In 2006, Gwenyth announced at an award ceremony that she was wearing Spanx, and that all the Hollywood girls do it. Many of those “Hollywood girls” have gone on the record to say that they rarely arrive to an event or set without a little “support”. Since then, Sara Blakely, the company’s founder, was named the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire by Forbes. Kudos to anyone who can make girdles cool and become a billionaire along the way.
Lots has changed in these past two decades. The word “Spanx,” which once referred to a specific product line, has become the word that references any and all shapewear. More importantly, the shapewear industry has boomed, shifting away from one composed solely of super-restrictive sausage casings, to one of more comfortable, versatile products. And guess what? I’m a fan.
I’m proud to say that I’m in much better shape than I was 20 years ago when shapewear was not a part of my vocabulary. HOWEVER, a few things have happened since then. Four children later, this stretched out belly shows a bit more than I’d like in certain pieces. Secondly, most product lines (that are within my financial reach) have done away with lining. Lastly, I’ve become very particular about the way I look in clothes, wearing more fitted and tailored pieces. Meaning panty lines, jiggles, visibly tucked shirts, and exposed bras are avoided whenever possible.
Here are the types of items in my personal “shapewear” arsenal that I faithfully rely on, with links to those and similar products:
I LOVE my Retro Briefs by Spanx. I’ll admit that I rely on a thong for daily avoidance of panty lines, but turn to briefs when wearing a fuller knee-length or midi skirt. The cheek-covering brief gives me some extra confidence JUST IN CASE there is a windy moment and I’m forced to expose more than I anticipated. I also like the Sexy and Smooth Commando Thong, for those of you want the belly support but no VPL (Visible Panty Line). The Spanx Everyday Boy Short is also a cute option under a full skirt.
Yes, women still do wear slips. I wear my half-slip for one main reason: to hide and smooth a shirt tuck under a fitted pencil skirt. My go-to slip is the Spanx Two-Timing reversible half slip. It smooths my tuck without feeling restrictive. I love the lace on this Commando half slip from Bloomingdales. Full slips like this one from Wolford are a great way to provide a smooth base layer under a sheath dress. (ALL Wolford products are absolutely gorgeous… hence the price point!)
I get so much use out of my skin-toned microfiber tank, used primarily to conceal a bra when wearing any blouse that is somewhat see-through (think lace, chiffon, etc). It also helps to eliminate bra lines if wearing a very fitted shirt. This Whisper Weight Tank by Commando has great stretch and creates a comfortable layer. I also love wearing bodysuits as layering pieces, like this amazing Commando faux leather bodysuit, which I could totally envision wearing with jeans and a blazer. (FYI: Violet’s of Saratoga has an amazing selection of Commando products, including some of their faux leather pieces!) There are also a variety of camis available with more high-functioning belly-shaping panels, like the Maidenform cami shown above.
Shapewear companies continue to expand their product lines to include more and more apparel, with a focus on leggings. I have personally ADORED Yummie leggings since I first put them on. Shortly after having my second baby, I was shopping at a department store in NYC and whimsically picked up a pair because I loved the subtle sueded leopard print, similar to these faux suede reptile print ones. I had never spent close to $100 on leggings in my LIFE but OMG. They washed beautifully, were SO soft, and were the perfect match for my postpartum belly. There is nothing girdle-ey about these. Just a soft, high-waisted panel that, even today, makes me feel slightly less jiggly. I also love the look of moto leggings, like the ones shown above from Spanx. Specialty leggings are also making their way to more formal events, like these Commando velvet leggings with tuxedo stripes. Oh the holiday outfit options!
This is my go-to layer for super-fitting floor length gowns in non-summer months (way too warm in the summer!) Spanx has several waist and support level options. I find high-waisted versions like the Spanx Higher-Power Capri more comfortable and less likely to roll when compared to the mid-waisted version, like the Skinny Britches, shown above. However, bathroom runs with a gown and high-waisted capri do become complicated, so don’t break the seal.
You have to consider your goal when choosing shapewear: are you looking to smooth, shape or conceal? In my case, the outfit completely determines the answer to that question. Also, don’t be afraid to go up a size or two if you’re achieving your goal but feeling a bit too sausage-ey. I’ve done it many times.
So there you go. I’ve given you full x-ray vision into all of my outfits. I have no shame. I’m one of those girls who has NO problem asking for help when I think I need it. My philosophy has always been… if you feel good in it, you’ll look even better in it. The radiance that comes with this extra confidence is an added bonus. Kind of like the little trial packets they add to your Sephora order.