comparing skims and Spanx shapewear

SKIMS vs Spanx: How They work, Pros and Cons, and More

Beauty standards rotate, and undeniably we fall for them. Victorians were so willing to submit to required body shapes that they put their ribcages and inner organs under immense pressure. You might argue that such sacrifice in the name of fashion is absent in the modern age, yet I will argue back with reminding about Botox, fillers, makeup, and shapewear, all to achieve a certain look. Surely, established by high society fashionable appearance in the 19th century was far more demanding. Yet, dictated by social media modern trends put some expectations on every person who desires to look a la mode.  

We might be proud of ourselves (as a generation) for the long way the fashion industry has gone to achieve some tolerance, and inclusivity of all body shapes. We might have taken a few steps away from decades of featured in magazines celebrities normalized size S and diet culture. It is not that I find shapewear a strangle on women’s liberation. If wearing tight shorts and a supportive bodysuit helps you to gain more confidence, by all means go for it. The notion of it is rather noble. After all, looking more attractive than we are, is a part of our natural inclinations.  

Hence, there is no reason to deny that a slimmer body is still a goal for many. That is when modern shapewear can do marvels. You might be satisfied with your body, and still want to look perfectly smooth and curvy in that special dress. (And fortunately, enough, those slimming undergarments do not have to be worn every single day: trendy oversized outfits allow us to hide unwanted curves. However, they make it almost effortless to go a size down or wear a lightweight dress without revealing what you would rather hide.) 

Speaking of inclusivity, modern shapewear caters to a wide range of skin tones, and sizes. The versatility of shapes, lengths, separate tops and bottoms makes shapewear some sort of athletic wear rather than underwear. Although there are various brands, colours and shapes of shapewear on the market, the two leading names are SPANX and SKIMS. While the former no longer stands out as bright as it was back in the 90s and 00s, it is still an example of great shapewear. However, with Skims appearing, (and Kim Kardashian standing behind the image of the brand) the idea of shapewear was reimagined. In this article, you will find a thorough comparison of both, a veteran and a trendsetter shapewear brands, that are worth considering if you are looking for that slimming bodysuit to make you feel more confident.  

Why trust us

This guide is not a plain comparison of the pros and cons of the two shapewear brands. It offers a reflection on factors you would have to consider before buying a body-slimming garment. The guide is based on an analysis of customers’ reviews who had a chance to compare Skims and Spanx shapewear, and the opinion of other publications that interviewed fashion experts and doctors. 

What to look for in shapewear

No matter which brand you buy shapewear from, there are some factors to consider when wearing shaping undergarment.  


Shapewear selection can be overwhelming. Catering to a vast target market, both brands, Skim and Spanx, keep expanding their styles (especially the former). And before you get all confused trying to figure out whether you need a full-body suit or a pair of shaping shorts, remember that one type is not necessarily better than the other. The main question to answer is the final result you are hoping to achieve. Full bodysuits are designed to cover the most surface area to smooth your whole body. At the same time, they are more constricting than individual pieces.   

While bodysuits can be an ideal choice for a formal event, I suggest separate tops and bottoms for everyday wear. For instance, shorts or briefs that target one area, such as the thighs or stomach, are more comfortable and could be worn on daily basis.     

Compression level and comfort:  

Shapewear is not the most comfortable piece of clothing, to begin with, especially if it compresses your entire torso. However, Spanx, as well as Skims, production improves with every piece they design, so that it does not suffocate you. Unless, of course, you choose the wrong size.   

Just like any other piece of clothes, shapewear should be chosen with size consideration. If the bodysuit is too tight around the hip area, it can constrict blood circulation. Hence, do not look for a smaller size hoping that it will compress better, but get the right one to avoid discomfort.    

Ultra-tight shapewear can also compress nerves and cause tingling sensations or numbness. Also, avoid shapewear that is too tight if you have poor circulation because such shorts and bodysuits can increase swelling in the legs.    

Basically, when buying shapewear, you want to check if it leaves any marks. If it does, the size is wrong and the undergarment is too tight. Although shapewear, unlike corsets, won’t damage your organs, wearing too-tight garments for a long time can squeeze the digestive tract and create acid reflux.    

Another effect of wearing ultra-tight undergarments can be gassiness and bloating because of gas produced with digestion and the air that you swallow while eating.  

Bottom line? The proper piece of a shapewear will be snug enough to form a smooth silhouette, yet comfortable enough to wear the whole day.    

Skin reaction:  

As per Health Cleveland Clinic “The most likely problem you might encounter with shapewear is skin irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin and you wear the garment for long periods.”    

