The Evils of Shapewear

The beautiful singer Adele admitted recently to having worn four pairs of Spanx under her Grammys dress earlier this year. I wondered how the heck #1 the word Spanx became known by every one and #2 she could sing with them all on?? She had to take a couple layers off in order to perform that night. This story irked me. Would you do this for fashion? As I thought about it I realise a lot of us do! Squeezing ourselves into an uncomfortable control garment just to look flawless in a dress. "No dinner for me tonight, I can hardly breathe!" It made me think more about the expectations put on us by... well... ourselves.

I have been contemplating purchasing my first shapewear garment and I've been arguing with myself ever since the thought first popped into my head. I have never owned one before. I'm not saying this because I have a perfect body without any bulges, but I'm trying not to fall into that media built beauty trap. I buy clothing that works with my body and my lingerie. I don't go and buy an outfit that is a single layer jersey that clings to every little lump and bump I have, then go in search of the perfect underwear. The garment that will not only be completely seamless and extremely comfortable but also hold me in to make me look a size smaller. The outfit I'm looking at obviously just isn't meant for me. However I was given a beautiful designer dress from a client and it is as I said, single layer and shows off the not so good parts of my body. I feel bad for having not yet worn it. But honestly, I don't feel good in it the way I am...

Um...yes Spanx. Whatever you say...

So I did more research into the shapewear brands available here. Looking up brand after brand and reading what they were about. Not going to try on anything yet as I just didn't like where they were coming from. I liken it to corsetry from the 19th century. Making your shape what it isn't. Listening to societies current 'standards' and falling for their propaganda. How does this help our self esteem when what they're saying is that we aren't perfect, but this garment will help us look 'that way?'  Rather than embracing our bodies and picking appropriate clothing and fabric for it, we fall for the hype out there. We must be thinner...

 These are some of the statements the brands make:

 "Look 5kg lighter in five seconds"
 "Designed to empower you in every way, you will look fabulous, feeling firmer and fitter"
 "To help women feel great about themselves and their potential."

Seriously I can get all this from a control garment?? And it's uber comfortable?? Will it also take me out on an amazing date or make me a millionaire?? I don't think so. To be honest, my body doesn't want to be controlled and neither do I. We are falling for the most common trap. We are changing who we are and thinking that if we just fit into that dress, things will be better.  We want the quick fix solution. We want to buy the miracle garment.

I'm pretty sure I can realise my potential without wearing a control undergarment (thanks Spanx). And I will probably be better off going for a walk and laying off the cheese and wine everynight to feel fitter and firmer.  They all talk about embracing your curves but then combine that with feeling more confident by wearing their garment to nip and tuck. A lot of the brands say they understand that we women lead busy lives and don't always have the time to exercise leading up to an event, so just pop on their shapewear to look better. They are playing on our insecurities and we are eating it up...

Let me ask you... what do you think of foot binding? Do you think it's something we should do so we can fit into those cute size fives that sit lonely on the sale shelf? Do you see in media small feet being shown to be something we should try to have? If there was a garment out there that changed the size of your feet by wearing it, and only cost $30 would you buy it? ........Why?

What do you think of corsetry from the 1800s? Being worn from a very young age to 'train' the body to be a certain shape? To move your internal organs and squeeze the expanding rib cage into a different position. Do you think this is necessary? Would you do that now for you or your daughter?  Or do you just see this as being beauty that existed in that era?

Would you tell your young daughter that she should probably put on a control garment so she can have the body of an eight year old Dakota Fanning? Or would you tell her she looks beautiful just the way she is? Why does our self dialogue have to be any different? Why do we have to buy into the marketing mania telling us we aren't ok the way we are, but if only we purchased this, that or the other we would feel more empowered, confident and beautiful.

 I'm not saying NO to shapewear, but I have more of an understanding behind it and what media are trying to do with it. I don't like my insecurities being played with like that. And if I am to finally give my money to a shapewear company, the garment will be worn rarely. It must be extremely comfortable like all my other lingerie. It must be sexy, functional and not feel like I can't breath in it. I must be able to go to the bathroom easily, eat a full dinner and dance while wearing it. If not, then not a chance. I am still arguing with myself while I write this rant. I have been anti shapewear for so long now, for the above reasons, but then the other side of me want's to try one...

Do you own shapewear? What would you recommend for someone who has always been against it?


