Shapewear Glossary

The modeling of the female figure is a trending topic of aesthetic relevance in regards to grooming, physical appearance, and self-esteem. This is why manufacturers have contributed to designing a variety of pieces with unique technical specifications in terms of use, size, materials, and other couture details.

The following glossary aims to clarify the differentiation between apparel in order to simplify both their selection and purchase.

Terms & Definitions:

Bodysuit Also called shorthand body or body girdle, this female garment covers the torso and the panty area (crotch) by means of a single piece. The bodysuit is specially designed to add support and definition the stomach area and comes with a variety of accessories: hips and legs coverage, sleeves and shoulder straps. 

Bustier This form-fitting garment consists of a brassiere variation with no straps, aiming to push the bust up and model the waist. Although it is usually worn as a lingerie piece under formal dresses, it can also be used as outwear, if the weather is adequate.

Catsuit This full-coverage garment dresses the body from neck to ankles, often including the arms.  A zipper is frequently added in the front or back side to pull it open, as well as easy access in the crotch area and it is usually made of elastic materials such as lycra, spandex or latex.

Control Cami These camisoles are designed to cover the torso, smooth the back, and, sometimes, support and push the breast up with built-in brassier.

Control Slip Also referred to as corselet or corselette, it is a foundation shaper that sort of combines features of the brassieres and the girdles. It provides full coverage to torso, hips and, part of the legs (thighs) and has shoulder straps.

Corset The most popular form-fitting foundation garment is traditionally used to model the torso into a small waist with a broad bottom and bust. It contains a hard structure and adjusts to the body through eyelets and snaps, cords or laces on the front and/or back side. 

Footless Pantyhose The shaping footless tights are a foundation garment aimed to flatten the tummy area and provide a push-up derriere definition, rendering a smooth and flawless look under long dresses, clingy skirts and, pants. The difference between this and regular hosiery is the missing feet portion and its length to mid-calf. 

Girdle This foundation apparel substituted the corset in popularity over the 1960s, basically being an evolution form of a classic belt that tightens up the waist for support and modeling purposes. Sometimes they prolong to the hips and the upper part of the torso.

Leg/Thigh Shapers These sculpting garments are a replace for panties with a lightweight yet hard structure that aims for a flat tummy look, keeping the sitting and standing positions in check. In their latest versions, shapers are made up by front and side panels that go all the way from the waist to the thighs or mid-calf.

Longline Bra This is a bustier variation that provides extra support to the bust and sculpts the waist into a smaller diameter. The difference is that longline bras sometimes include straps and go all the way to the hips. They are designed in a wide range of styles, from casual to a bridal intimate garment.

Long Leg Brief A foundation garment that erases panty lines and provides a flat stomach look due to its strong built-in panels and a flexible waistband. This is another replacement for panties that can be worn under close-fitting dresses, pants or skirts due to its long legs coverage.

Thong Shaper A smaller version of a panty, this lingerie garment erases the bottom and adds a smooth finish to any slimming outwear such as short pants, dresses, and skirts. 

Waist Cincher This sort of belt is intended to sculpt the low part of the torso and it is also frequently called waspie because, upon using it, the waist looks so small that the silhouette ends up resembling that of a wasp or an hourglass. These shapers are made of lace, elastic fabric, and underwires that provide support.

Brassieres & Bust Terminology:

Breast The mammary glands that bloom from the upper part of the primate’s torso. In female human specimens, their shape, size, and skin circumstances are so varied, that there are millions of lingerie and modeling pieces’ designs to satisfy every unique body need.

Clear Straps A piece of transparent material used to hold and keep the breast in place in case of strapless or spaghetti-strapped tops or dresses.

Convertible A versatile piece of material used to support the bust in several presentations: crossed at the back, halter top (behind the neck), conventional style, strapless among others.

Demi Cup A cup with half of the breast coverage, usually 1 inch above the nipple. They focus on supporting the bust and show the upper part of it, their underwires are much shorter than in regular bras and they are used with pronounced cleavage top outwear.

Full Cup A cup with complete coverage of the bust, focusing both on support and zero exposure. Usually used in sports, this style of bra erases the marking lines in the middle of the breast.

Full Figure Bras Commonly referred to as DD cups, these cups are designed for women with large breast and provide a perfect mixture of comfort and support.

Halter The straps of this sleeveless top go behind the neck in a broad variety of fashions, always exposing the back, the shoulders and the arm.

Minimizer This top or brassiere garment is designed to make the bust look smaller, either raising and rearranging the breast mass or squeezing it to reduce its size to one cup or two.

Padded A cup is either filled by fiber or including inserts, which make the breast look larger and more sculpted.

Maternity Bra As breast grow larger at pregnancy, this intimate garment provides full support and extra comfort.

Molded A molded cup is seamless and is shaped like a natural breast, with thicker layers that produce a firm yet comfortable structure.

Nursing Bra Nursing brassieres have a special design that opens up to breastfeed the baby with no need to remove the garment. This is allowed by hooks and flaps that cover the cup area.

Plunge A lingerie garment has a pronounced cleavage so it can be used under revealing outwear such as nightdresses, low-cut blouses, and other special outfits. Along with exposure, it focuses on support of the bust.

Push-Up The cups in this bra are cushioned and shove the breast up and into the center line for greater showiness. The most popular push-up bra was the Wonderbra, it made the breast look larger and went for a full cleavage effect.

