From how to wear them to what size to buy, here's everything you need to know about this celeb-loved shapewear brand.

By Julia Guerra
Updated Aug 14, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement
Credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

What do Oprah, Jennifer Garner, Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lopez, and millions of others all have in common? They're all fans of wearing Spanx.

Even if you don’t own a pair, you’ve definitely heard the name of this shapewear powerhouse from your friends, relatives, or favorite celebrity. What started as an act of necessity involving a pair of scissors and pantyhose (more on that later) has flourished into a brand of smoothing and sculpting garments women (and men) of all shapes and sizes swear by — and not just for formal events. For some, Spanx are an everyday staple.

While shapewear may have once had a negative connotation, now women are outing their love for contouring undergarments, with Spanx being a favorite for creating a seamless base and helping clothes fit better. Ahead, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the brand and the products, just in case you’re not caught up.

What Is Spanx?

Spanx is a brand of shapewear. The brand’s first product was footless, body-shaping pantyhose. Now, the company has expanded its offerings from smoothing pantyhose to bodysuits and waist-cinchers, activewear, undergarments, leggings, and everything in between.

Who Invented Spanx?

Sara Blakely invented the first Spanx product one fateful night in 1998 when she was trying to find the right pair of undergarments that would make her look smooth under a pair of white pants. When nothing worked, she took a pair of scissors and cut the feet off her control-top pantyhose. Thus, Spanx was born.

Do Spanx Hide Cellulite?

The purpose of Spanx is to smooth out any bumps, ensuring your clothes fit just right and creating a flawless finish. That being said, there are three levels of compression to choose from based on your needs. Level 1 is smoothing; these are foundational, base-layer pieces that act as a second skin to smooth out any imperfections. Level 2 is shaping; these pieces offer extra compression and are a little extra firming than your standard shapewear. Level 3 is sculpting; for a total transformation, this level of maximum compression provides lifting and optimal slimming.

How Do I Find My Spanx Size?

Finding your perfect fit is directly related to measurements (waist, hip, bust, etc.), so your best bet is going with sizes you normally take in clothing —  not going smaller, which will likely create discomfort. For leggings and tights, you'll also want to take your height into account. Once you know your exact measurements, you can quickly compare them to a chart on the Spanx site to determine which size is best.

Do Spanx Come In Plus Sizes?

Yes. Spanx's mission is to help women of all shapes and sizes feel their best in their clothes. Sizes range from XS to 3X.

Can You Wear Spanx While Pregnant?

Spanx actually makes a few pieces specifically for pregnant women, such as the Mama Mid-Thigh Shaping Sheers ($28; nordstrom.com), which provide "under-belly and lower back support."

Do They Make Spanx For Men?

Spanx introduced its first line of menswear in 2010. What started as a collection of compression undershirts has since expanded to include underwear and socks.

What Color Spanx Should I Buy?

It all depends on what you plan to wear your shapewear with. Should your wardrobe consist of more lighter colors, you might want to go with a pair of Spanx similar to your skintone, and, thankfully, the brand offers a variety of nude shades. There are also other neutral options, such as white and black, and Spanx even sells printed underwear, which will work under darker pieces.

When Should You Wear Spanx?

With such an extensive wardrobe of pieces, Spanx can be worn to formal events, the office, brunch, at the gym, in the studio — basically wherever, whenever you want! How you wear your Spanx is completely up to you, but please don’t feel like you need to wear shapewear to look your best. If wearing a smoothing undergarment makes you feel amazing and confident, great! If not, also great! Do you.

Should You Wear Underwear Underneath Your Spanx?

Spanx has a whole line of panties, and in that case, it is underwear. However, if you're debating on whether on not to wear something underneath Spanx's Shaper Shorts ($78; nordstrom.com), we say skip it. The whole point of shapewear is to create a seamless line underneath your clothes. Excess fabric will lead to excess bulk.

Are Spanx Sweaty?

There is a certain amount of sweat associated with shapewear, for sure. However, Spanx prides itself on using lightweight and breathable material, and continues to come up with new technology to combat this very issue. The brand also has a full line of activewear, made of sweat-wicking fabric that's perfect for working out.

How Should I Wash My Spanx?

According to the Spanx site, items such as shapewear, swimwear, and tights should be hand washed in cold water, then laid flat to dry. All other apparel and activewear can be machine washed on cold, then either air-dried or tumble dried on low. When in doubt, take look at the instructions on the label to ensure you're properly caring for that specific item.