Is It Better to Size Up or Size Down in Shapewear? (With Pictures) may earn a small commission when you use one of the links on this page to purchase.

Is It Better to Size Up or Size Down in Shapewear

One of the biggest challenges with shapewear is finding something that flatters your curves in all the right ways. Shapewear that doesn’t fit well can create extra rolls, slide down, and look sloppy instead of giving you that polished look you’re going for.

The problem, of course, is when you are in-between sizes and don’t have a choice but to go up a size or down a size. This happens a LOT because people’s bodies are all shaped differently. (And there’s nothing wrong with that!)

With that in mind, is it better to size up or size down in shapewear?

It’s best to size up in shapewear rather than sizing down. Even though you’d think you would go smaller, tight clothing creates creases and lumps that make you look fatter. Plus, shapewear lasts a long time if you aren’t wearing it every day and sizing up gives you wiggle for belly bloat or winter weight. 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at when you should size up in shapewear and if you should ever size down. I’ll also provide a few pictures that better explain some of the problems with sizing down in your shapewear.

Is It Better to Size Up or Size Down in Shapewear?

It’s best to size up in shapewear if you are between sizes. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should opt for a bigger size if the size you are in fits well. For people who don’t find themselves on the size chart, however, it’s better to go with the bigger of the sizes you are in between.

You see, with shapewear, you will want to know your measurements before buying. Since it is meant to “hold everything together“, shapewear often looks a lot smaller than it actually is. Instead of shopping for what you think you want, choose the size you are in clothing and opt for using a sizing chart when it’s available.

For example, let’s take a look at Lizzo’s shapewear brand Yitty. I’ve seen more than a few advertisements for this as a big girl on social media and a few people expressed concerns with the shapewear fitting because of its smaller appearance- but check out this video.


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This is a great example of how shapewear is supposed to be tight. That fabric does stretch to accommodate your body, but it should never dig in or be uncomfortable to wear. We’ll take a closer look at that in a minute.

What Are Some Problems With Sizing Up in Shapewear?

If your shapewear doesn’t fit well, then there’s a good chance that sizing up is what you need to do and it won’t cause problems. If you buy shapewear that is too big when you don’t need it, however, it’s not really going to have that same smoothing effect that you are looking for.

At first glance, you might want to size up because shapewear does look small- but that’s completely normal as you saw in the video above. You see, the average shapewear is made from strong, supportive materials like nylon, lycra, and spandex that are meant to hold everything together, but these same materials also offer a good bit of stretch.

With all that being said, keep in mind that all shapewear brands have different sizes and there may be a little trial-and-error when it comes to that perfect fit. For example, this photo shows how shapewear can fit around the waist but then be too tight in other areas like the thighs.

What Are Some Problems With Sizing Down in Shapewear?

If you size down in shapewear, the biggest problem I’ve found is that the edges of the shapewear tend to dig into your skin. For example, in this picture, you can see where it’s digging into the thigh.

When your shapewear digs into your skin anywhere, it can create bulges like these that actually make you look fatter because it creates rolls where there weren’t any before.

There’s also a greater risk of your shapewear rolling when it’s too small for your body. This rolling makes your shapewear extra uncomfortable, which nobody wants. It also means that you’ll be more focused on adjusting your outfit than whatever event is going on at the time.

How Tight Should My Shapewear Be?

As I was mentioning earlier, your shapewear should be tight, but it should never dig into your skin or make you uncomfortable. It’s okay for it to smooth or even compress you some- that’s exactly what it’s made for. When it compresses so much that it digs in and gives you extra thigh rolls or back fat at the top of your dress, you know it’s a problem.

The top of this shapewear is a good example of how your shapewear should fit your body. It’s tight, but not so tight that my friend in the video can’t get her fingers under the waistband and comfortably move around at the top.

How Do I Know if My Shapewear Is Too Big?

If your shapewear is too big, then it’s not going to give you the smooth, shapely look that you are going for. Your shapewear may also fall down, which is different from rolling like it does when it’s too small. In either case, however, shapewear that moves around on your body is a good indicator that you don’t have the size you need.

How Do I Know if My Shapewear Is Too Small?

You’ll know your shapewear is too small if it is rolling when you move around. Just like underwear rolling down when they are too small, your shapewear will do this, too. Check out this video to see what this rolling looks like in action.

Extra bulges of fat where you didn’t have them before are another good indicator that your shapewear is too small. Shapewear can help you hide back fat in tight clothes, but shapewear can also make you look fatter if it doesn’t fit properly.

Final Word

So, when you’re in-between sizes, should you size up or size down in shapewear? The best option is to size up if you are between sizes, though you should opt for shapewear that is your size even if it looks like it’s going to be a little small.

Shapewear is made from strong, supportive material that helps hold everything in place. When it’s too tight, however, it creates unflattering bulges that make you look fatter than you are. Shapewear that’s too loose, on the other hand, is going to slide around and not offer the support you need.

Hopefully, this article helps you get that smooth, gorgeous shape that you’re looking for!

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