"I literally haven’t worn lingerie in so long because I’m just always in shapewear — I definitely wanted my line to be as sexy and cool-looking as it could possibly be," KKW tells InStyle ahead of her big launch.
Kim Kardashian West
Credit: Instagram/kimkardashian

Kim Kardashian West’s long-awaited shapewear collection drops today, and if you’ve been keeping up, then you already know it’s been a long road to the launch.

The line of solutionwear, which features a range of size-inclusive shapewear and undergarments, was originally set to launch in July under the name, Kimono, but after fans took to social media to call out the name for being culturally insensitive, Kardashian West put everything on hold so she could regroup and rebrand.

Turns out it wasn’t all that simple. At the time over 2 million garments had already been created with the Kimono label (the graphic was designed by none other than the star’s husband, Kanye West), which meant that every single piece in the collection had to be repackaged and relabeled, as she shared in a “progress report” on Twitter in July.

In August, Kardashian West announced the brand’s new name, SKIMS Solutionwear, telling her 147 million Instagram followers that she had heard everything they were saying. “My fans and followers are a huge inspiration to me – I’m always listening to their feedback and opinions, and am so grateful they shared their ideas for a new brand name," she posted. Of the new name, SKIMS, she added: "I love the idea that the pieces will be the closest thing to someone's skin, skimming with amazingly soft and supportive fabrics which accentuate the best parts of our bodies.”

Since then Kardashian has enlisted everyone from sisters Kourtney and Kendall, to Alice Marie Johnson (a previously incarcerated woman whom Kardashian West helped to free from prison), to give her new shapewear a spin. And while it definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing for the brand up until this point (we’ll no doubt see the drama play out this season on Keeping Up With The Kardashians), there is still one big question that remains: Does the collection actually live up to all of the hype?

The answer, in short, is yes.

At a press preview earlier this summer, Kardashian West gave a select group of editors three pieces from the line to try before the launch: the sculpting short, sculpting brief, and sculpting bra. And in the month or so that I’ve been wearing the pieces, they’ve already replaced my longstanding Spanx obsession.

The secret sauce is the fabric, which is soft, super light, and completely seamless, going undetectable under everything from a minidress to a jumpsuit. The compression shorts somehow manage to be smoothing without suffocating. And the price is on point too ($18 to $98), as is the fit that ranges from XXS to 5X in shapewear, with 28 cup sizes for bras, and nine different shades to choose from.

Kardashian West, who let’s not forget got her start as a stylist for the likes of Paris Hilton, says she has been dreaming up the idea for the collection for the last 15 years, after spending hours cutting up shapewear that continually failed to meet the needs of all those bodycon dresses in her closet. So with this in mind, InStyle sat down with the reality star in NYC to pick her brain on all things undergarments, including her biggest shapewear regret and which of her famous sisters helped inspire her new collection. Read on for the full chat below.

My first thought when I saw the campaign images was: Only Kim Kardashian West could make something as functional as shapewear look sexy.

Ha! Well, shapewear is just my reality. I literally haven’t worn lingerie in so long because I’m just always in shapewear, especially when I was having babies and trying to lose weight. But yes, I definitely wanted my line to be as sexy and cool-looking as it could possibly be.

You’ve launched makeup, apps, books, clothing lines — why was shapewear the thing you wanted to tackle next?

I’ve worn it as long as I can remember. I have cellulite and I always want that support to be able to wear something that will smooth everything out. And I’ve always been reinventing it. Every time I’d travel, I’d bring my shapewear and then I’d also bring scissors because I never knew if I was going to have to cut it up to work with my outfit. If I wore a dress with a slit on one side, I would always have to cut it. So really, this line had been over a decade in the making. I partnered with my team a little over a year ago, and so we’ve just been developing everything to make sure it’s exactly what I wanted it to be.

How are SKIMS different from other shapewear lines that you’ve worn?

There are three tensions in the line, so there’s something for everyone, even if you’re just getting into shapewear and are looking for something to smooth, but not fully suck you in. We have great body suits, which I love, and have been wearing as tank tops under my suits and pretty much everything lately. Also, having a wide range of different color tones was really important to me. With other brands that I’ve seen, there were maybe two colors: a light nude and a dark nude. We wanted to have a really good range, so that everyone would be able to find something that would blend better under their clothes. I also think the key is for shapewear to truly be seamless. I used to hate when I would put on something and it would have a seam right up the front, so you could see it if I wore something tight. The whole point is you really don’t ever want to see it, so we made sure that the bottoms of the shorts are a little bit looser, so you don’t get that indentation in your leg. That is killer.

