We put Kim Kardashian West's debut shapewear collection, SKIMS Solutionwear, to the test

By Kaitlyn Frey
September 10, 2019 12:00 PM
Francine Daveta

If one person has helped destigmatize shapewear it’s Kim Kardashian West.

In addition to becoming famous for accentuating her iconic curves in skin-tight outfits, Kim, 38, has never been ashamed to credit shapewear as the most crucial item in her closet — even going so far as to wear it as outerwear.

But as Kim became a connoisseur in second-skin spandex, the entrepreneur in her realized that her dream designs were still not on the market. The colors were never quite right (Kim’s shared candid videos in the past showing fans how she dyed her shapewear using tea bags) and she often cut one leg off bike short bottoms to wear underneath a high-slit dress.

“I would create my own shapewear all the time and my own solutions for things,” Kim tells PEOPLE. “When I would wear a gown and it had a slit or a skirt with a slit I would cut it one leg and it would roll up. I still needed the support everywhere else, and I never felt like I was getting that.”

After years of feeling unsatisfied with what was on out there, the mogul decided to create shapewear of her own — SKIMS Solutionwear. But unlike some brands’ garments that only come in limited sizes and color ways, the star knew she wanted her brand to be as inclusive as possible. Offered in nine tonal hues, sizes up to 5XL and at an affordable price point (the pieces range from $18 to $98), SKIMS was designed to enhance and smooth everyone’s curves without breaking the bank.

Vanessa Beecroft

“I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t wear shapewear because they’ve always felt claustrophobic or too restricted in it,” Kim says. “With this, everyone tells me that isn’t the case.”

To truly put SKIMS to the test, a diverse group of PEOPLE staffers tested out the curve-defining pieces. After getting glam with some help from The Glam App‘s pros, each woman modeled garment with an outfit of her choosing. Read on to find out our unfiltered thoughts on Kim’s designs.

The Tester: Paula Ngon, PEOPLE Publicist

The Style: Core Control Thong ($24) in size L/XL

Paula before wearing the shapewear (left) and after putting it on (right).
Francine Daveta

This shapewear was amazing. I’ve never felt I had a big need for it until now, but KKW’s shapewear specifically really gives you that beautiful hourglass shape that accentuates the waist and does all the work of sucking in for you. But, the best part is that it’s incredibly comfortable! It’s stretchy so you can put it on, but snaps right into place when it’s time to get the job done. I especially liked my style because it focused solely on perfecting my waist area. There wasn’t too much fabric so it wasn’t bunching up in awkward areas. Plus, I always feel like I’ve had a “boxy shape,” but wearing this added curve to my midsection. They were really designed with the woman in mind.

As an African-American woman, products that compliment my skin tone have always been hard to come by. I’m happy to say that I’m very happy with the range of skin shades provided by KKW.

If you found a style that is versatile for most of your outfits, I’d say this is a steal price-wise. I even think it’s comfortable enough to wear day-to-day. Call me crazy, but I actually wore in under my bikini on a recent trip to Miami! I felt so much more comfortable sporting the high-waisted suit. All of my insecurities disappeared when I was wearing it.

The Tester: Carly Breit, Digital Platforms Editorial Assistant

The Style: Sculpting Bodysuit Mid Thigh ($68) in 2XL/3XL

I felt super confident in this shapewear as soon as I put it on. The material was soft and really stretchy, which made me feel like everything was cinched, but also like I could breathe and move comfortably. (It wasn’t a Kim at the Met Gala kind of night.) In fact, the garment was so supportive, I didn’t even need to wear a bra with a size small dress from Zara.

The fit worked really well for me. I’m usually a size 10/12, so I would recommend going a size higher than you normally would. I went with the lightest shade, which matched well with my skin tone and was invisible under the dress. I’d suggest wearing this style with a longer dress or pants, as the bike shorts came down almost to my knees before I rolled them up, which did create some barely noticeable lines in the back. I absolutely think this piece is worth the price — it made me feel supported in all the right places while accentuating my curves.

The Tester: Kaitlyn Frey, Style & Beauty Assistant

The Style: Sculpting High Waist Brief ($36) in L/XL

I’m always game to try any new product one of the Kardashian-Jenners develops, so Kim’s shapewear line was no different. But to be quite honest, I’ve never been much of a shapewear person. I was skeptical about if they were really worth the investment and would make a significant difference in my body.

Putting aside the fact that I’m a massive fan of Kim, SKIMS completely changed my attitude about my undergarments. I was stunned that the high-waisted briefs not only smoothed out my entire midsection in a form-fitting dress I wore, but also cinched my waist in just so, giving me the hourglass figure I’ve never had before. Once I pull the brief as high up as it can go (near my sternum) it stays in place all day without awkwardly rolling down. And while I typically lean towards thongs when I wear fitted looks, much to my surprise, panty lines were nowhere in sight while I was wearing Kim’s briefs. While I’ve definitely been converted into a shapewear woman, I see myself reserving my briefs for special occasions and curve-hugging outfits.

