flattering week

The Better-Than-Spanx Shapewear You Can Still Breathe In

Not much to look at, but they give shape without discomfort.

It all started with a simple pair of pants. We posted about this suspiciously flattering pair a little while back and the response was so enthusiastic, it got us thinking: Why not sniff out the most flattering things across a bevy of categories, from the most skin-enhancing light bulb to the brightening eye drops to the shapewear designed for all sizes? Welcome to Flattering Week on the Strategist.

If you’ve ever worn Spanx, you know that the nylon and spandex compression undergarments can squish your guts and/or reshape your body into practically unnatural proportions. As someone whose job it is to know about shaping undergarments (I’m a Hollywood costume designer), I was convinced there had to be a better way.

One day, as I was perusing one of the many blogs I read, I discovered the undergarments known as Undersummers — stretchy, nonbinding underwear that creates a comfortable, slinky fabric barrier for your lower half. Much like traditional shapewear, the Undersummers banish panty lines and create a smooth, unbroken silhouette beneath clothes. Unlike shapewear, it won’t contort your lumps into uncomfortable shapes (and create that dreaded spillover where the shapewear ends). Where Spanx aims to banish bumps with the fabric equivalent of a steel vise, Undersummers gently work with your body’s shape. They’re like a turned-up version of granny panties–slash–boy shorts (note the high tummy) that slim, rather than choke, in all the right places.

The V-cut waist works well on pear-shaped hips (or anyone who has any sort of belly, really, as it runs from a size small to a four extra-large), and it keeps the shorts in place without the use of tight, uncomfortably binding elastic. Even better, they’ve done away with the usual seam that runs along the inside of the thigh — instead cleverly placing it down the front of the leg to further avoid chafing.

Speaking of chafing, that’s another added benefit as the weather warms up. Undersummers are the perfect answer to thighs that touch (body-positive bloggers call it a savior for the irritation known as “chub rub”), which — let’s be honest — afflict basically all of us who aren’t genetic mutants. For years, the not-so-great solution to thigh chafing has been to slather your legs with diaper-rash cream, but Undersummers create a silky layer that eliminates the problem without the gloopy mess.

Undersummers Lace Shortlette

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The Better-Than-Spanx Shapewear You Can Still Breathe In