The Best Shapewear and Seamless Underwear, According to Star Stylists

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Shapewear, by design, isn’t generally supposed to be noticed. A modern, more versatile descendant of the old-fashioned girdle, the undergarment is meant to sculpt and smooth your curves, creating a seamless silhouette and preventing unwanted lumps and bulges. But as the category has skyrocketed in recent years, with a bevy of brands helping both celebrities and regular people cut their most flattering figure, well, people are noticing. A lot. And they’re scrutinizing, especially on social media, sometimes in ways celebrities might not love.

Red carpets have become open season for online critics to point out when a celebrity’s shapewear, or the sheer dress revealing it, is less than ideal.

Related: The Best Last-Minute Fashion Fixes, According to Hollywood Stylists

Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian attend the 2022 Met Gala on May 2, 2022.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

In 2022, Kourtney Kardashian, standing alongside husband Travis Barker at the Met Gala, came under fire for an odd multilayered outfit that one Redditor described as looking “like the skirt fell down to expose her shapewear. So unfortunate.”

FM station WJBR’s worst-dressed list from last year’s fundraiser called out Kim Kardashian, owner of the popular Skims shapewear line, for an “incomplete” getup that was little more than “shapewear covered by pearls.” And failure to secure the right shapewear for the job can result in unintended slips, like Heidi Klum’s partially visible nipple at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

On the other hand, the ascendant rapper Ice Spice has mostly wowed in recent revealing fits, like a sheer mesh turtleneck with matching sheer leggings from Marine Serre at a Super Bowl party, decorated with the French brand’s signature moon print pattern, that put her shapely black undergarments front and center. The underwear became the point.

Ice Spice attends Michael Rubin’s Fanatics Super Bowl party on Feb. 10, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

“Shapewear is the technical part of styling, the small details that can make or break a look,” says celebrity stylist Marissa Pelly, who has worked with Ice Spice. “As a stylist I might think, ‘Wow I love this look, but I wish they wore a different bra or more seamless panty.’ But I also know the constant scrutiny women are under, and shapewear is about confidence. Whatever makes someone feel confident is really no one else’s business.”

With that said, the pros know the secrets to nailing your shapewear choice in any given situation that others don’t. We talked to celebrity stylists to get the top tips and recommendations for the best shapewear that will make you shine, even if you’re simply attending a work party.

Certain brands are trusted for a reason.

These stylists endorse shapewear brands you’ve almost definitely heard about, and others you probably haven’t.

“My favorite is Commando,” Pelly says. “Their products are so thin and comfortable and perfectly smoothing under everything. I also love Skims for their high-quality fabrics and wide range of options. Both of these brands are owned by women, which is important to me. I know my clients are getting a quality product designed by someone who knows exactly what they need to look elevated and chic, especially under nude or sheer looks.”

Leonisa Undetectable Step-in Mid-Thigh Body Shaper

“I am obsessed with Leonisa,” Freeman says. The Colombian brand “has seamless shapewear styles in several compression levels.” But Skims is Freeman’s favorite “when it comes to offering an array of shades.” For underwear poking through a nude dress, he likes Hollywood Fashion Secrets’ Skip The Line Adhesive Thongs, designed to protect your private parts without pesky lines.

Roser rotates among “pretty much all” of the brands for different purposes. “But to name a few: Spanx, Commando and Skims. We probably use the Commando seamless thong or their full-bottom, high-rise, and mid-rise panty the most for underwear.”

Hollywood Fashion Secrets Reusable Skip the Line Adhesive Thong

Commando Classic Solid Thong

Commando Seamless Thong

It’s not necessarily about tightening.

One major misconception about shapewear is that, like a corset, it’s “only for slimming someone or snatching a waist,” Pelly notes. “That’s why I love that Kim [Kardashian] calls it ‘solutionwear.’ It’s more of a tool. Stylists really love shapewear, especially for red carpets, because of its smoothing and sculpting effect underneath the garment. This allows for certain fabrics and embellishments to lay perfectly on the body.”

Tighter is not always better in this mission. “A smaller panty might feel like it’s snatching your waist up, but it won’t resonate the same as the size needed,” Pelly adds.

Stylist Krista Roser, who has dressed musicians including Florida Georgia Line, Tenille Arts, Brooke Eden and Priscilla Block, agrees. “The main mistake people make is getting shapewear that is too tight on them. It needs to work with you, not against you. You don’t want it to cut into places that show in your garment or roll or move when you sit and stand.”

Different products exist for different situations.

In the growing, cluttered compression wear and shapewear market, it can be tempting to cling to one brand you trust. But you should always shop around. “I would recommend getting a few different brands in the same designs to try on with your look beforehand,” Roser says. “Not every brand’s design will work for all needs. Each specializes in different things.” For instance, Commando is known for the seamlessness of its shapewear, meaning few or no seams and stitching, creating a streamlined look, while other brands emphasize belly tucking or offer a wide variety of size or color options.

Commando Featherlight Control Brief

Test under harsh conditions.

Even if you’re not gala-hopping, you might come under the bright glare of high-flash photography. Add in thin or sheer fabrics and you might show more than you want. “My biggest rule of thumb when it comes to dressing my female clients is that a nude or seamless pantyhose is a wardrobe malfunction’s best friend,” says Mickey Freeman, who has styled the likes of Keke Palmer, Brandee Evans and Shannon Thornton.

“If you are going to a wedding or special event where photos will be taken, take into consideration the flash effect,” Pelly advises. Pull out your camera in addition to your mirror, and try out “different lighting to make sure it will look great in person and in photos,” Roser adds.

Decide what effect you want, invisible or obvious, and match accordingly.

The right shapewear always has to coordinate with the overall aesthetic. “My approach is always, if I want the shapewear to be there for support, make it as hidden and invisible as possible,” Pelly says. In that case, match the color to your skin tone to ensure “the shade is just right.”

But nude, sheer or mermaid dresses, which are reemerging as an unapologetically exposing trend, are another matter. In that case, “I think a conversation needs to be had because then the underpinnings become a major factor and not just an element of support.” When those normally hidden bits are a “clear, visible element, be a little more thoughtful.” 

Flesh-toned may be the way to go, or you may want to go bolder. “For example, [try] black under a black sheer dress, rather than nude. It’s going to be seen, so make it intentional. You can even play with luxury bras and panties or something more elevated. I had a client wear a totally sheer black dress on the red carpet — rather than opt for traditional black shapewear, we used a slimming black silk panty and black silk bra to round out the look.”

Use all of your shapewear, or even layer several types.

Stylists encourage clients to experiment with the wide variety of shapewear. “Sometimes you have to use multiple ones to work on different areas,” Roser says. And pay attention to the details: “Many people don’t use the straps that come with the undergarment to attach to your bra. Those are amazing to use to keep it from rolling down when you sit down and make it stay in place.”

At the end of the day, comfort and confidence are key.

Executing any style is as much about the outfit as how you wear it. That includes what’s under it. “Quality shapewear is thin, seamless and most importantly comfortable. If my clients aren’t comfortable, the look isn’t as strong for me,” Pelly says. “Confidence is incredibly important to every look.”

Or as Roser puts it: “I think if a person feels confident in what they are in, it’s never ‘wrong.’”


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