notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Mentionables

I figure I can squeeze one more post out of my nephew’s wedding. And “squeeze” is definitely the right word –  my subject is Shapewear.

Shapewear used to be called girdles. I am old enough to remember girdles. When I was fourteen, they were the only way to keep my stockings up.  They didn’t have pantyhose back then. They had nylon stockings which you fastened to snaps in a girdle or garter belt.

Skinny little girls like me didn’t need a girdle to hold their tummies in. But I didn’t have any hips either, so I couldn’t wear a garter belt for fear of having it end up around my ankles.

oops

So I wore a girdle.

But now  it’s called Shapewear. I guess that’s a more appealing name, and although there have been some technological advances, it’s still basically the same thing.

For my nephew’s wedding, I wore a tight little black dress that I bought two years ago for my high school reunion. I’ve gained weight since my skinny high school days, but at the time of the reunion I had lost a few pounds (there’s nothing like the fear of old classmates) and I was hoping for the wow factor. Wow is relative. This was my fortieth high school reunion. I fit into a tight black dress and I didn’t need a walker. So: Wow.

But I’ve regained just a pound or two, and even my original pounds seem to be having their own reunion around my belly, so I needed a bit of help. To give me a nice smooth line, I told myself.

Hence, Shapewear.

A couple of companies make these things:  Spanx, Flexees.  I think you need an “X” in the name to denote the hourglass figure you are hoping to regain.

Trying on Shapewear is an effort in itself. They are tight even when they fit  So if by accident you try on one that’s too small – well, good luck getting it off.

I chose a one-piece.  If you are as old as I am, it might remind you of Rudi Gernreich’s 1964 monokini. It was scandalous at the time, and it still is. But it works quite nicely as an undergarment.

my Flexee

This garment is firm, so I got my nice smooth line for my tight dress. And I bought it one size too big, so it didn’t dig into my crotch or my shoulders. I learned this lesson with one-piece bathing suits.

It has hooks (like bra hooks) in the crotch.  Years ago, I had a body stocking with snaps. When you put a little unusual stress on those snaps (‘unusual’ meaning sitting down), they had a tendency to pop.  Then what? Well, good thing my jeans went over the bodystocking, or it would have made an interesting slingshot. So hooks are an improvement.

You wear you own bra with this particular Shapewear get-up;  I suppose so they don’t need to produce a hundred sizes. And with the firm spandex holding in the rest of you, you get a bonus side-effect.Your breasts are the only loose parts – so they jiggle.

I am...ummm...under-endowed, so I don’t normally jiggle. It was a new experience for me. I loved it.  In fact, I am tempted to wear my Shapewear every day, and bounce my little boobies off. Except for one thing.

The bathroom.

We women have experience in fastening and unfastening hooks and eyes without seeing them because of our bras.  (Men only know how to unfasten.)  But grabbing the front and back ends beneath your crotch and refastening three sets of hooks is tricky. And when you’re in a narrow space (like the restroom stall), your movements can be even more hampered.

So if you happen to wear Shapewear to an event – like your nephew’s wedding, for example – and get up to go to the ladies’ room, remember to tell your spouse that you’ll be back in half an hour.

Thank God for Yoga.

****

Illustrations by yours truly

52 Comments

  1. Oh, heavens. I hadn’t even considered the bathroom conundrum. Might be worth a catheter to NOT have to undo the body armor.

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  2. Too true. Too true. The illustrations accompanying your post are VERY accurate. Been there, done that and it is not easy to get reassembled after a visit to the powder room. 🙂 I think Shapewear should come with a warning from the surgeon general or someone saying that wearing them can be detrimental to your health.

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  3. You’re hilarious. Great drawings! I remember garter belts- they were horrible.
    ah.. what price beauty!

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  4. You have started my day with a laugh. This is hilarious! A couple of things in your post resonated with me: we just had our 40th class reunion last night (NO, I didn’t wear one of these!), and I recall the days of those shirts with the snaps in the crotch. Interesting garments, for sure. Your images are great!

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  5. I am SO lucky I missed garter belts. I think even panty hose is too uncomfortable to wear. I am really liking the fact that it has gone out of fashion.