The Tester: Brittany Talarico, Senior Style Editor

The Style: Sculpting Bodysuit ($62) in S/M

Brittany styling her bodysuit both with and without a blazer.
Francine Daveta

I’ve always been impressed by KKW’s confidence in wearing shapewear as outerwear — and her ability to pull it off like it’s NBD. At a recent editor preview debuting her shapewear line, she even revealed that she’s been wearing SKIMS in public for the past few months, testing it out to make sure it was exactly the fit and feel she wanted.

She even wore it to the White House. Kim styled this Sculpting Bodysuit underneath her professional suit while speaking on behalf of prison reform in D.C. in June. So in the name of journalism, I decided I would test it out for a day at the office.

I styled the bodysuit in Onyx with a pair of jeans and a blazer for a desk-to-date night type look. And I truly felt confident #inmySKIMS. The soft material is very wearable and comfortable and there was no slippage in the butt or chest area. My only critique is that it was a little sheer across my cleavage, but the way it tightened my core area (without leaving me breathless) is the exact kind of control I want in shapewear.

I like the look so much, I’d consider wearing it on a night out with a pair of jeans. (Just like you Kourt!)

The Tester: Morgan Evans, Associate News Editor

The Style: Solution Short ($42) in size S/M

First off, I think slit-friendly shapewear is a genius idea. Though it might not be the everyday choice — like the full biker short or the bra — it is the ideal thing to wear with dresses, skirts and gowns with slits. When I first got my SKIMS, I assumed it was going to be too small. I am normally a small in most things so I went with the S/M size. But while the shapewear appeared small, it stretched significantly.

Once I got it on, I was surprised at how well it fit my body. My favorite element is the paneling on the bottom — my butt felt firmer and lifted. I put my ribbed, knit dress over the shapewear and I loved how flat and smooth my stomach looked and my hips appeared to be more defined. The leg part of the shapewear that is cut off for the slit is perfect and you can’t see it underneath the garment. The rest of the body is super supported while you have the freedom to mimic Angelina Jolie leg poses with the slit. The only thing I had issues with was trying to get the shapewear to lay flat on my waist when I pulled it up. It would roll down a little underneath my chest, so I had to keep adjusting and pulling it up to make sure there were no roll lines in my dress. But once I got the top smoothed out and roll free … I think I looked the best I have ever looked in this dress.

The Tester: Alex Apatoff, Lifestyle Director

The Style: Sculpting Bodysuit ($62) in L/XL

I have never squeezed my body into shapewear that looked so miniature; even in the size L, it looked like a swimsuit for North. But I overcame my fear in the name of science … and found myself pleasantly surprised. The fabric does everything Kim said it would: Expands without stretching out, while still holding everything in place but not pinching. It was honestly comfortable from about 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (at which point I was ready to burn it).

I tried it on under some bodycon pieces and liked it fine, but the problem I really need solved by “solutionwear” was a shirtdress that I haven’t been able to wear since having a kid. It needs shapewear to zip nicely, but gaps over regular bras; it’s so cute but looks sloppy over pretty much any undergarment I’ve tried. The bodysuit turned out to be the perfect thing, sucking me in where needed and providing non-bulky support in the bust, and the nude shade (close to my own skin tone) was useful in providing added coverage underneath the button placket.

Would I pay a lot for it? I honestly think it’s more practical – and can be worn in more everyday situations – than I do the standard giant-shorts-style shapewear. I’m definitely adding it into my regular rotation. Though I’m reserving full judgment until I get a few more washes and wears out of it, I must grudgingly admit this meets a real need I didn’t know I had, and does it well.

The Tester: Michele Corriston, Senior News Editor

The Style: Sculpting Mid Waist Brief ($32) in S/M

Sure, I’d rather be rocking a pair of sweatpants, but I’ve truly never felt more comfortable in shapewear. Spanx stole my heart with their faux leather leggings, but there is something super stiff and constricting about the underwear I’ve tried. Kim’s collection feels, dare I say, breathable, despite being so skin-tight. I had red marks when I finally took them off, but that’s a low price to pay for feeling confident all day. It completely targeted my problem areas, a.k.a. my belly and hips, by smoothing everything out and sucking a little in, too.

I especially loved how it defined my pear-shaped body into an hourglass; is this what having Kim’s “snatched” waist feels like?! I think the range of shades is revolutionary for people of all different skin tones, but my very pale option was laughably lily-white (and see-through, so I wore a nude thong underneath.) I’d be fine with a more traditional nude. I don’t put on shapewear very often unless I’m slipping into a formal dress for an event like a wedding, but I’d definitely be more likely to slide these on whenever I’m wearing something a little tight and crave that extra coverage. I wore it under a jump suit today and could see myself pairing it with a pencil skirt or even a short dress for a night out. It seems like a fair price point for shapewear, and I’m already raving about the fit to my group chat of girlfriends.