Racer Back The term concerns the design of the garment backside, with a central strap that splits in two straps that come to the front side and support the cups. This results in a Y or V figure in the center of the back.

Seamless Bra A lingerie piece hides any possible underwear lines or marks, aiming to look invisible under the outwear. Its cups are made of a seamless piece of fabric and are usually machine-molded for additional support and sculpting.

Sleep Bra This is a sheer brassiere with a designed focused on comfort rather than support, shaping or exposing, since is commonly used during bedtime. They have wireless cups, soft and cozy, to keep breast in place in case they are too large or saggy.

Soft Cup This brassiere has wireless cups although it can come either lined or padding free. They are much more comfortable than traditional bras and offer equal support and definition.

Sports Bra An underwear apparel mainly aimed to keep bust in place during physical training, due to its robust structure and often made of several layers of fabric. The goal of this bra is to avoid the motion of breast, making the exercise routine more comfortable and easy.

T-Shirt Bra This garment features seamless, molded cups, specially designed to go unnoticed under the outwear, erasing lines, mark, and lumps from a flawless finish.

Underwire A brassiere that includes a circular wire stiffener inserted into the fabric to offer extra support and modeling to the breast. They are used by women with smaller or saggy large breast.

Materials & Textiles

Anti-Allergic This fabric has hypoallergenic properties that keep skin from burning and rash.

Bio-Crystals Bio-crystal composite is a technology that merges nature and technology to create small particles inserted in shapers. These particles react to body temperature to enhance skin elasticity and decrease cellulite, offering active support and allowing the way to better life quality.

Cotton Cotton is a soft, fuzzy fiber of natural origin, comprised of cellulose, almost completely. When processed into clothes, it adds breathable and easy-to-wash properties to them.

Denier This is a measurement unit that helps determine the thickness of staple fibers for manufacturing fabrics and textiles, especially nylon, silk and rayon that become pantyhose. The material with the highest denier count is softer and the one with the higher denier count is finer.

Faux Leather Material that looks similar to leather, in a synthetic version.

Latex Fabric that comes from the rubber tree, used in the manufacture of garments requiring firmness.

Lycra Also called elastane, this soft synthetic fiber is popular for its elasticity, lightness, and durability.

Microfiber This fabric absorbs moisture and is also very elastic and soft, the reason why it is used to create undergarments that provide definition and sportswear.

Moisture Wicking Humidity absorbing material that helps to keep the user cool and dry, which makes it ideal for athletic wear.

Opaque The opposite of sheer and transparent, a material with this characteristic is no-seen-through since it will not allow light through it. The opaque fabric is then used to manufacture pants and leggings but not hosiery.

Polyester It is a natural fiber that forms threads or yarn to either woven or knit fabric that is popular for its highly stain-resistance and overall strength and elasticity. It is used for intimate apparel and other outwear garments from shirts to hats and jackets.

Rayon Fiber manufactured from regenerated cellulose fiber to look like silk, cotton, and wool. It is comfortable, heat resistant and moisture wicking, used for intimate apparel, mostly.

Satin Glossy fabric commonly used in lingerie, blouses, gowns due to its smoothness.

Spandex Resistant and of excellent stretchability, this material is the same as lycra. It is used for apparel that requires fit and comforts such as bra straps, leggings, tights, and miniskirts.

Briefs & Panties Terminology

Bikini A bottom garment that features two triangles of material covering the derriere and the crotch but exposing the belly button, it stands between a brief and a hipster in terms of coverage.

Boy Leg or Boy Cut A boy short panty offers more coverage than the bikini and erases seam lines under the clothes, going all the way to the hips in a man´s boxers fashion.

Brief Garment length similar to shorts but not going all the way to the thighs. It provides support for the tummy area and coverage because of the waistband attached to the fabric, running from the crotch and rear to the pelvis.

Couture Features Terminology

Embroidery A design craft that decorates fabric by sewing pearls, threads, quills, and sequins on them with a needle, following a previous design. 

Eyelet Also called grommet, this is a small intentional hole on the fabric, rounded and finished with stitching around the edge, which allows a button or strap passing through it.

Front Closure This refers to a front opening of the garment, making usage easier and comfortable. 

Hook & Eye Closure A quite simple way to fasten and close pieces of a garment together through small metal bent hooks inserted into grommets or loops.  They are used in dresses, bras, corsets and other apparel, commonly in a row along the back or front side.

Keyhole An intentional hole in the fabric designed to look like a teardrop. It commonly features close to the collar front line.

Lining The inner layer of material, such as fur, inserted and built-in into garments to provide strength as well as softness to the user.

Overbust A garment that provides coverage to the bust.

Plus Size Any garment aimed for a full-figure user with sizes larger than 12 (14 to 34).

Scallop A piece of fabric intended to ornament a garment with a continuous half-circles-design hem, adding a graceful and elegant touch to necklines, skirts, and sleeves as an extra flap.

Seamless Manufactured and designed clothes that show no seam lines, providing a smooth finish look.

Shirring Generic method to knit and sew material for ornamental purposes, into rows.

Underbust A garment or apparel piece designed to support the breast, located below.

1 comment

  • Jacklyn M

    Great post. What’s the diff between a Faja and a compression garment? I still don’t get it lol 😐🤫