  1. As a size 14 who wears shapewear more or less every day, I love it not because it changes anything about me fundamentally, but because it smoothes me out and I like the way I look in clothes when I wear it. I get that to an extent I am buying in to a social norm but I am doing that in a million other ways too- by wearing my hair long or wearing makeup or wearing heels or wearing a dress. Shapewear is not different to any of those things. It is definitely not extreme as many of the other practices we subscribe to are (Brazilian waxing, plastic surgery etc.) It makes me feel good. That is why I wear it.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I want more feedback as I'm unsure on exactly where I stand with this! Half of me wants one half of me disagrees! What brands do you recommend and do you find it comfortable? I don't quite know where to start. All I could see were ads telling me if only I wore their product.... It's the advertising I hated. My worry is I will be pulled into that world and not feel as confident with what I have. I agree that we do follow the trends of hair colouring, waxing, beauty creams and everything else. I don't want another thing in my life that takes me on that path. I think I need to try, then review again!

  2. I admit I own some shape wear. About 5 items. 2 pairs of control underwear, a singlet style which clips at my crotch, and two strapless dress style ones. I HATE the underwear and never wear them. They sit in my drawer collecting dust and taking up space. They are tight and uncomfortable and give me a muffin top anyway!! The singlet style sucks everything in so tight it gives me a tummy ache at after a few hours and hurts at my crotch making it difficult to easily go to the toilet because you are tackling clips. In a semi drunken state, it's almost disastrous to say the least, but I DO really like my dress style ones. They are not as tight and really just serve to 'smooth' things out. They don't shrink my size, just 'iron out the creases' so to speak.

    1. Thanks for that. If I purchase I think it will be a dress style option for these exact reasons. Because to me if it isn't comfortable then you shouldn't wear it. That's always my thing when it comes to lingerie. And when I do fit women into these garments where they have to wriggle for a few minutes to get into them I think, what happens when youre busting to go to the bathroom?? And wouldnt that pressure on your belly make you want to go even more? I will have to find something suitable to try soon. What brand is the dress style you have?

  3. super interested to get your feedback on the "dress style" one you ladies are speaking of, as I believe that is all I need too, smooth out the wrinkles. I really would rather battle myself to believe in embracing me as I am, as opposed to buying into well, everything else. Every trend, especially under garments!!! For pretty much the same reason as the many you listed, that's why I decided (after almost taking a "spanx" product to the counter) against it in the end. It just seemed like it would be as far as I was concerned an expensive "uncomfortable" purchase, which just doesn't make sense right? Do share on your verdict and brand findings etc on this dress style you speak of xo

    1. Well I tried on 2 dress styles today and! I think I dislocated my shoulder getting one off. It was comfortable while it was on but did nothing to smooth me out. Back to the drawing board..... I will update when I have found one! And if I don't then Im sure I will have a hilarious post regardless!

  4. Great post. I have a few styles of shapewear- the high waisted brief, the swim suit one piece and the brief that comes just under the bust. I love them. They are comfortable and I feel beautiful wearing them- isn't that the whole point? Shapewear is not for everyone but if you just want to try a few styles I'd head to bras n things as they have a good range in beautiful fabrics- or even Target- I got a great leopard print one there... :)

    1. Hmmm leopard print at least sounds interesting. I had no luck today trying on a couple brands at two local lingerie stores. I will try your suggestions this week if I can. Yes the point is feeling good but what I tried I didn't even feel semi comfortable in so no good for me so far..... Next brand! It may just not be for me.

  5. And if you happen to prefer wearing very thin fabric body fitted clothing, you would probably wonder if the shapewear garment would also be as noticeable as the slimming result. If you want to learn more about shapewear for women, this is my site:

  6. I have worn a variety of shape-wear garments over a couple decades. I have gravitated to the all-in-one body briefer. If you are going to wear a dress consider the open bottom body briefer or my favorite, the shaper slip. I have lately been ordering from either England or Ebay since the traditional USA "box" stores have drastically reduced their offerings. My most favorite bodybriefer was Sears Diet Trim. These sweethearts did a great job in smoothing AND put a nice squeeze around the stomach area that would curb my appetite. This is no joke, I lost 22 lbs in under years wearing these most days. Not only did the Diet Trim make be feel great, it also allowed me to eat slowly and feel full sooner. I have a stock pike, but will cry when I wear out my last one. Thye are a bit warm in the peak of the summer down here in Charlotte, NC so I opt for a lighter shaper. Either way I wear a body briefer every day. It becomes addicting after a while, I feel naked without it.
    I hope this helps.
    Best regards,


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