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An African-American woman with long hair wearing black, nude and white versions of a slip bodyshaper.

Shapewear: Dress Before You Dress

…and you won’t believe how good you look!

Ladies, when we say, “dress before you dress,” we’re talking about wearing the undergarments that work for you and make you feel absolutely wonderful—no matter what you’re wearing.

Let’s face it. Since we’re flesh-and-blood women (not walking air-brushed models), we all have imperfections: a little bulge here, a bit of a sag there. Add in the challenges our clothes can cause, and there’s even more reason to pay attention. Maybe our everyday bra shows through that dress we want to wear…or our underwear creates unfortunate, unflattering panty lines.

What’s the solution?

The right undergarments! No matter who you are, or what you look like, if you get that first layer right, it will make you look and feel more comfortable, more polished and more beautiful. The trick is figuring out what you really need and want—a slip, cincher, cami, bodysuit, booty booster? Let us help.

Team Ashro joined forces with Janet, Leslie and Tabitha to help you discover the pieces that will work best for you. They each gave some of our shapewear a test drive…and then shared their nitty gritty feedback with all of us. Thank you ladies! Thanks also to Antasha, Leslie’s daughter, for snapping pictures.

Three black women on a balcony, one in a red dress, one in a black blouse and red skirt, and one in a black dress.

Please join us as we move, piece by piece, through some great options.

Which ones are right for you? Let’s take a look…


If you wear dresses that are fitted, you probably need a good slip.

We bet your grandmother wore a slip. Most grandmothers did (being the smart, practical women that they were).

Slips are soft against the skin, conceal panty lines and even skim over our imperfections. For a good long while, women started seeing slips as old-fashioned and unnecessary and stopped wearing them in favor of…nothing at all. This was okay until fashions got more fitted and clingy.

Then we went from wearing no slip at all to wearing punishing, compression-type shapers. No thank you! Squeezing into these pieces can make any woman feel ungraceful, suddenly chubby and really short of breath. And ladies, who wants to feel like that? Thankfully there is middle ground. It’s not your grandmother’s slip and it won’t make you feel bad.

A slip with gentle, nonaggressive control, like our Control Dress Slip is the perfect thing. It’s soft and supremely comfortable—but also smooths the tummy, butt and thighs. Perfect under a dress, it controls in all the right places, yet still makes a woman feel feminine, lovely and COMFORTABLE!

An African-American woman with long hair wearing black, nude and white versions of a slip bodyshaper.
Leslie, a smiling African-American woman with short copper hair, wearing a black V-neck top and large hoop earrings.


Leslie tried our Control Dress Slip and calls it “Heaven sent…”

“I love it love it love it! It’s so comfortable. It doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything that’s holding me in, but when I look in the mirror, I look great!”

What you should know about Leslie is that she likes her comfort. She admittedly pulls the underwire out of all of her bras because she doesn’t like how they feel. The control slip gave her all the support she needed without a bra. “Just pull up on the adjustable straps for the lift you want.”  According to Leslie, this should work for most modestly endowed women.

Janet, a smiling African-American woman with short hair, wearing a black top and gold earrings.


Janet also tried our Control Dress Slip and considers it a wardrobe staple.

“It feels great on your body. Very soft with comfortable control.”

Here, Janet is wearing it under our close-fitting Nika Sweater Dress.

“It’s good for straight dresses when you want that smooth look. It makes your dress look and feel more finished.”

Because there is no padding in the bust area, Janet recommends wearing a bra with the slip—especially if you are heavy chested.

Ladies, no matter how you are built, a good, light-control slip is a gift to you. It can make you look and feel better than ever in the dresses you already own.

An African-American woman in a black dress, standing on balcony, looking away from the camera.
Photo Credit: Antasha J. Royal


If you are a woman in the 21st century, you need a cami wardrobe.

There are so many reasons to wear a cami…

A smiling African-American woman in a light-weight gold sleeveless sweater.

1. Your top is sheer.

There are more sheer tops than there ever were before. This puts us in a pickle. If you don’t have the right cami, you can’t wear that new

An African-American woman with dark brown cury hair, wearing a red cami with a denim jacket and jeans.

2. You want to add a contrasting color statement.

The color of your cami matters! A nude cami underneath a sheer top or cardigan gives you a completely different look than a cami that’s black, white or brightly colored. You can also wear under a jacket for a pop of color.

A black woman wearing a black V-neck sleeveless top.

3. Your top is cut too low in front.

Whether the occasion is more conservative—or you just don’t like to show cleavage, layering a cami beneath a plunging neckline can be a quick and easy way to keep things modest.

A smiling African-American woman in a sheer black top with gold fringe sequin detail and black pants.

4. You love the comfort of a cami!

It’s easy to get used to the feeling of a soft cami against your skin—especially tucked into jeans or under a scratchy sweater. And if you tend to get cold, having that thin, extra layer can make a surprisingly cozy difference.

Waist Cinchers

If you want the appearance of a smaller waist…try a waist cincher.

Undeniable fact: an hourglass figure is a beautiful thing. That’s why women have been cinching their waists for centuries.

Thankfully, we are no longer using painful corsets (or fainting as much as we used to). But even today, there are different degrees of cinching. We asked Janet to wear our more engineered (aggressive) Waist Cincher by Rago. It has hook-and-eye fasteners for firm but comfortable control.

HINT #1: If you’re wearing thin, fitted clothing over the cincher, wear a cami or slip to camouflage the line of the hook-and-eye closures.

