Like most everyone I know, I dread putting on shapewear. Whether it’s for a wedding or a night out on the town, it’s always a horrid experience—not to mention, I’m morally against the concept because I believe you shouldn’t try to hide your curves. But sometimes you just need to squeeze into a dress that doesn’t quite fit anymore, and desperate times call for desperate measures. So when I was asked to test Honeylove shapewear, a brand with bold claims of comfort designed for plus-size bodies, I had my doubts. Could I fall in love with shapewear? For the sacrifice of all womankind, I took the plunge—and (perhaps unsurprisingly) came away with mixed feelings.
What is Honeylove?
Honeylove founder Betsie Larkin had similar issues with shapewear, but as an accomplished vocalist, she wore it regularly keep things in check while performing in front of audiences. She took action, developing her own shapewear that includes a technology she called “SoftFlex”: Hidden at the side seams of the waist, this soft but structured boning holds up the pieces without rubber grips needed to keep it in its place.
Further, the “Sculptwear” smart compression panels are placed in areas where you’d want more compression, like across the stomach and around the upper thigh. Further, the pieces have less compression in areas where you’d want more flexibility or movement, such as around the rib cage and along the legs. Fans claim these design characteristics help to lift the booty, give you more posture support, and even tone your legs.
I tested the SuperPower Short, as I typically wear slightly-compressive bike shorts under a dress for thigh protection from chafing, and this is the equivalent in shapewear. The SuperPower Short comes in four neutral colors and sizes ranging from XS to 3X, and costs $89 a pair.
What we like
It moves well
After a lot of shimmying and maneuvering (more on that coming), I made it in. Then I could see why people like this shapewear so much. It was very comfortable once it was on, and it didn’t restrict my stomach so I could take deep breaths and sit down with ease. Honeylove is super easy to move around in and, although the nylon/spandex material is thin, my thighs never had an issue with chub rub.
It creates a smooth silhouette
The top of the shorts goes all the way up to the bra line, smoothing the entire waistline with no muffin-top issues. The structured boning on both sides as well as the compressive sections in the tummy keeps these shorts from rolling down and your body feeling supported.
What we don’t like
It's not really plus-sized
My biggest issue: I would not classify Honeylove as a plus-size shapewear company. It advertises to “women of all shapes and sizes,” with the largest size being a 3X. I normally wear a size 14 to 16, which puts me at the lower end of the plus-size category in general. However, after taking my measurements, I wound up going with a 2X, because the company suggests that if you have “a wider thigh or proportionally bigger hips,” you should size up. Given that I was in the second-largest Honeylove size, I’d hardly say that the company caters to most women, considering the average size of an American woman is a size 18.
It's really hard to get into
When I received the shapewear in the mail, the shorts looked cute but also much smaller than I expected. Pulling them up my legs, as soon as they got to my thighs, I laughed—I knew we were gonna have a problem. I then spent 15 minutes—no exaggeration—trying to get the shapewear comfortably on. The top part where your stomach goes is structured and made of that thick compression material, so you can pull with that, but your thighs are made out of a featherlight nylon/spandex, so you can’t pull there without fear of ripping it. In fact, on the second wear, I tore a quarter-sized rip in one of the outer thighs while trying to get them on, and I could see them ripping more as I put them on more and more in future tries.
It might cause bathroom troubles
Another tidbit is that, although there’s a gap between the legs for easy peeing access, I never felt confident enough to go to the bathroom in the shapewear. Maybe it’s just my nerves, but I felt like there wasn’t enough space open in any position to properly pee without it getting everywhere, mostly on the shapewear. That means I would have to take it off and then put it back on when using the bathroom, which would be another 15-minute ordeal. I’ve worn Spanx a handful of times to formal events and I had no problems with peeing or getting those on or off. Sure, Spanx can also be a little hard to get on because of its tight spandex content, but it wasn’t the painstaking process I endured with Honeylove.
Should you buy Honeylove Shapewear?
It's worth considering, if it fits you
If you happen to fit within the size range, I’d say they’re worth considering, if you don’t mind a potential wrestling match to get into them. But if you’re a plus-size person who wears anything larger than an 18, you’ll have to pass. This shapewear might’ve been designed with your body in mind, but realistically, your size is not stocked. So you physically cannot buy Honeylove, which is really a shame on their part.
Smaller bodies could have an easier time getting in and out of the shapewear without so much shimmying and cursing, and once in, I suspect they’ll appreciate the structured contouring and comfortable material even more than I did. As for me, I would wear it to a wedding or one-time event, but I wouldn’t choose to wear this any more often than that. But maybe that’s just my inner hatred of shapewear shining through.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.