If you have a formal occasion such as a
wedding or party to attend in the future, figuring out what to wear underneath your dresses should be the least of your worries. But if you’re the type of person who prefers to have a little extra support for those occasions, know that there’s a type of shapewear designed for every style of dress. To find out, we asked fashion stylist Alyssa Sutter, who has dressed multitudes of celebrity clients (including Lucy Hale), for her go-to undergarments for any style of dress she’s working with. See what she recommends below.
“An A-line or fit-and-flare dress is actually very flattering,” Sutter says. “This silhouette would require minimal shapewear. Depending on your shape or size, you can try classic high-waisted shorts, briefs, or a waist cincher.”
Perfect to wear underneath a dark color. “Absolutely the most comfortable control brief! Never rolled or kept me feeling squished, soft with just enough support!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
You’ll feel supported in these. “This product has worked for me over the years. I have continued to buy this for support. It’s comfortable. It’s made well, and it shapes very well. It’s very comfortable and easy to wear. I will continue to be a loyal customer. Thank you so much. I would not try anything else. I am very satisfied.” — Macy’s Reviewer
The cotton makes these the coziest shapewear to add to your collection. “I’m so happy with my purchase. These really are such nice fitting bottoms. They’re comfortable, and [it] almost feels like you’re not wearing anything.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
Mothers-to-be, these will be your go-to shapewear shorts. “The perfect smooth layer I was looking for under dresses to help eliminate thigh chafing in the summer!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
If you’re wearing something shorter, these briefs will be perfect. “Surprising support! It is a challenge to find moderate support shapewear in my size that doesn’t cut off circulation. This brief is just right!” — Boomingdale’s Reviewer
You’ll turn to this shapewear time and again. “Finally! A product that actually stays put and doesn’t roll down. Truly, this is the best high-wasted brief out there!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
“[For a body-con dress], I would recommend a full slip or bodysuit with a built-in bra,” Sutter says. “This is the best way to ensure no lines or creases will be shown. … Another option would be a thin control-top thong if you just want to slim the tummy a bit.”
You’ll have a smooth look all night long with this. “I’m a size 16, and [an] XL fits perfectly. Upon first look, I laughed and thought there was no way I could get into it! Perfectly smooth. Be sure to wear your bra under it, not over. And don’t wear panties! I have other Spanx that don’t have shoulder straps all the way up, but they don’t eliminate the bra bulge. This is the style to get!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
These come in nine great colors to ensure a match. “It fits perfectly, does not stretch or shrink after washing, is invisible, and it’s so comfortable.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
Give yourself all the support you need in this bodysuit with a built-in bra. “This shaper is very comfortable. It’s more of an everyday one that smooths you out for a less ‘lumpy’ look. I wore it all day yesterday, and it gave my dress a more polished and sleek look. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a shaper you can actually breathe and eat in.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
If you don’t want to wear a bodysuit, this will give some tummy control without leaving a panty line.
This bodysuit is a fan favorite among our editors. “Amazing. It is worth every cent. Very soft, and it shapes the body well. A little long. I bought a size Small, and I was afraid, but I could get in and fit perfectly.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
Who said shapewear can’t be sultry?
“Shapewear with extended pantyhose or a catsuit is perfect for under a maxi dress,” Sutter says. “This is the best way to keep your figure looking smooth from top to bottom.”
These will be practically invisible underneath your dress.
Not only will these leggings support your legs, but they will also give you a boost in the behind. “Just perfect. The fabric and the tension it gives, just perfect.” — Macy’s Reviewer
You’ll have seamless coverage from head to toe. “Finally, comfortable hose! They’re beautifully sheer and look great, but the best part is no binding at the waist. Buy these hose!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
For maxi dresses with high slits, this slip dress will work perfectly underneath. “Great fabric, lays smooth works with dresses and skirts. Worth every penny!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
You’ll feel fabulous in these. “These are probably the strongest pantyhose I’ve ever worn, which is great since they’re not cheap. And once they’re on, they’re very comfortable. But at six months pregnant, they’re not easy to pull on since they’re so tight! Quite a bit of huffing and puffing goes on. I should also note they’re not particularly long. I’m 5’7″ and feel like I could use an extra little bit of length.” — Shopbop Reviewer
“There are great undergarments specifically for plunging necklines and low backs,” Sutter says. “Plunging slips and convertible bras will keep you covered for the trickiest necklines. Adhesive bras can be worn with open-back and plunging necklines.”