HINT #2: Janet recommends hooking up the cincher and then stepping into it and pulling it into place. It’s a lot easier than trying to zip or hook it while it’s on your waist.

The bottom half of a black woman in a black waist cincher and a nude bra.
Janet, a smiling African-American woman with short hair, wearing a black top and gold earrings.


Janet absolutely loved how it made her look in a fitted T-shirt and also in a sleek sweater dress.

“I love it! It holds in my stomach area and waist—with no rolling—and it really makes a difference.”

A black woman in a beige slip with a black lacy waist cincher overtop.

Leslie tested the Lacy Waist Cincher.  She loved the ease of the zip-on, zip-off construction. Here she is wearing the waist cincher underneath our Charo Bodysuit & Isabella Floral & Mesh Ball Skirt.

“I don’t need a lot of control, so the light to moderate compression is perfect. It’s firm enough that it holds everything in comfortably.”

There was no rolling up either. When she tried it on with a fitted top, it smoothed her slight back rolls. “They were gone.”

Both ladies agree that they would wear their cinchers under fitted clothing for special events.

An African-American woman with short brown hair, wearing a black V-neck top and a full red floral skirt.
Photo Credit: Antasha J. Royal

Shapewear Shorts

If you want to smooth your tummy, hips, thighs and butt under pants, dresses or skirts, you want a high-waist short-style panty.

Janet, a smiling African-American woman with short hair, wearing a black top and gold earrings.


Janet tried our High-Waist Control Panty. She loved the comfort and control in the waist, thighs and butt. She found that it didn’t roll down as some high-waist pieces can. If you have larger thighs and are wearing it under slim-fitting jeans, she cautioned that there might be a line where the garment ends on your thigh.

The lower half of a black woman in a black high-waisted shapewear panty with some lace at mid-section.


If you want a slim, clean silhouette in skirts, pants and jeans, you’ll love the way a bodysuit looks!

An African-American woman with a fancy updo hairstyle, wearing a black V-neck top, pearl necklace and a red floral skirt.

Breathtaking! The success of this beautiful look relies upon the clean lines of the Charo Bodysuit. It works so well with our 

Breathtaking! The success of this beautiful look relies upon the clean lines of the Charo Bodysuit. It works so well with our I Isabella Floral & Mesh Ball Skirt..

If we had paired a blouse with the skirt, there would have been too much bulk at the waist. None of us needs the added “weight” of a hem to tuck in—especially when we are wearing a voluminous skirt. Like any good bodysuit, this one creates a wonderfully smooth silhouette. With its sheer arms, intricate soutache embellishment and crocheted cuffs, it’s perfect for special occasions.

A black body suit with black applique detail on a dress mannequin.
Leslie, a smiling African-American woman with short copper hair, wearing a black V-neck top and large hoop earrings.


Leslie raved about it…

“Love the sheer sleeves and the look. Love the fit. Bodysuits can sometimes be uncomfortable when you fasten them, but this one has zero discomfort. And its material is cool and comfortable. I love it! It holds in my stomach area and waist—with no rolling—and it really makes a difference.”

Bottom Boosters

If you’re flat bottomed and want to know what it’s like to be CURVY, you could opt for a booty booster.

What’s a booty booster? It’s simply undies with pads in the derriere. Ours is high waisted to give you a smooth line and some tummy control. It lifts the bottom you already have…and has soft, removable pads to add just the right amount of BADDA BING!

A midsection of an African-American woman in a black bottom-shaping shapewear panty.
Tabitha, a smiling young African-American woman with her hair in a bun, wearing a bright red top.


Tabitha was kind enough to try out our High-Waist Bottom Booster.

”I like it. It definitely adds more back there and is comfortable.”

Lovely Tabitha is “not used to having anything back there,” so she said that even though she liked it a lot, “It took some getting used to.” She says she definitely will wear it again.

Here’s Tabitha in our Tiffany Dress (with the bottom booster underneath)

HINT: Ladies, if you’re already very curvy back there, count your blessings and don’t buy this. It will do unpretty things to you. (This is only for the modestly bottomed among us.)

A smiling black woman in a fitted long-sleeve red dress, standing on a balcony, looking over her shoulder.
Photo Credit: Antasha J. Royal

Ladies, a big thank you to every one of you for reading through our piece on first-layer dressing. We expect that many of you have your own tips, successes/failures and suggestions to share regarding this topic. If you’re brave enough, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below!

Keep on being the beautiful creation you are!


Your Ashro Family

Comments (8)

I have the Ashro Catalog!! Love the styles of the AfroCentric designs would place an order; however my size is Petite! I can’t do Misses Sizes. Please think about the petite Woman!! Thank you for being Fashion forward !

Does the high waist shorts shapewear have a gussett opening or do you have pull it up and down when you go to the restroom?

I am new to Ashro how long can I exchange the dress I brought two weeks ago. I selected 3x lost some it should be 2x I love my orders and can’t WAIT to shop more. THANK YOU SO MUCH PS what fay is payment due? Do I get a card also? RITA HOWARD OF DETORIT

Thanks for the comment Rita! We will pass along your question to our customer service team and you will hopefully hear back soon! Thanks again!

I’m TRULY looking for more than one under garment to access me in my closet, I need the slip, and, bodysuit , cameo. I REALLY have to have them ALL.

Hi Janet! You just need to shop at Let us know how else we can help!

I’ve been trying to order the control dress slip size 36 B or C cup in vanilla throughput this year but it’s never available.

Sorry to hear this Marilynn! Of course we’d love to have what you need in stock so you can place an order. We will check with our merchant and get back to you by email. Thanks so much for the comment.

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