Make shapewear work for you

Style expert offers advice for buying, wearing


The fashion world has come up with all kinds of garments to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. You may remember the classic scene from "Gone With The Wind" when Scarlett O'Hare is laced up in a corset to give her the 18 inch waist she wanted to proudly display at the Twelve Oaks Barbecue.

Today's women may not go to such great lengths, but many are still searching for the right shapewear to help them slim down and shape up. However, many are skeptical.

"I was really worried about it being too thick, being cumbersome, being uncomfortable," said Gloria Salvio.

"You can't destroy matter. You can push it up. You can push it down, but it won't go away. It's like squeezing a tube of toothpaste," said Connie Ettinger.

Connie Ettinger is a comedienne who works the comedy clubs around Detroit. She wants to look good on stage, but has had some less-than-flattering experiences with shapewear.

She jokes about it in her act and she wondered, "If David Copperfield can make the Statue of Liberty disappear, why can't he get rid of my back fat?"

Style expert Jon Jordan does offer some shapewear guidelines that can help you avoid a fashion faux pas. He's helped Hollywood stars look their best, and he can help you too!

"Shapewear is really specific to a specific outfit," he offers as his first piece of advice. "If you are going to a special occasion for instance, your choice is going to dictate what kind of shapewear you are going to purchase."

Choosing that outfit is so critical because you need shapewear that matches the color and cut of your ensemble. You should also be sure to try on the shapewear and that outfit well in advance of the special occasion to make sure they work perfectly together.

When it comes to size he says, "Woman have bra sizes and underwear sizes as a frame of reference. Now, shapewear can be a little more specific that that, but that is a starting point."  Jordan says  most likely you are going to be the same size, but that's where a professional consultant comes in.

All three women in this story said they would have been lost without the professional guidance.

"I would have failed. I think I needed all the help that I could get to be honest with you," said Christina Srbinovski.

"You need to be fitted by a pro, either that or be prepared to spend a lot of money on trial and error," said Ettinger, who tried going it alone during her first experience with shapewear.

Many stores offer free professional consultations so be on the lookout for those opportunities to get some great advice.  Jordan says when you're trying on your shapewear, it's critical to avoid any unintended consequences.  That's a problem Ettinger had in the past.

"Unfortunately, there was a roll over effect. It turned my muffin top into a bundt cake," she said.

So what's the answer? 

"Hand held mirrors are your best friend," said Jordan. "Not only do you want to look in a full length mirror to see what you look like, take a handheld mirror and check out every angle, the side, the back, top bottom."

Besides picking the right shapewear, you also need to pick the right dress or the look can still be all wrong.

"In conjunction with your shapewear, choose a fabric that has a matte finish, choose a color that is darker as opposed to lighter. They all work in tandem," advised Jordan.

The women in this story all found that shapewear, done right, helps them get the looks they are looking to achieve.

"Before I almost felt naked, really, without it underneath there, and now it just feels like I am ready to roll," said Salvio.

"It smooths out my curves really, and make it feel like you don't see the panty lines, " said Christina Srbinovski.

And Ettinger, who was a skeptic, was so happy that she bought her shapewear on the spot.

"It makes me feel more confident. The girls are where they belong, and I feel great," she said.