Before trying on Leonisa leggings, my only other experience with shapewear was with the classic Spanx. Maybe I didn’t get the right size or maybe it’s because I vividly remember how uncomfortable it was under my formal dress at my cousin’s July wedding a couple years ago, but after trying it out a couple times, I swore off shapewear. It was too tight, restrictive, hot, and just overall uncomfortable.
But my tune changed when I gave the tummy sculpting leggings, activewear leggings and multifunctional bra from Leonisa a try.
Shapewear that feels more like a firm hug and less like it’s cutting off your circulation? I had no idea something like that existed.
Leaning into Leonisa
Leonisa is a lingerie company that makes several different products, including swimwear and shapewear. I tried:
- The multi-functional wireless bra with back support. This comes with crisscross bands in the back to support posture and wireless contour cups.
- The high-waisted active shaper leggings with moderate compression and soft, breathable, easy-dry fabric.
- The extra high-waisted firm compression leggings with a ruched seam in the back and flat seams in the crotch to prevent chafing.
If you’ve never tried shapewear before, there are some things you should know about wearing them. Some styles come in different sizes, but the high-waisted compression leggings featured here come in small, medium, lage, extra large and extra extra large. Some consumers say they run small, so definitely take your measurements before buying and consider sizing up.
Shapewear should feel firm, like it’s holding you in place, but not so tight that you have trouble breathing or bending over. If you’ve tried shapewear before and felt like it was cutting off your circulation, you likely didn’t have the right size. Take your measurements at home before buying or better yet, try on different styles and sizes in a department store.
Caring for your shapewear depends on what kind of shapewear you have. For the Leonisa products listed here, wash on cold, and hang to dry.
Let’s take a closer look at each product.
A Wireless Bra You Can Feel Confident Leaving the House In
Before a global pandemic mostly restricted us to our homes, I was already a work-from-home freelancing mom whose “commute” consisted of walking across the hall to my office. So it’s no surprise that leggings and wireless bras were my office uniform.
Supportive and comfortable
And while I was always comfortable, I rarely felt “put together” enough to leave the house without at least throwing on a bra with more support. The Leonisa multifunctional bra serves as both—it’s comfortable enough to lounge around in, yet supportive enough to be seen in public.
My favorite part about this bra is the wireless back support that stretches across the shoulder blades. Not only is it firm yet flexible, but this design also has the shapewear effect of smoothing out my upper back, especially that squishy part right under my armpits. I worked at my computer all day in this bra wearing my classic uniform of a tank top with leggings, and when it was time to pick up my son from school, I didn’t feel like I needed to put something else on.
Another great feature of this bra is the adjustable straps and clasps in the front. I’m no longer breastfeeding, but would have loved this feature when I was.
The clasps in the front have two settings, so you can choose a snugger or more loose fit, perfect for the newborn days when you feel like your breasts grow two sizes in between nursing sessions. The adjustable straps are also a huge plus in my book, giving this bra customizable options.
“The Leonisa multifunctional bra serves as both—it’s comfortable enough to lounge around in, yet supportive enough to be seen in public.”
Shapewear You Can Actually Work Out In
If you couldn’t tell, I’m new to shapewear. Before giving these leggings a try, I actually did not know shapewear could be so multifunctional, from high-rise underwear and bodysuits to pants and leggings meant for working out.
Sliding on the tummy sculpting active shaper leggings immediately felt different than my usual Old Navy workout pants. The material is soft and stretchy, but the compression-aspect around the abdomen felt much more supportive. My tank top sat flat against my stomach and I didn’t feel like I needed to pull down my bra to cover that part of my upper torso that sometimes spills out over the top of my pants.
The best part about these shapewear leggings is how easy they are to move in. Unlike my previous experience with shapewear, which did not lend itself well to movement, I was able to complete both a brisk walk and a yoga practice in these leggings without feeling like I needed to adjust my pants after every pose.
Aside from the compression aspect around my abdomen, the rest of this garment didn’t feel much different than other pieces of activewear I’ve worn. The leggings fit snugly around my butt and legs, but weren’t too tight.
Comfortable to work out in
The material is comfortable, but not quite as soft as others I’ve tried. All in all though, I’ll definitely be working out in these again.
Sleek, Slimming, and Somehow More Comfortable as the Day Goes On
After hours of wear, I couldn’t wait to tear off the Spanx I wore to my cousin’s wedding, and once I finally did, I felt like I could breathe again. With that experience fresh in my mind, I was surprised to find the Leonisa tummy sculpting compression leggings actually felt better the longer I wore them.
The compression on these things is real. I actually double-checked the size as I squeezed into them to make sure I got the right ones!
“No way this is gonna end well,” I thought, but once I got them situated in my body, I have to admit, I was surprised. The leggings seemed to conform to my shape, and after stretching them out to go over my butt and stomach, they seemed to mold into me instead of constricting me like I assumed they would.
I loved the way my shirt looked over the top of these leggings and the high rise is just the way I like it, right under the boobs! The compression really did make me look smoother and I felt a jolt of confidence as I strutted around the house. And I could move! Or at least comfortably sit, walk, bend over to pick up toys and load the dishwasher.
Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to call these lounging leggings, nor will they replace my sweatpants this winter, but they’re pretty great for a more elevated, yet comfortable look.
Before You Buy
I’m a fan of these Leonisa products, but before you buy, there are some key factors to consider.
- Cost. The prices on the items described here range from about $40 to $75, which is pretty similar to other types of activewear and shapewear, but can definitely add up if you’re looking to acquire two to three pieces.
- Comfort. Keep in mind that while these pieces do allow for movement, they are shapewear, so if you’re looking for lounge leggings or pants with more give, these may not be it.
- Fit. As with any shapewear, getting the right fit is key. If buying online, don’t just guess a size based on what you’ve worn in leggings before. Take your hip and waist measurements to ensure you get the right fit. And if you can go to a store to try on, this is probably your best bet at getting the right size and style for your body.
A New View of Shapewear
It’s no secret our bodies change after having kids, and I’ve definitely had my share of low moments staring in the mirror and wondering if I will ever be the same again. But, for the sake of my daughter and for the wellbeing of myself, I’ve worked hard to deconstruct what society has taught me (and all women) about beauty standards, ideal body sizes, and how my worth is measured by how little space I take up.
Shapewear has always kind of been on a list in the back of mind along with diets and excessive exercising that I regarded as tools of the patriarchy, just another way to tell women the way they are isn’t good enough.
But sometimes pieces of clothing (or skincare or makeup) can actually be fun to play around with and can help create a new narrative about what beauty actually is.
I’m not necessarily saying shapewear leggings changed my worldview, but I am saying I liked them. I liked the way I looked in them and I liked the way they felt. Maybe I haven’t sworn off shapewear after all.
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