Even the lowest necklines will be no match for this Spanx bodysuit. “When I saw this, I wanted it immediately but was having a hard time swallowing the cost. I ended up getting it in the nude in small to wear underneath dresses, and I don’t regret it for one minute! It’s very comfy to wear and washes well (hand wash). Love that there’s a bra built in and it has a plunging neckline, so you can practically wear it underneath everything.” — Shopbop Reviewer
Adjust the straps on these to accommodate any type of neckline you have.
This bodysuit by Skims will do the trick. “I purchased this bodysuit in Oxide and immediately bought it in Onyx after trying it on. It’s a very stretchy fabric, and the neckline is beautiful. A great layering piece too! I will say that I wonder how much support bigger-chested girls will feel wearing this without a bra, but I am a 36C and feel very confident wearing both colors without a bra. The snap bottom is super helpful, too!” — Nordstrom Reviewer
This will definitely stay in place.
Wear this with all your plunging dresses when you need a seamless finish.
This one has rave reviews on Nordstrom’s website.
“[A slip skirt] is a great shapewear item if you are wearing anything semi-sheer,” Sutter says.
This lace is so pretty. “Love this Babydoll! It’s quality material and beautiful. Very happy with this purchase!” — Intimissimi Reviewer
Planning to wear something semi-sheer? You can’t go wrong with this slip skirt. “This provides a sleek look when wearing a clingy dress or skirt. Hard to find in stores recently, but Target has them! I wear a size S or 6, but the M fits perfectly.” — Target Reviewer
A wardrobe essential. “This is so nice, not too snug. Quality material and perfect to sleep in on a warm evening. I love the comfort, [and it] washes nice. I wear a small, this easily fit, perfect even though it was a bit big, alright that it wasn’t snug, more comfortable fit, not having to pull it down, as some slips tend to hike, upward.” — Intimissimi Reviewer
So sleek. “This skirt is very helpful for transparent skirts! [I] like it [so] much!” — Shopbop Reviewer
This will be sure to create a smooth line under the skirt of your dress. “Usually, I buy these kinds of shapewear and end up pulling at them to keep them in place. This has a built-in short, so it doesn’t roll up. It’s very comfortable and disappears under clothing. Would recommend.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
This is actually cute enough to wear on its own.
“If you’re wearing a strapless dress, I’d suggest a strapless slip or bodysuit,” Sutter says. “You can find many options with different necklines to mimic the neckline of your dress.”
This bodysuit will stay in place. “I ordered this undergarment for two evening gowns and a dressy dress for an upcoming cruise. Though a challenge to initially put on, I found it surprisingly comfortable once it was in place, and it provided good bust support (I’m top-heavy). I’m really pleased with this. It looks great under my beautiful dresses. It’s smooth, supportive, and gets the job done. I definitely recommend this support garment” — Nordstrom Reviewer
This might be one of the most comfortable pieces of shapewear ever. “I was wary of the cost since so much more $ than other brands. At this point, I had tried on about six others and ordered this one-piece Spanx as a last resort. It fit like a glove. Yes, a little wiggling was required to get it on, but once I tried my evening dress over it—magic! All bumps were smooth and no underarm bulge like I got with the ones that you wear up to bra line.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
Wearing that strapless tube dress just got easier.
Trust me when I say this slip is a game changer. “Great for under a strapless gown and very comfortable.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
With four stars on Amazon, it’s safe to say this is a good buy. “I’m 5’8, thick around and busty, so I have a hard time finding a strapless bra that looks good and holds up the girls securely. I’m a 40C/D. The first one I ordered was too big (a 42D). A lot of reviews said to order a band and cup size larger, but for big-breasted women who need the support- order your normal size! After returning the other one, I ordered the 38C. This time it was a great fit and surprisingly comfortable. It creates very smooth lines and supports the girls without making them any bigger (there’s no padding, in case you’re looking for a push-up factor).” — Amazon Reviewer
When in doubt, shaping briefs always work. “This is a great everyday shapewear piece that is perfect for these warmer months. I wear shapewear almost every day, and this high-waisted panty goes great under jeans, dresses, and leggings. It’s light and still gives plenty of shaping.” — Nordstrom Reviewer
This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.