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When you think of shapewear today, what do you think of? Do you think of something that shapes your body? Do you think of something that is hard to breathe in and uncomfortable? Do you think of something that is painful to wear? Shapewear has evolved so much since the early years that it is now used by so many women today to empower themselves. 


Shapewear has existed to be used by women as early as in the 16th century. Defined as a tool to sculpt and shape the body, shapewear has established its purpose – To Provide A Shapely Figure and Smaller Silhouette. The corset is said to be the first designed shapewear meant to be a staple in women’s wardrobe. Corsetry was created to depict the desirable shape of a woman. The goal was to emphasize a small waist, and a full bust and hips. However, it was often stiff and uncomfortable as strong boning was used in the garment to mould the shape of a lady’s body. Materials such as animal and metal boning were present in the shapewear to withstand and hold the shape in place. Can you imagine being in a corset-like this for many hours?! With corsets popularising in the 16th to 19th centuries, many suffered from permanent body damage as it was just not natural for how each individual’s body is moulded to. 


In the early 1930s, as fashion has evolved, so has shapewear. Girdles became the next trend hit in the market. Made with stretchy fabric, meant to smoothen silhouettes, it became a common replacement for corsets. In contrast to a corset, a girdle usually does not come with boning in the garment and often extends below till the hips. Constructed with stretchy fabric and sometimes fastened with hook and eye closures, it was designed to enhance a woman’s figure. 


Coming into the 20th century, new technologies and fabrics have changed and revolutionised the fashion market. New materials such as Lycra, Spandex, Elastane and more have been developed as suitable materials used in shapewear today. Even as shapewear stays true to its primary goal – To Provide A Shapely Figure and Smaller Silhouette, it is essential to look for shapewear that is comfortable, breathable on skin and provide a shapely you. Now, the real question is, what kind of shapewear would be the best for you?