Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Girdle by Any Other Name Would Feel as Tight

Now that I've managed to find an evening dress and shoes for my son's upcoming wedding, I went in search of the all-important body shaper, which I hoped would transform my torso into the smooth, slender shape the dress calls for. While I was dress shopping, the word on every saleswoman's lips was Spanx, as in "With a pair of Spanx to pull in your abdomen, that dress will look perfect." In the end, I chose a dress that fits pretty well without extra control, but I still wanted the most svelte look I could manage, so I set out in search of the perfect shaping garment.

Here's what I discovered—first, the only way to achieve a flatter stomach is by displacement, usually upward. Even the high-waisted body shapers don't manage to fully disguise what's rightfully mine. The only way to do that would be to get rid of it, either by doing a thousand sit-ups a day or losing a few pounds. Neither is likely to happen, at least not before the wedding.

My second and even more profound realization—Spanx and all the other shape-wear products are just girdles by another name. Those babies are tight. It was a struggle to get them on and, within moments of finally succeeding, I began experiencing a mild stomach ache. I started with the size suggested for me, then went a size larger. Not much better. I tried several brands, including one described as "light control." In all of them, I felt compressed and, worse, I didn't really look slimmer. Smoother? Yes. Armored? Yes. Ready for battle? Probably. But slimmer? Not really.

In the end, I found a satiny high-waisted garment by TC Fine Shapewear that doesn't feel too bad. My dress glides nicely over the satiny material, a plus. Still, I bought it mostly as insurance, just in case I eat too much at the rehearsal dinner and really need help. Otherwise, I plan to suck in my abs, hold my breath, and count on the fact that people will be looking at the bride, not me.


  1. When I was growing up, a girl was sausaged into a girdle at the age of 13 and kept there till she escaped after smoking pot for the first time. What a horror!

  2. The living Buddha Tao Ying enters the Dharma Hall and remarks to the assembled practitioners: "If you wish to attain a limitless result, you must become a limitless being. Since you already are such a being, why become anxious to bring about any such result?"