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Do Body Shapers Work?

Updated on June 20, 2014
Common shapewear fashion for women
Common shapewear fashion for women | Source

Shaping for Perfection

Body shapers also referred to as shapewear have been in use since antiquity. Called by different names such as girdles, corsets, waist-cinchers, compression wear, this seemingly magical inner garments all aim to do one thing - to give the wearer a smooth, crease-free hourglass figure. But do they really work? Read on.

Kinds of Bodyshapers

Popular bodyshapers now come in the form of foundation undergarments like girdles, brassieres, garter belts, control panties, control camisoles, leotards or camisole leotards, bodysuits and control slips. A girdle is often created out of elasticized fabric, same with compression wear. Corsets are associated with a period in history where women are forced to wear bone-undergarments that require tight-lacing in order to conform to the ideal silhouette at the time.

Body Shaping for Both Men and Women

Body shapers are often associated with use for women to help tuck a belly, firm up a torso, push or perk up the bust, or get the look of a nipped waist. Famous celebrities are known to wear them all the time to give them a flawlessly-smooth figure in their designer dresses and expensive gowns specifically during red carpet events. In the same manner, ordinary women living regular lives want to achieve a shapely figure without going through painful exercise and yo-yo diets. Looking flawlessly shapely is indeed what every woman wants to achieve.

Men are also not immune from the reaches of body-contouring garments though not much is written about this fact or because they do not want to broadcast their use of male compression wear. In reality, more and more men resort to them because they also want firmer behinds, tucked beer bellies, appear with broader chest, or even get the illusion of looking like Superman. Understandably, the male version is often referred to as compression wear that also come in different kinds like belts, girdles, compression shirts and compression leotards and boxers. Even sportswear incorporate compression elements to tuck problem areas and may come in form of slimfit shirts and underwear.

One can buy body shapers everywhere in any shape and price. There are good ones of course. Some even claim to heal the body. Increasing demands for bodyshapers with health-altering benefits have led designers and manufacturers to continuously search for revolutionary ways to meet consumer demands. Some designers have placed magnets and crystals that claim to help achieve bodyshaping faster than conventional shapers.

How it Works

A body shaper can squeeze body fat to give off an appearance of smaller waist or torso. It can also provide lift to the butt and bust area to create the illusion of fullness and firmness. With the illusion of slimming and fullness in the right places, it gives the wearer instant confident boost. This feeling is good and may encourage the wearer to take on further exercise programs to achieve their ideal shape permanently.

Fast Fix

Body shapers can be a holy grail for fast-fix solutions and best during occasions requiring fast fixes such as weddings, reunions, red carpet events (celebrities), photo ops, graduations, and yes even interviews and first few dates. In short important events that do not require one to dress scantily. In these instances, body shapers are reliable to squeeze a waist by an inch or more and get the job done so the wearer can squeeze into a couple of dress size lower.

Got a reunion coming up and you want to look you best, need to dress to impress new boss, need to look good on an interview. Yes, shapewear can help. It is possible to wear one under more sexier outfits (women) but the trick is to find one that will still be able to tuck in or firm up the proper places without showing the inner garments.


Aside from being an instant confidence-booster, shapewear use can encourage people to workout. Its use can be complimented with a healthier diet and active physical exercise to modify the sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, due to its compression properties, the wearer will get encouraged to workout as it gives a preview of the ideal body shape she will achieve by following a more active lifestyle. It can also aid those with back aches and pains as some good ones can help align the body properly.

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Possible adverse effects

The improper use of shapewear may also backfire. One may possibly become entirely dependent on it that as the only resort. By being a fast-fix to bodily woes, a user may no longer want to modify their diets and follow a physically-active lifestyle. Prolonged use can also lead to unhealthy compression of internal organs. Use for long periods may also cause the growth of bacteria on the skin when it is not cleaned regularly.

The use of shapewear should follow common sense, as these garments are not intended for use 24/7. It is best to take them off especially at night or when the occasion calling its use is over. It is also advisable make sure they are aired and cleaned regularly as sweat and bacteria can easily accumulate.

Shapewear Buying Tips


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