Shapewear and waist trainers aren’t your average underwear. While most women know this when they're placing their order, many are quite surprised to discover just how tight their garments can feel. They can even question whether or not they actually fit.
Having the right expectations is crucial. To avoid doubt after you’ve placed an order, here are some tips to help you know if a shaping garment fits correctly, or if it should be exchanged for something different.
- Waist Trainers
These are by far our most popular sellers here at Hourglass Angel—and of course, what’s not to love? Virtually any body shape and size can benefit from slimming the waistline and creating hourglass curves.
If you’re a first-time waist trainer wearer, the most surprising thing you may encounter is how tight a waist trainer feels the first time you put it on. But before you give up and decide to order a larger size, consider these factors:
- Did you take accurate measurements?
The most important measurement for a waist trainer is your waist size. You should measure the narrowest part of your waist, about two inches above your belly button, using a vinyl or fabric tape measure. Make sure that the tape is level with the ground and that you do not pull it too tight. You should be able to slip a finger underneath without difficulty.
- Did you read the size chart correctly?
It can be a little confusing at first glance. Be sure you order the size that corresponds with your waist measurement, which isn’t necessarily the same number. For example, on the Clasica Latex Waist Cincher by Ann Chery, a size 30 is made for a 23–24.5-inch waist (not a 30-inch waist!). Our size charts have been thoroughly tested and they reflect the most accurate size. So be sure to stick to the guidelines. When in between sizes, pick the larger one. Remember that waist trainers are adjustable, so you can put a larger one on a tighter setting for the best fit.
- Did you put it on correctly?
Waist trainers are a bit tricky if you’re not used to putting them on. We recommend starting with the bottom hook-and-eye closure on the garment, clasping them across the narrowest part of your waist. Gently work your way up the row of hooks, and finally pull the garment down over your lower abdomen once it’s completely fastened.
- Did you choose the right garment for your body type?
In some cases you might technically have the right size, but it just isn’t the ideal piece for your body type. This is especially common in women who are petite, tall or curvy. For petite women we recommend a regular everyday cincher with only two rows of hook-and-eye closures, or even one of our workout bands, which are typically not as long as other options. For women with long torsos we recommend waist trainers designed with more coverage. And for curvier women we recommend the Squeem brand as well as vest-style trainers with adjustable straps for maximum bust support.
With all of those factors considered, here’s what to expect the first time you wear your waist trainer.
- It should feel very tight. You probably will not be able to bend very much at the waist.
- You will sweat more around your core (this is one the reason that waist training is effective). If this makes you uncomfortable, you might want to try a cotton blend or latex-free waist trainer.
- While it should be snug, the waist trainer should not pinch or restrict your breathing. Take it off immediately if this is the case.
- While it can be tricky to put a waist trainer on for the first time, you shouldn’t have to tug or stretch to fasten it. Don’t ever force it, or you risk damaging it, which will render it not returnable.
- With a properly fitted waist trainer, you should see obvious hourglass curves immediately. If it’s too loose and there’s not a noticeable difference in your waistline, you either need a smaller size or a different style. You should not be able to move it around at all once it’s fastened and in place!
Final word: How do you know when to order a new waist trainer? After several months of regular use, waist trainers can lose some of their elasticity—not to mention, your waist might be quite a bit slimmer than it used to be. You know that you’re due for a new one when it just doesn’t feel as snug as it used to, even when on the tightest setting. For most women, this is cause to celebrate! Be sure to take new waist measurements before ordering your next waist trainer.
Whether you go for a full bodysuit that contours every curve, or you opt for more targeted control, shapewear requires a precision fit in order to function best. Here are questions to consider when finding your perfect fit with most styles of shapewear:
- Did you take accurate measurements?
For most shapewear, you need to take accurate measurements of your bust, waist and/or hips. Don’t just rely on your dress size, as shapewear sizes can vary depending on the brand. We’ve tested each garment in our store and have adjusted the sizing charts accordingly. To take accurate measurements, use a vinyl or fabric measuring tape and lay it flat against your skin or over a very thin layer of fabric like panties or a light tank. Keep the tape level with the ground. Take the fullest part of your bust and hips and the narrowest part of your waist.
- Did you read the size chart correctly?
This can be a bit tricky, especially if one of your measurements, like your waist, corresponds with a different size than another one of your measurements, like your hips. In these cases, try to think intuitively about the type of garment you are using. What are the body parts that it is most focused on? Go with that measurement. If it’s an all-body shaper, you will probably be most comfortable in the larger size—and it will still produce very flattering results.
- Did you put it on right?
Don’t be that person who tries to get spandex on over her head! Shapewear garments are designed to be stepped into. Never force or yank the fabric, as this can stress the material and even damage it. Make sure that all clasps and zippers are completely loosened. Be patient and work the garment up over your curves slowly, fastening carefully.
- Did you choose the best garment for your body type?
Women aren’t one-size-fits-all, and they certainly aren’t one-shape-fits-all either! You might have to do a little research to determine what garments are best for your target areas. While all-over shapers are very flattering for many women, they might not be for you if you have unusual ratios between your hips, waist and/or bust. But not to worry! If you’re having trouble finding the best fit, try to pair up more than one garment (for example, a waist trainer plus shaping leggings make a killer pair). You might also want to stick with open-bust garments that can work in conjunction with your favorite bra. Also make sure that if your garment has straps that they are adjustable.
With all of these factors considered, here’s what to expect when you’re wearing shapewear.
- Most shapewear should feel very tight, especially if it is labeled as high compression. If it covers your core, you might feel quite stiff in the torso.
- Your skin may feel warm where it is covered by the garment—causing you to sweat more. If this makes you uncomfortable, you may want to consider a hosiery-weight garment or a cotton blend.
- While your movement might feel slightly restricted in a maximum compression garment, you should not feel discomfort or shortness of breath. This indicates that it is too small and you should take it off immediately.
- You shouldn’t have to force or tug the material in order to put the garment on. If you have been trying to fit into it for more than a few minutes and you’re not making much progress, it’s probably not the right size or fit for you.
- You should feel outrageously sexy in a properly fitted shaper. If you’re not satisfied with the results it produces, it’s probably not the right size or style for you.
Final word:Like waist trainers, shapewear can wear out after heavy use. Be sure to care for it properly and rotate several pieces through your wardrobe in order to maximize their wear. Once a shaper starts to feel loose, or if you notice that the fabric rides up or rolls over, it’s time for something new. Be sure to take new measurements every time you order!
We love helping our customers find the perfectly fitted shapewear or waist trainers. Our stylists are trained and only recommend what they would use themselves. Contact our expert customer service team if you ever have any questions about finding your perfect fit.