By Adam Welsch
Naomi & Nicole®
Over the past decade or so, shapewear has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. It’s a favorite discussion topic of morning news programs and afternoon talk shows, and is frequently written about by fashion editors and bloggers. Many of the stars of the big and small screens promote their devotion to their favorite brands. But despite all of the signs of general acceptance, and the ever-expanding size of the developed world’s waistlines, most women today still don’t wear shapewear. One can’t help but wonder whether inaccurate, preconceived ideas about how shapewear looks, feels, and functions – by those who’ve never shopped for it or tried it on – aren’t causing this “usage disconnect.”
Of course it’s only conjecture, but I think more women would wear shapewear if they knew that manufacturers have created features and styles that address many standard objections to the modern descendents of girdles and corsets. The most formidable barrier to the introduction of shapewear to the average women is simply the notion that it’s uncomfortable to wear. While no one would deny that all shapewear creates a feeling of compression, that feeling doesn’t have to translate into pain or discomfort. For example, shapewear is available in a variety of control levels, spanning the spectrum from light to extra firm. Especially for the first-time user, light control garments can comfortably deliver a smoother look to tighter-fitting fashions with only a small amount of compression. These styles are constructed with only a single-ply of fabric that also makes them cooler to wear than those extra-firm, paneled styles incorporating two or three plies. Though all silhouettes won’t be available from every brand in light control, if you’re willing to branch out, you should be able to find waistline and hi-waist briefs and thigh slimmers, camisoles, pantliners, bodybriefers, and bra slips. Remember, you won’t look like you just dropped a bunch of weight in a few seconds, but your clothes will show fewer bumps and bulges.
The misconception of discomfort doesn’t only apply to issues of compression. Many women believe that all shapewear feels rough. But garments are available in fabrics that are quite soft to the touch. Luxurious blends of nylon and spandex not only give many styles a beautiful “hand,” they also often impart an attractive sheen to them. And the bothersome feeling associated with garment ride-up or roll-down – long thought to be a necessary evil associated with clothes that stretch with resistance – can be eliminated completely via a discriminating choice of styles. For example, certain brands incorporate a directly-applied, silicone finish to the edges of leg openings and waists that not only prevents such annoying movements, it also prevents lines from showing through clothes.
Price may also be a barrier preventing some women from wearing shapewear. But even when shopping for clothes on a tight budget, you should be able to find inexpensive, high-quality, functional, light control shapewear on offer at popular, mass-merchandisers. Though you may have to sacrifice an exceptionally luxurious feel to the fabric, you’ll still be able to find garments that won’t be rough on your skin or make you itch.
Some women shy away from trying shapewear because, though they’d like a smoother, more controlled look for their midriff, tummy, and back, they don’t want to be forced into making a choice between wearing a bodybriefer and sacrificing their favorite bra, or having to wear more than one piece of shapewear at a time. The great news here is that one of the newest shapewear silhouettes was created to address this very dilemma. It’s called the torsette. It looks like the black piece of clothing worn by the St. Pauli Girl and is made to address bulges of the midriff, waist, tummy, and upper back. Not only will it fit around your bust allowing you to wear your own bra, it’ll cover your bra straps helping to eliminate their unsightly lines.
So if you count yourself among those women who say they’ll never have anything to do with shapewear, you might want to stop and ask yourself why you feel that way. If your resistance to trying some has to do with the anticipation of discomfort, high expense, or brassiere sacrifice, you should reconsider your position. A lot of today’s shapewear is made for women who hate shapewear.http://www.flickr.com/photos/recycledstardust// CC BY 2.0 CC Image courtesy Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital// CC BY 2.0