The skin might become chafed, turn red or itchy, and even become infected if not taken care of on time. If shapewear causes skin irritation, take a break from wearing it, or switch to a larger size.    

Besides that, avoid wearing shapewear for too long without giving your skin a break, and stay away from sleeping in it.    


Shapewear costs more than a basic t-shirt, and that price is rightly justified. First, a bodysuit or a shaping bottom, when chosen properly, is made of high-quality material and is meant to last. Second, shapewear is not a pair of shoes where you need several options for each season. If you are planning to wear shapewear daily, you can select one or two styles (or buy the same one in different colours) and rotate them depending on the occasion and outfit. Further, you will find a comparison of Spanx and Skims prices. Yet, considering the long-lasting soft materials, modernized production and versatile designs, shapewear is an investment into your wardrobe and style.    


At some point, Spanx was everywhere. The name of the brand was a definition of a well-manufactured shapewear, a synonym if you will. It was also a synonym for a successful, young businesswoman. (In 2012 the founder Sara Blakely was named the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes Magazine.)  

Sara Blakely founded the brand in the 90s based on a pure coincidence of a creative moment: the idea of shapewear came to her when she realized her wardrobe lacked the right undergarment to wear under white pants. She cut off the bottom of her pantyhose and wore the tummy-control top. Since then, millions of women across the world choose bras, leggings, active and underwear offered by Spanx. The retail shops opened across the United States, and more than 50 other countries.  

The quality of the Spanx shapewear is still outstanding and long-lasting. However, as you will see further, the price is higher than Skims’ bodysuits and shorts.  

Besides, the catalogue of choices is impressive. Surely, you can shop for shapewear, however, there are also jeans, leggings, tops and activewear available on the website.   

As per the price range, it varies from $64 to $198, while sizes begin at XS and go up to 3X. Among shapewear, you can select from boyshorts, bodysuits, panties, minimizers, slips, bras and more.  

  • Long-lasting quality. 
  • Designed for real bodies. 
  • Other apparel available. 
  • 90-Day Return Policy. 
  • Shapewear is not designed to wear on its own. 
  • Pricey.  

Despite Spanx’s high quality and fame, the rise of other brands, Skims included, pushed the veteran brand a little behind. The brands are strikingly similar in their promise to increase the confidence of the one who wears it, by providing comfort and style. The main difference is the price. Skims’ drastic rise happened because of affordable prices and modern, minimal aesthetics. Speaking of aesthetics, that is also one of the contrariness between the two brands: Spanx is a straightforward undergarment that you would not be able to pair with your jeans and a blazer instead of a top. Meanwhile Skims resonates with a simple, clean aesthetic so often seen on Instagram.   

But, let’s look at Skims closely and see what they have to offer. 


With Kim Kardashian as the main inspiration of the brand, it is no wonder its popularity grew. Yet that is not the only reason Skims is such desirable shapewear for many women around the world. The first is the vast selection of styles. They offer shaping bodysuits, shorts, underwear, waist trainers, maternity wear and more. Moreover, those pieces come in tex shades of nude from onyx to marble. Available styles also vary from low backs, plunging necklines, high slits and other details.  

The size range extends from XXS to 5X (00-26). (If the size guide is confusing, keep in mind that XXS/XS is equivalent to a 00, 0, and 2 and an S/M is equivalent to a 4, 6, 8.)   

What especially attracts me, as well as many other followers of Skims, is different levels of compression: medium, high and super high depending on what type of sculpting you wish to achieve. If you go for a super high level of compression, be ready that pulling this shapewear on might require some work (and sweating).   

However, the texture of Skim’s shapewear is smooth and breathable. A combination of nylon and spandex makes it pleasant to wear, and matte texture allows you to wear bodysuits as tops with your bottoms.  

Now to the price point that is although lower than Spanx, however, not significant. For instance, you can buy Skims full bodysuits for around $114 (Spanx is $198), shapewear shorts for $70 and underwear for $50. I prefer to look at those pieces as an investment. They are long-lasting and versatile to wear underneath dresses, and suits alike. 

  • Three levels of compression.  
  • Vast shade and size range. 
  • Fair price point. 
  • Comfortable to wear. 
  • Sizing runs small. 
  • Putting them on requires a lot of work.  

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Updated date

January 25th, 2023

About the author

Maria Kossman

Maria Kossman is an essayist, and content specialist at Her writing appeared in a variety of fashion magazines. When she is not focused on reviewing and writing, she spends time exploring coffee shops, English literature and antique malls.
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