It’s Hollywood awards season, and you know what that means. Lots of coverage of evening gowns, high jewelry, strappy shoes . . . and shapewear. Everyone knows about Spanx. But now, there’s a new generation of shapewear brands that are not about contorting oneself to suit the male gaze. These shapewear brands – founded by women, for women – are about body confidence, being comfortable and being inclusive of all sizes and skin tones. Here are the top new luxury shapewear brands to know right now.
As with so many other articles of clothing, the staid world of shapewear is transforming. No longer about iron waists, only two color options and extreme discomfort, the new wave of shapewear is female-focused. Meaning: more comfortable, more inclusive, many more color options and more focus on strength and confidence, and less on how to turn into a faux-sylph for a night.[white_box]
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And as with so many other items related to women, this particular evolution comes with a controversy: is it possible to be a feminist and still wear shapewear?
Dear reader, we’ll leave you to ponder that one. There are a few more pressing matters that we’re in the midst of debating right now.
In the meantime, though, here are some of the brands leading the charge in the evolution of foundation garments.
the top luxury shapewear brands you need to know
1. Heist Studios
London-based Heist Studios, which branched into shapewear in 2018 after a successful launch with seamless pantyhose, is a new cult favorite. Their HeroPanels achieve compression without the usual “side effects” of making the wearer feel hot, overly constricted, or plagued by “muffin tops” or VPLs.
The compression can take almost 2 inches off your waist, and the brand’s bodysuits can be worn as outerwear as well as underwear (they come in a seasonal array of eye-popping colors).
The current line includes the Highlight Short ($90); the Outer Body bodysuit ($138); and the High Waist pant ($75). Need further convincing that this brand is on the rise? It’s Meghan Markle approved![white_box]
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Skims rocketed to prominence when it announced in mid-2019 that it was partnering with Kim Kardashian West to launch a new line of shapewear designed to be far more inclusive than traditional brands. The product line is structured around four key categories, with extensive color options in each: bodysuits; shorts; skirts; and slip dresses.
Those who love pencil skirts may find the long skirt slip ($48) indispensable. The Open Bust Slip Skirt ($68) allows you to wear your own bra. The High Waist Bonded Short ($98) is a classic – but the most clever item in the line is the Solution Short ($42), which comes in two versions, and is explicitly designed to be worn with a dress or gown with a deep slit on one side.
The truly distinctive element, though, is that all of these pieces come in a color range that includes 8 shades of “skin tones” – from sand to cocoa – in addition to black and 4-5 fashion colors. Like Rebecca Allen shoes, that alone is a game-changer. There was a dust-up at the launch of the line that forced a name change – the original moniker was “Kimono.” That seems to have been forgiven and forgotten. With the recent addition of body tape and pasties in the same wide color range, now anyone who chooses can employ the same tricks of the trade that Hollywood stylists do. Thanks, Kim!
The Commando brand is not new, but its line has expanded rapidly in the shapewear category in the past couple of years under the mantra: “Shapewear that keeps you smoothed, not stuffed.”
There are three different levels of control and compression, depending on what you’re looking for. “Butter” control is the least restrictive. “Classic” is moderate control. “Two-faced tech” control is a signature brand offering that combines microfiber for support and smoothing on the outside with cotton on the inside. That way, the fabrication resists “garment rolling and ride-ups.”
The Hadid sisters and Rihanna reportedly wear this brand, perhaps because as with the other fastest-growing shapewear brands, Commando foundation garments are available in a wide variety of “nude” shades. Making it a lot more likely that you’ll find a good match for your skin tone.[white_box]
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London-based designer Marie Yeung, a Central Saint Martins graduate, is the founder of lingerie and swimwear brand Marieyat.
Solange and her crew have worn Marieyat, and that jibes with the brand’s sophisticated and subversive ethos. Each piece does double duty as both undergarment and control garment.
While it’s not a new name, you may not have heard that luxury hosiery brand Wolford has a Shape & Control shapewear line crafted from fabrics like tulle and stretch jersey. With seam-free construction and velvet straps, they’re a luxe way to add light support to your next big night out.
Some of the items, like the Tulle Forming Dress ($161) are so ethereal that no one will know that it’s shapewear – unless you decide to tell.
Of course, Spanx is still very much with us, and they have new offerings in black and “nude” this season, too. While their color palette is still highly limited, their advertising images embrace inclusion and body-positive attitudes. It’s a start.
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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier Newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.