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The best inclusive shapewear labels for every size, body type and skin tone

The best inclusive shapewear labels for every size, body type and skin tone

Shapeshifting silhouettes

Text: Kelly Lim

Image: Skims

It's no secret that shapewear is having a moment. Ahead, we delve into the rise and rise of shapewear, from its ancient origins to modern day options that place comfort and ease at the forefront

For as long as fashion has necessitated certain body types over another, shapewear has existed for women to achieve specific figures across history. From the metal girdles of ancient Greece and the boned corsets of the Victorian era (a trend which has seen major resurgence over the last year) to the waist trainers of the 2010s, the controversial category has evolved alongside changing beauty standards, no matter the cost on comfort or self-image. 

The good news is that foundation garments have come a long way since then, with present-day designs that are less restrictive and speak more broadly to different body shapes and sizes to help the concept move beyond the peddling of an organ-crushing, faint-inducing (and ultimately unrealistic) body type.

READ: A brief history in corsets: Why you're wrong about the antique undergarment

Today, shapewear is seen as liberating allies rather than confining underwear, no longer designed with the sole purpose to slim and smooth curves, but rather enhance and empower the body in a more inclusive way. Thanks to a new breed of brands emerging to fill gaps and fulfil the needs of shifting values, shape-enhancing garments have stepped into the spotlight as an integral part of the modern woman's wardrobe––worn both under clothes and as fashion pieces in themselves.

Think beyond everyday undergarment go-tos like seamless undies and comfy bralettes to pieces that can make all the difference when you want extra support, security and confidence––a second-skin slip that'll transform semi-sheer items to something more demure, or a corset as a base layer for special-occasion attire to make your outfit infinitely more comfortable and flattering.

No matter the outfit or occasion at hand, we've gathered the best shapewear brands on the market for your perusal, from those with an eco-friendly ethos to ones that grant support and solutions in equal measures. Everything you need to know, below.  

Skims 

Instrumental to putting shapewear into the spotlight, Kim Kardashian's cult solutionswear brand isn't just all hype––the label's stellar collaboration with Fendi proves it. Skims does offer thoughtful and game-changing designs that women will appreciate, such as their Fits Everybody range that stretches twice its size to provide full coverage without losing shape; as well as their year-round Sculpting Short––modelled after the bike short trend that the Kardashian clan are nearly never seen without––that lifts and supports various body types. It doesn't end there: Select designs arrive up to 5XL beyond the typical sizing ranges with pieces available in an extensive nine core skin-toned hues. 

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Heist

Despite having only launched in 2018, London label Heist has quickly won over customers with their technology, comfort-first approach (e.g. adapting pioneering swimwear technology used in the uniforms of Olympic athletes) and inclusive, modern approach on shapewear. For those looking to incorporate control lingerie into everyday wear, their sleek designs include flexible, breathable styles like the Outer bodysuit and High Waist briefs, which both feature Heist's signature 'HeroPanels' that adapt to each wearer's unique shape and movement. 

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Knix 

After two years spent in the making, lingerie label Knix expanded their immense repertoire with a range of Love Your Shape-Wear pieces designed to enhance and celebrate natural shapes. The collections echo their inclusive philosophy, with a variety of designs to suit different needs––from shorts and leakproof briefs to full structured bodysuits––and sizing that goes from S to XXXL. 

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Spanx 

Spanx may be a household name in shapewear, but throw everything you thought you knew about the label out the window. The 20-year-old brand has shaken things up as of late, with simple, smart designs that go beyond the girdles and pantyhose like OnCore shorts and breathable bodysuits that remain a strong, stylist-favourite offering. There's also their newest On-The-Go collection of white pants and shorts that features first-of-its-kind Silver Lining tech to provide 100 per cent opacity without the risk of showing your underwear. 

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Butt Chique 

With inclusive sizing and accessible colour tones, Kamakshi Agarwala’s lockdown launch Butt Chique strives to reinvent shapewear as a tool for versatility and empowerment. The women-led New Delhi-based label prides itself on using the thinnest and most breathable of fabrics for a body-loving offering of bodysuits, nipple pasties and more that are functional first and fashionable second. Butt Chique's dedication to sustainability also means that their designs are free of labels or tags, and zero plastic is used in packaging to keep their ecological footprint to a minimum.  

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