The line also has an extended size range that goes from XXS to 5X. Why was that important to you?

Because so many other brands don’t do it. We have size XXS because there are so many people that are small that have cellulite too, and just want to smooth or enhance. And then we go up to a 5X in some styles too. I’ve seen every single size try on the pieces in our fittings, and when everyone loved it and felt so confident, it just makes me so happy.

How did you make sure that the shapewear would smooth without flattening curves?

Oh, we don’t have anything that flattens the butt, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then you might have to go somewhere else. [laughs] In the back of our designs, we have “butt pockets” which means the material in the back is thinner in some parts, just to kind of lift the butt and make it a really cute, little plump shape.

Which of your sisters gave you the best feedback when they tried the collection?

Kylie [Jenner] was actually a huge inspiration for the one-legged short. I had been cutting my shapewear for years so that you couldn’t see it when I wore something with a slit up the side. And then Kylie and I were in a fitting and I saw that she had also cut hers like that. And I was like, “Wait a minute! If more than one person does this, then I bet a lot of other people do too.” So Kylie gave me some good tips on exactly how she likes her shorts to fit.

Which piece are you most proud of?

I would say the one-legged short or the full body suit that’s made out of mesh. I love it—I’ve been wearing it under gowns. You don’t even have to line your dresses. When I got all my samples, I literally threw out every other kind of shapewear I had. That was the best feeling in the world.

What was your biggest shapewear regret over the years?

Oh my god, so many regrets. There was one time last year I was wearing this little pink Versace dress, and I thought I looked so cute, but when I looked at the pictures, my shapewear was coming out from underneath. I’ve never been able to do a booty short in shapewear because they didn’t have the same tension as the longer shorts.

When was the first time you remember feeling truly body confident?

Honestly, I feel like my husband has given me this boost of confidence and helped me to be so much more comfortable in my own skin. I also feel more confident since I started working out a lot more. I know that I was tighter skin-wise before I had babies, but I feel like I’m at my most fit right now.

What’s the secret to staying fit for you these days?

Weight lifting is definitely the key. Way more than cardio, I’d say.

Did you ask Kanye’s opinion at all on the line?

Oh absolutely. We talk about everything. He actually drew the logo. He was sitting there, and we were just talking, and he just drew it out, and I was like, “Ok, that looks amazing.”

On top of being a mom of four and an entrepreneur, you’re also studying to become a lawyer. What’s an average day like for you right now?

Fingers crossed, I’ll be a lawyer one day. [laughs] I micromanage everything, so my days are pretty well planned. My workouts are really important for me mentally, so I work out from 6 to 7 every day. When the kids are in school, I wake them up at 7:05. We have breakfast by 7:30 and we’re out the door by 7:45. And then I come home and I get ready to film Keeping Up With The Kardashians. At night after the kids go to bed, I spend probably like two hours doing my readings for law school. And on the weekends, I spend my Saturdays reading and going into the office.

So when do you have time to work on SKIMS?

Usually during the day. They follow me around to film when I’m doing all of this stuff for the collection. I just try to fit everything in! The other day, our flight got delayed, and I needed to do a two-hour fitting, so we got a conference room at LAX to do it. So yeah, we make it work [laughs]. When I finish law school, I will feel super accomplished though. And I know I will need a break. But you know, not a big break, I just want like a week’s vacation, with no kids, next to my friends. [laughs]

I have a feeling that you’ll be even busier once you get your degree.

Yeah, maybe I’ll want to start a law firm. But I gotta say, in the meantime, CBD is getting me through. [laughs] Just a vape pen or a gummy. I don’t smoke weed; I’m not that person. But for whatever reason, CBD keeps me going. I had a CBD baby shower because I was freaking out about having four kids, like what am I gonna do! But it’s been so Zen. It’s, like, how I survive.

SKIMS Solutionwear by Kim Kardashian West is available now at skims.com. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.