Figure-control undergarments

OK, ladies, admit it. Very few of us have avoided wrestling with a pair of control-top pantyhose in the name of creating a leaner silhouette. The good news is that some designers feel our pain and have introduced a category of clothing -- not undergarments -- that does the trick.

Companies known for their figure-control undies have branched out into clothes meant to be seen. Here are some that have hit the market -- and look promising.

Sure, Spanx is known as the ultimate slimming undergarment, but the company now makes swimwear and a great basic black dress with an inner panel that controls the tummy, thighs and rear.

Yummie Tummie
Yummie Tummie has lots of tummy-trimming tanks and camisoles, including a lovely tiered chiffon tank you'd never guess was a control garment. Find that tank.

Fila Body Toning System (BTS)
How it works: Fila's new Body Toning apparel, which hit stores Friday, not only sculpts, but it supposedly makes your muscles work harder by way of multilayered panels.

Hello! SkinnyJeans
How they work: Skinny jeans are the last thing that comes to mind when pondering clothes that make you look thinner. But designer Catherine Hart claims her line does just that. Classic denim with a high-powered "memory" stretch and features such as stitched pocket lining and slenderizing optical illusions aid the cause.

Road test: Sold for $145 to $190, the price is comparable to or less than other designer labels, such as True Religion. But if you believe the testimonials, they're well worth it. "OMG," one fan wrote to the company's website. "I just got my first pair and if there were a Nobel Prize for jeans ... these would win." Need we say more? Not even a whiff of the mom-jeans stigma, yet they suck you in like nobody's business.

What: Nine months ago, the legging brand Lissé was born. Beth Gold-Cohen, 56, of Roslyn, N.Y., a former buyer for Macy's, designed them. Why?

How they work: In her search for something that flattered, she slashed off the upper portion of a pair of control-top pantyhose and sewed it onto a pair of leggings. "It was a perfect fit and looked smooth," she says. The product is made of four-way stretch fabric and comes in eight styles and four colors.

Road test: Lissé turns you into a lean machine, and the tight-ankle legging and right-on-trend cargos are both great with boots. Find them.