Shapewear – Lifesaving Technology or Return to Girdle Enslavement?


-Do you simultaneously binge carbs while trying to squeeze into your finest fashions?

-Do you practice yoga for the sole purpose of mastering your “getting into Spanx” technique?

-Guys, do you rely on compression garments to look sharper, stand taller and feel stronger?

-Do you prefer to say “F*** It, if you don’t like how I look don’t look at me!”


Shapeware has been around since the beginning of time and, thanks to Kim Kardashian, the corset has made a huge comeback, too. Thank goodness modern technology has come to the rescue and compression garments are no longer supposed to damage our internal organs. And, guys, you are not excluded, I have two words for you: MAN SPANX. Yes, “MANX,” if you will, are now a thing . . . welcome to our world!

Karen (F’ing Fifties):

Can I be both obsessed and so over shapewear at the same time? Has anybody figured out what the mirrors in dressing rooms are made out of? Why do we always look so much better in retail mirrors? Why can’t our mirrors at home, along with our windows, eye glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses all be made out of the same material, am I right? What a wonderful, rose-colored world it would be.

I can’t even count how many times I’ve tried on what I thought was the perfect outfit, it looked great in the dimmed lighting and trick mirrors in the dressing room. I would really like to know what really happens to my purchases during my drive home. My new purchase hasn’t been in the dryer yet, I didn’t stop for a pizza and wash it down down with a milkshake on my way home, but somehow my new outfit does not fit like it did in the store. How did it already shrink? What do I do now? Enter SPANX . . .it’s a miracle! This is not my grandmother’s girdle, why haven’t we invented an easier way to get them on? And, don’t get me started about trying to get out of them, I can’t be the only person who has been trapped and seconds away from calling 911 wth a SPANX emergency. May I suggest all shapeware now come with a free Life Alert system? It might come in really handy . . . just sayin’

Actually, now that I really think about it, I would not change a thing. I mean, after all of the tugging, yanking and contorting my body into poses not yet mastered by the most acclaimed yoga enthusiasts, combined with the hysterical laughing fit that ensues during all of this, I believe I must be burning a week’s worth of calories during this process, so, I consider it a win-win.


Brooke (60-Something Baby Boomer)

Our history is punctuated with examples of horrifying devices of torture. From the rack to waterboarding, contraptions of such maleficence would surely give Torquemada pause but none so diabolical as women’s shape wear. I use the generic term “shape wear” because that SPANX chick already has way too much dough and doesn’t need the mention.

Speaking of dough, the act of removing shape wear at the end of the night resembles thwacking a tube of Pillsbury Grands against the kitchen counter. The real you is set free, in all your squishy, gelatinous glory. Truly one of the most satisfying moments in the female experience. Body dysmorphia among American women is out of control. Interesting that, in an age of balls-out, take it or leave it feminism, shape wear has become a multimillion-dollar industry. Europeans don’t share this affliction, it seems. I live where many Europeans vacation. I can spot them as they walk the beach long before I’m in earshot of a German, French or other unfamiliar tongue. There they saunter in miniscule swimsuits, sagging butts and protuberant bellies proudly on display, pendulous breasts swinging. And that’s just the men. No shame in the European body image game. And then there’s me: vainly trying to suck in my thighs. (Note: don’t waste your time).

It’s a sad fact that, with age comes a frightening metamorphosis (just you wait, Amanda!). Gravity and that fun extra layer of insulation that appears around age 60 has even the skinniest of my friends squeezing into wearable sausage casing. You think Christie Brinkley isn’t shoving her 65-year-old ass into double strength compression underwear? Think again.

I’m guessing this group thinks I was born too early but actually, I feel I was born about 300 years too late. I would have been a hit in the Renaissance. Seriously, Rubens would have totally dug me. I’d have been a Baroque Brinkley.

pic_Fitness Level

Amanda (30-Something Millennial)

SPANX: a rite of passage!

Becoming a woman used to mean you got your period. In the 00s I think you’re a woman when you purchase SPANX for a special occasion. You haven’t lived until you’ve broken a sweat getting dressed and been on the dance floor at your best friend from high school’s wedding shaking it to the Cha Cha Slide while your shape wear rides up your thighs and sucks in your Pinot Grigio belly. It’s at that moment I believe you learn a BIG lesson in femininity: pick clothes that don’t require extreme spandex bike shorts that make your lady parts look like a pant-less Ken doll if the wind blew your skirt up.

Why be a stuffed sausage when A-line dresses are universally flattering and wide-leg pants are having a fashion moment? I’d much rather binge episodes of Queer Eye to learn to flaunt what I’ve got from the Fab 5 than surrender to most shape wear.


Lindsay (Fabulous Forties)

SPANX – a necessary evil.

I am at an age where I have bulges or pockets of fat. Bulges in places that seem unfair to have appeared. Can’t starve them off and can’t exercise them off…they are just there. They make that perfectly fitting dress, in all other areas, not so perfect. Who’s evil joke is this? What has gravity done to my body? Why are things not where they used to be?

SPANX can fix much of this, but which size and piece of SPANX is the solution? I have SPANX that still fold over when I sit down…embarrassed to admit this, but anyone who has worn SPANX knows it’s true. So is it too tight? I thought that was the whole point. TIGHT to suck it in. Do I need the one that goes over my shoulders to shape, or unshape, my whole body? I don’t need to flatten the breast area….I need to build those up! I know people who wear SPANX almost every day. I say “more power to you”, but when its 100 degrees outside with 90% humidity, you will just have to see my fat pockets. I am not going to feel like a slowly cooking rotisserie chicken while sweating through my clothes.

So I love it and hate it. I hate feeling like a tightly packed bag of flour and the additional time it takes to stuff myself back into the SPANX when I use the restroom, but I like the smooth look it gives me.


Can You Relate to Any of the Above?

Do you continue to squeeze yourself into the equivalent of a sausage casing on a regular basis?

Do you refuse to contort your body into unnatural positions just for the sake of vanity?

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10 thoughts on “Shapewear – Lifesaving Technology or Return to Girdle Enslavement?

  1. I like it when people come together and share views.
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  4. Enjoyed this thought-provoking topic, ladies!! Despite the difficulties of getting spanx on in the first place, and then struggling and swearing in the bathroom stall when you finally have to either go or burst, they are indeed a boon when facing a “major” social event—such as my recent high school class reunion. I think that rivals and possibly even trumps the wedding gown reason…..

    1. LOL, the bathroom stall struggles are the worst!!

  5. Thank you for the chuckle this morning, ladies. However, I cannot relate, since I never have and never will torture myself trying to stuff myself in a sausage casing. When you get to be my age, it’s “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” and go happily on your way with love handle hips and flabby thighs, and, of course, a glass of wine.

    1. YES! I am adopting this attitude because, frankly my dear, I like wine and don’t give a damn either! Well, at least not right now. We’ll see what happens when I have to fit into that dress for a special occasion. UGH!

    2. You go, girl!

  6. oh so funny gals ! ahhh … yes, things sure change as we age. i’m going with the aging like fine wine thing, it’s all better. 🙂 hum … shapewear ? maybe for a short time so it reminds me to do more situps ! 🙂

    1. Agreed, I will be disposing of all shapewear, I don’t need it to remind me to do my situps . . . the fine wine already does that!

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