When you’re putting together your work wardrobe, particularly in an office job, you might not naturally think about what kinds of undergarments you are going to wear. After all, no one is going to see them, so what does it matter?
Well, it matters because your undergarments lay the foundation for every outfit you wear!
For that reason, shapewear should be a part of your work style every day, no matter what you’re wearing and what your body type is.
It is possible to wear shapewear comfortably for long hours. Here’s how to choose the right shapewear for work, so you can look and feel stylish and confident every time you step into the office.
Start with the Right Measurements
Before we get into the details of what shapewear is best for your work wardrobe, we want to emphasize the importance of getting the right size. You could have the highest quality shapewear in the world, but if it doesn’t fit, it isn’t going to do you any good.
For most shapewear, there are three measurements that matter: your bust, your waist and your hips. Use vinyl or fabric tape when taking measurements. For each measurement, make sure that the tape lies flat against your skin and is parallel with the ground (no sagging or diagonal tape!). It should be pulled firmly, but not so tight that it’s digging into your skin. You should be able to comfortably slip a couple of fingers underneath the tape.
- For the bust: measure the fullest part of your chest.
- For the waist: measure the slimmest part of your waist, about two inches above the belly button.
- For the hips: measure the fullest part of the hips.
Note that the sizes can vary between shaping garments, so make sure to match the measurements you took with the garment you are considering. And do not worry if the shapewear measurements don’t line up with your clothing measurements! They’re not the same.
If measurements for different parts of your body make you land in between two different garments, always go with the larger size. For example, if you’re looking at a body shaper that would be size M for your waist but size L for your hips, choose the size L. If you’re concerned that it won’t be tight enough, choose a garment that uses adjustable sizing options like different rows of closure hooks or shoulder straps.
It may be tempting to go down a size to get better results, but trust us—you won’t be happy with the results! Compression garments are neither effective nor comfortable if they’re too small.
Consider Your Target Areas
You’re going to want a different style of garment depending on what your personal target areas are. Most women benefit from slimming and smoothing the midsection. Others want to slim the hips and thighs, while others want to add volume to the rear. Some want coverage for the upper back and extra support for the bust.
You’re probably already aware of your trouble spots, so keep them in mind as you select your shaping garments.
What outfit you’re wearing on a given day can also affect what the best shaping option is. A shaping slip is an easy solution for a skirt suit, while shaping panties might be all you want if you have more casual work attire. Some days you might be wearing clothes with a tighter fit, or lighter fabric, so you might need something that is seamless and invisible underneath your outfit. In the summer you might prefer some lighter shapewear, while in the winter you don’t mind having something heavier.
Most people don’t have the exact same shaping needs every day, which is why we recommend having a versatile shapewear wardrobe for all of your work attire.
Pick Your Compression Level
Just as not all shapewear targets the same trouble areas, not all shapewear has the same slimming power either.
Recall what we mentioned above: when in between sizes, always choose the larger size. That’s because shaping power comes from the compression level of the garment, not from its size.
If you want dramatic results that reshape your figure, then maximum compression is the way to go. Garments like waist trainers, corsets and many bodysuits use maximum compression materials.
If you don’t need maximum compression and would instead prefer a shaping garment that smooths out your imperfections, then a light or medium compression garment is the way to go. These style of garments are more flexible and can feel lighter—making them ideal for warmer climates and the summer months. Shaping camis and shaping panties are examples of this style of garment.
Choose Your Materials
Most shaping garments use a combination of synthetic fabric to provide compression. If you are sensitive to certain fabrics, check the materials in the product information.
Some people are sensitive to latex, which is the material typically used in one of the most popular shaping garments, waist trainers. If you’re sensitive to latex, consider garments with alternatives to latex, including cinchers constructed with other synthetic blends or corsets made with steel boning and a lace-up back.
When picking your garment, you might also consider that some are easier to hide than others. If you are wearing clingy or light fabric, you will probably want a shaper with a seamless design.
Build Your Shapewear Wardrobe for Work
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to start building your shapewear wardrobe for work! There are several styles that are especially effective at creating a great foundation for office work wear.
Shaping panties: These are a must-have everyday solution for work. You’re going to be wearing panties anyway, so let them work to your benefit!
High waist shaping panties keep your tummy and waistline slim and tucked in, so you don’t have to worry about mishaps like muffin top and love handles. Some panties also have butt-lifting power, so you can have a firm backside under your pants or skirts.
You can wear shaping panties anytime! They’re especially effective with your favorite trousers and other styles of pants paired with a sweater, blouse or button-down top.
Try this: Mid-Waist Butt-Lifting Control Panties + high waist trouser with belt + solid tank + blazer.
Shaping camis:Layering for work makes sense, especially since you never know what kind of climate you’ll get inside the office! Using a shaping cami as the foundation of your outfit ensures that your silhouette will be smooth underneath whatever you layer on top. Many of our styles come in an open-bust design, so you can get a customized fit with your favorite bra.
Shaping camis work especially well under any top that you want to layer over with a jacket or sweater.
Try this: Naomi & Nicole Unbelievable Comfort Torsette 711 + button-down top + cardigan + black pants.
Shaping slips: If you love wearing skirts, you’ll love the smoothing effect you’ll get from shaping slips. You can create smoother hips, thighs and butt while tucking in your tummy and slimming the midsection.
You can wear shaping slips with pretty much any skirt or dress! Pick you style and have fun with it.
Try this: Semi-Body Control Slip + fitted pencil skirt + textured blouse
Thigh slimmers:Need a little more targeted control for the hips and thighs? Thigh-slimming shapewear keeps your lower half firmly in check. Most styles also come in a high waist cut so that your midsection will be smooth as well.
These shapers are the perfect solution for pants or skirts that can cling to your figure. You don’t have to worry about any unwanted visible lumps or panty lines.
Try this: High Waist Spandex Shorts by Spanx 2745 + skirt suit + blouse
Waist cinchers and corsets:And of course, we couldn’t leave out waist trainers as a fantastic shapewear option for work. If you want your waistline to look several inches smaller, for your bust to be fuller and to have more support for your back and posture, then a waist trainer is the perfect solution for your everyday work wear.
Note that waist trainers come in several styles. The regular band style with hook-and-eye closures is the most common and can be worn comfortably every day (just remember that it can take some time to adjust, so work your way up to long hours of wear). Vest-style waist trainers use shoulder straps to provide additional support for the bust and coverage for the upper back. Finally, steel-boned corsets create dramatic slimming results with a lace-up back.
You can wear a waist trainer under almost anything! Corsets are a little more difficult to conceal under light or clingy materials.
Try this: Clasica Latex Waist Cincher by Ann Chery 2025+ circle skirt + fitted blouse
We’re hope you’re inspired by these shapewear outfit ideas for work! The best approach to wearing shapewear comfortably and effectively every day is to have several pieces that you can rotate through your wardrobe, so you’ll always look your best.