The Tester: Sonal Dutt, Food & Lifestyle Director

The Style: Sculpting Bra ($32) in 2XL/3XL

To be honest, I have never worn a shapewear bra — I have 99 body issue problems, but my boobs ain’t one — so I don’t have anything to compare it to. But generally speaking, thought it was incredibly comfortable — much more comfortable than I thought it would be when I saw that itty-bitty bra. The material was nicer than I thought (are you sensing a theme?). It was soft and comfortable, and stretched without bunching or rolling up. The fit and feel were great, too. In fact, it barely felt like I was wearing a shapewear bra — no squeezing or tightness. It did a great job smoothing and, while I was wearing a t-shirt, you couldn’t see any seams or lines. However, I don’t necessarily think it was the most flattering fit. I’m a 34D, and the bra flattened me out a bit and didn’t give any lift, so it didn’t really give me an enhanced shape.

While I only tried one color, I was really happy with the shade I tried. It was certainly closer to my skin tone than the generic beige that all shapewear comes in (“nude” is never really nude for a person of color). However, if I was looking for shapewear to tackle my problem areas, for the money, I would likely buy something else over this line. And while I will continue wearing the bra, but I don’t think I would need to buy another pair.

The Tester: Alissa Harris, Photo Editor

The Style: Sculpting Short Mid Thigh ($34) in S/M

Alissa before wearing the shapewear (left) and after putting it on (right).

As a mom of two, I’ve tried out every shapewear in existence as I attempt to dress my post-baby body. I’m usually pretty disappointed, whether I try the high-end ones or bargain brands. They all seem to roll up or down, pinch and make me regret wearing them after a full day of work and running after the kids. 

When I had the chance to try out Kim’s new “solutionwear,” I was curious but definitely doubtful that it would work — especially since right out of the package they look super tiny. The first thing I noticed about the bike shorts was how soft and stretchy they were. The shade was a nice blush color which is definitely a step up from the usual bland shades that most shapewear come in. Despite the fact that they looked super tiny, they did actually fit my body. I wore the shorts through an entire day of work, riding N.Y.C. subway in August and running to get my kids from school. I was shocked at how breathable they felt. 

I can’t say my stomach looked completely flat, but it was smoothed out and my clothes looked nicer laying over it. I definitely recommend these to any mom looking for something comfortable that you can still run after your kids in.

The Tester: Hannah Chubb, Food & Travel Editorial Assistant

The Style: Sculpting Short Above the Knee ($36) in L/XL

Hannah before wearing the shapewear (left) and after putting it on (right).

When I first picked up my bike shorts, I was convinced there was no way I would be able to fit them over one leg, never mind my butt. Now, I want to wear them under everything. While they may look like yoga pants for the 6-8 month crowd, these babies stretch like you wouldn’t believe — and they don’t move an inch once they’re in place. Though a little long (you definitely can’t wear this style with a mini dress…I tried and my boyfriend screamed, “YOUR SHAPEWEAR IS SHOWING!” out the window when I left his car), I absolutely love how high up these go. The waistband comes right under the bra line, sucking any little roll you may have on your stomach up and in.

The best part of the shorts, though, in my opinion, is how they smooth everything out. The fabric is silky and fluid, making everything outfit look sleek and uniform — and no panty lines for the win. Though there aren’t a ton of different color options, the shade I received was pretty spot on for my skin tone, which is great in case they do sneak out under a dress or skirt at some point. All in all, I will certainly be wearing these again in the near future (I’ve already worn them a couple times!) and they’re comfy enough to wear to work, not just to a fancy event. I’ve never really worn shapewear before, so I don’t know how painful these things normally are, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I can actually breathe. If you saw how tiny these things are before they stretch, you would be too. I would definitely recommend these to a friend, especially because I’m not sharing mine!

The Tester: Ana Calderone, Associate Food Editor

The Style: Sculpting Short Above The Knee ($36) in L/XL

When I first got my hands on this, I thought there was absolutely no way that that tiny piece of fabric was going to fit on my body. But not only did I get it on, I’m now convinced it’s the best shapewear I’ve worn in my 28 years of living.

I wore this is exact dress earlier in the year with a different shapewear brand, and SKIMS was by-far the winner. The fabric is supportive but still soft and buttery on my skin, and it doesn’t bunch up or cut me off in weird places. I have a relatively short torso, so I find that a lot of shapewear that is meant to sit well past the waist is often too much fabric and creates wrinkles under the bust. Kim’s didn’t, and it stayed precisely in place the whole day. The shorts are pretty long on me too (I’m 5’4” and they came down to my knees) so I wouldn’t recommend wearing this style with a shorter dress — but I did find it worked well under dressier pants to get nice smooth lines.

The Tester: Alyssa Kent, PEOPLE Communications Manager

The Style: Sculpting High Waist Brief ($36) in L/XL

Compared to other shapewear I’ve worn in the past, you don’t get that tight, girdle-like feel from SKIMS. It fits very naturally and the fabric is extremely soft. That being said, though it is more comfortable, it’s not as effective as other shapewear I’ve worn. However, it is comfortable enough to wear on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn’t call this a “solution,” but it is helpful. The shade selection was expansive and the shade I wore was a natural fit. I would continue wearing this from time to time, but it wouldn’t be my go-to.

Photography by Francine Daveta. Hair and makeup by Toni Burroughs, Stephanie Bonaventure, Ricky Mota and Kelly Carbajal from The Glam App

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