I’m deeply ambivalent about shapewear. For years I thought it was the worst thing that had happened to the 21st century woman. I felt like there was a campaign to convince us that we all “needed” to be wearing Spanx, all the time, no matter what. I’d hear women in fitting rooms moaning about various body parts and how they were going to have to “fix” them. There is a shapewear garment of every possible permutation: control-top tights, bike shorts, unitards, smoothers, shapers, cinchers, even “shapewear bras”, at which I scoff, because well-fitted bras will be much more flattering than bras with weird back panels of shaper mesh. There are Spanx-like garments for your ARMS. The more shapewear products that are available, the more I stop in my tracks and think “Oh god, am I supposed to worry about my butt/ thighs/ back/ belly/ boobs/ arms/ elbows/ ankles now?” Ugh.
Speaking of Spanx, I went into Saks Fifth Avenue in Richmond when I was home for a wedding desperately looking for stockings with a back-seam. I was SURE Saks, of all places, would have some swanky hosiery. They had one display with Wolford and Hue control-top tights, and the rest of the hosiery section was Spanx. Spanx-brand tights, leggings, stockings, and shapewear, all designed to “solve problems.” The only problem I had was a bra-sized shaping slip with suspenders that needed some stockings, and hoity-toity Saks failed me. (I went to Victoria’s Secret. Turns out she’s good for something.)
Oh. See what happened? I was mentally railing against Spanx, but I wanted to find real stockings because I was already planning on wearing shapewear. But I wasn’t hating on my body! No! Um, it was “vintage-inspired”. And I was wearing a softly draping silk blouse. And I kind of adore the retro look of classic shapewear. And I wanted a smooth line under my clothes, and . . . um. Continue reading