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?