Ladies Shapewear: Where Do You Stand on Weighty Issue, To Spanx or Not to Spanx?

by Carol Venuto

I've spent a lot of time thinking about my position on ladies shapewear and control lingerie and actually learned about myself in the process.

bold attire older woman
Red accessories, horizontal stripes, low-slung belt buckle deflect eyes from hips, tummy
draped tunic hides tummy
Well-cut tunic and flattering color draw attention upward

I really hated my stomach for years; it seemed to me that it stuck out way too far. If only I could lose weight, I thought, I'd look good and have a nice tummy.

Weight Loss Did Not Eliminate Muffin Top

About a decade ago I lost a lot of weight, not on purpose. And guess what? The stomach hadn't changed, and the extra leftover muffin tissue always found places to go.

For the next few years I kept trying to find ladies shaperwear with no luck. The major problems were sizing and making the midriff bulge more noticeable rather than pushing it in.

I always had to try on larger sizes, but each time I would have trouble even getting the garment on. When it was finally on, it was too uncomfortable.

It still happened as I regained weight and, unfortunately, too much. After continuing to try on shapers, I gave up.

Why Do Women Torture Ourselves to Fit Cultural Images?

As I was thinking about writing this, a question I had was why do we women sabotage our bodies to be beautiful or updated to the current trends?

This has happened for centuries. Think about a Scarlet O'Hara having a corset that was probably cutting off her circulation!

Corsets years ago were built with whale bones or metal. How uncomfortable but fashionable for the time.

Pioneer women wore long dresses that often caught on fire as they were cooking food. Many died.

Rich women in Newport, RI, went crazy as they aged because of toxins in their cosmetics. And today's ladies shapewear may be no exception.

Ladies Shapewear May Cause Infections

How does this relate to Spanx? Well, if you check Google for pros and cons, you'll see some cautions especially for those who tend to get vaginal or urinary infections.

A few women who were squeezed into their shapers like sausages injured a nerve in the abdomen, a more serious incident.

Recently, I came across a magazine article and TV program with doctors who were discussing the use of ladies shapewear, especially naming Spanx, and the consequences that may happen.

Layering Spanx: Too Much of A Good Thing?

The doctors claimed one actress at the Oscars who admitted to having three layers of Spanx and another confessed to two layers.

The physicians explained why ladies shapewear could cause problems. They recommended that women stick to one Spanx and wear it for a short period.

The magazine writer said to go ahead and wear the garment but not every day.

Obviously, neither they or nor I would tell other women what to do, just be cautious. Unfortunately, I have had a bad experience but am doing well now with my own methods.

Use Style Illusion to Disguise Midriff Bulge and Figure Problems

Today my weight is at a good level, and I have found ways to dress that defuse the problem. Here's where

TV and magazine stylists help. Here are my five favorite ways to keep the stomach in the background.

#1. Turn attention to another part of the body.

A necklace will draw attention up. A pretty scarf also works, perhaps fastened with an eye-catching pin or broach.

#2. A V-neck sweater or blouse will draw the eyes up.

We have more options than ever to use tops to our advantage. Ruffles, frills, lace, and architectural details -- such as Asian-inspired batwing sleeves -- focus people's attention where you want it so they never notice whether or not you have a nice tummy.

An effectively draped tunic top in a flattering color is another way to create the illusion of a nice tummy and keep attention above your waist.

#3. Some skirts and pants have a tiny bit of Spandex and will help control the tummy.

Pants are great for women with long legs because eyes will be drawn to them.

Midi and maxi skirts are on-trend and also can create the illusion of long, lean lines that make a dramatic statement that defects attention from midriff bulge.

#4. Garments of light fabrics will show stomach and muffin skin.

See-through garments are not your friend when you are creating style illusion. The magician doesn't have a hat of clear plastic from which he draws those pretty bunnies, does he?

The same goes for fabrics that cling to rolls of flesh. "Stuffed sausage" is not a good look.

#5. Ask someone to tell you what part of your outfit caught his/her eye first.

When asked my husband today, it was the necklace first, then my jeans.

Overall we tend to critique ourselves too much. Another eye can give us a balanced picture.

The Truth You Don't Want to Know

Additionally, it helps to shape our bodies in other ways.

1. Core training.

Strengthening exercises for abdomen will help your muscles perform as a natural girdle. Who needs shapewear when your body is in pretty good shape?

Walking and other exercises also help design your nice tummy.

I am lucky to have a gym membership and a trainer. My trainer tells me I already look better and have better balance.

You can exercise with a friend or use DVD if you can't afford the gym or trainer. Silver sneakers is free from some insurance companies.

2. Cardio.

I walk or use my cycle at least four times a week. Cardio exercise gets your weight down and also gets the feel-good brain chemicals, endorphins, flowing.

When you feel good and know you've done your best to look your best, you probably won't worry so much whether or not you need ladies shapewear.

3. Not dieting but coming up with a nutritional plan for the long run.

Good nutrition promotes good physical and mental health.

All of this didn't happen to me overnight. As we all get older, our body parts tell us that we are getting old, even though our brains are still not believing it.

That means some setbacks and meltdowns can occur, but we Athenas (my fashion arcehtype) are practical and can carry on. Now I really love my tummy! And I did it without ladies shapewear.

To Spanx or Not to Spanx?

Do you wear Spandex and elastic ladies shapewear? Why or why not? Tell us about your experiences. Responses shorter than 50 words probably will not be published. We reserve the prerogative to edit submissions to fit our editorial style.

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Here's the Skinny on How Other Women Feel about Body Shapers

Click below to see contributions from other readers.

Look Especially Good and Feel Great on Special Occasions in Shapewear Not rated yet
Shapewear? No, not for everyday wearing because I don't want to feel limited in my breathing or moving. But there are special occasions(like weddings) …

robin Not rated yet
I've always been slender and don't eat much to stay that way: a smoothie in the morning and mostly veggies at night -- that's it. A splurge here and there, …

Nay or "Hey, That's Great": Where Do You Stand on Elasticized Lingerie? Not rated yet
No I don't use spandex. I live in Florida, and it's too hot and humid. I wish I could. I understand it helps tone as one exercises. My friend, who …

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