi-Waist Brief has a double layer of tummy tucking to offer complete control of the whole middle of your torso, leaving you looking and feeling smooth. They also have an anti-slip silicone strip at the waist, so no rolling down.

You can also try out the Empetua Shaper Panty, which Jeanily is wearing in the picture.

Leggings

Leggings for curvy girls

Give your curves a 360-degree hug with a pair of wear-anywhere leggings.

One of our most popular pieces, the Empetua™ High Waisted Shaping Leggings, has won over thousands of plus-size women with comfortable fabric that smoothes dimples, muffin tops and knee-rolls without being see-through.

Rock your curves with shapewear

No matter your size, move through the world with XXL confidence. With smoothing, comfortable, seamless coverage from your shapewear, you can rock any outfit, formal or informal.

There’s no limit to your wardrobe when it comes to style. So go on––show off the best version of yourself! Be confident, be proud!

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