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How to Choose and Use Shapewear

Building a Shapewear Wardrobe continued...

If you think that shapewear will flatten your behind, you could try a butt-boosting style. Some come with padding, some use panels that lift your rear, and others have cut-outs.

Camisole. "The number one spot women want to cover is their stomach," Joy says. If it looks like regular clothing, you can let it show. "A cami can also help smooth out muffin top (tuck it into your pants) and bra bulge on your back.

Panties. Shapewear panties can help eliminate panty lines and slim down your thighs, hips, rear, and even your stomach. If you're looking for sleeker thighs, you can choose a boy short cut -- just make sure that the leg bands don't cut into your skin. If you're not looking for help in the thigh region, a brief cut can create a more seamless look, says Joy. To tighten your abdomen, choose a high-waisted style with a panel that covers the stomach. You can look for rear-enhancing panties, too.

Slip. If you're going to wear a slip under a dress, why not choose one with a little extra smoothing power? "I use slips on the red carpet all the time," Banks-Coloma says. A good slip can eliminate bulges and panty lines under thin or sheer dresses. Bring your dress into the store with you. There are many options for necklines and straps, and you want one that won't poke out of the dress, Joy says. If you're wearing a skirt, you can choose a half slip that starts at the waist (and pair it with a camisole, if you like).

Mid-thigh shaper. These look like bicycle shorts that extend up to the waist (or higher) and can cinch your thighs, butt, hips, and abdomen. "If you have bulk on your thighs and not around your stomach you can get a short that comes up to the waist," Banks-Coloma says. "But if you have bulk all over, you should find one that comes up to just under the bust."

If you go too tight, the band on the top will roll over. "Be careful if you have a flat butt that the shaper doesn't make it look flatter," Joy says. If that's the case, look for a butt-boosting style.

Finally, always do a "sit" test with your outfit, Joy says, so your shapewear doesn't peek out from under your clothes.

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