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    • I love pantyhose..they cover a lot of sins. I would wear them with sandals if I could. I wore them UNDER the shapewear, so I also had to pull them up correctly before tackling the hooks. (but I always buy my pantyhose a size too big…I don’t want to feel like I have to jump on a horse to get them all the way up.)

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  6. Awesome drawings! And the subject matter is oh-so-true. However, a boat load of confidence comes in the package with the shapewear when you’re feeling svelte. Men don’t do this, you know. They just let it all hang out.

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  7. Oh, and pantyhose are back, thanks to Kate Middleton!

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  8. RVingGirl

    as usual, terrific post. You do come up with the most unusual and yet all too familiar subjects. Last year I attended my 40th reunion. I had a cute back and white stipped dress and I looked FAB so I thought till I saw all the photos after……I looked like a rather matronly criminal! lol

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  9. Suzanne Tate

    Have just discovered your blog, and I’m loving it!

    I, too, remember garterbelts and girdles. Hated both. I once thought pantyhose was God’s gift to women…got us out of garterbelts and girdles; but now I hate them as well. I’ve never tried shapewear because I hated that immediately, just by seeing it.

    Sooooo…I guess there will be no reunions for me. I’ll probably end up just hanging out with some old hippies who don’t care about anything but their tie-dyed tee’s and jeans.

    Looking forward to reading your posts every day! Thanks for a good laugh.

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  10. I am of the girdle/garter belt era. Pantyhose were awful in the beginning! But I like em now. Never tried the new improved shapewear. It seems all the jiggly-wiggly stuff has gotta ooze out somewhere…

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    • I liked where mine oozed out.

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      • I might try some new shapewear if I can be sure the ooze would be attractive.

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  11. A great way to start a lazy Sunday! I have a drawer full of shapeware that I plan to give to my future grandchildren (well, hopefully only to the grand-daughters, but I will keep an open mind). Mine have neither hooks nor snaps. They have nothing at all and like a 1 piece you have to take everything off. Clearly a product designed by a man and purchased like an idiot (me).

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  12. I loved this post and your illustrations. Your breasts look quite full and perky to me but I am wondering if your nipples are supposed to be “looking” in two different directions! (Laughing).

    Spanx have a secret little slit for the bathroom. No hooks, snaps, or buttons!

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    • How in the world do you keep that little opening open?
      And ….Umm… those are my imaginary breasts, not my real ones.

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  13. What a great post — and the art is wonderful!

    Luckily (or unluckily) I always had hips, so a garter belt was my first nylons-holder-upper. (About as comfortable as the sanitary napkin belt that was used then too.) I didn’t buy my first girdle until the giggly skin on my belly after the birth of my first child shocked me into drastic action, i.e., a girdle.

    I have tried the one piece shapewear too but I now use a long-line bra and a shapewear bottom. I was doubtful that that combo was as slimming as a one-piece, but I was also ready to do away with the dread of having to go to the bathroom when wearing the one piece. But I have found my two pieces very satisfactory for giving a slim line under clothes that require it. And it gives me the flexibility to wear just the longline bra with control top pantyhose. btw, I always tuck the top into the bottom to keep it from riding up or rolling up.

    Thanks for inspiring old memories — especially one I hadn’t thought about in ages — the sanitary pad belt. 🙂

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    • Don’t remind me of those awful belts. When sanitary napkins came out with a little strip of adhesive, I thought a miracle had happened!

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  14. Kim Silent G had a video about a compact catheter that I guess would be useful in situations like this as long as you didn’t mix it up with your lip gloss.

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  15. Oh my gosh…so funny! How about a pic of your gorgeous self in this black dress & all?

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    • I haven’t seen the wedding pictures yet. And I like it that way. As long as I don’t see the photos, I’m still as stunning in that black dress as I felt I was.

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  16. Oh yes, giggling remembering girdles, garter belts, and all! I have some Spanx, but the little slit doesn’t seem adequate and I haven’t been brave enough to try. And besides, if you do wear pantyhose underneath, how would it work anyhow?! The catheter sounds most promising. Your artwork adds another dimension to the whole discussion-how talented you are. Thanks for a chuckle this morning.

    And of course, how about a picture of you in your LBD?

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  17. Your illustrations are hilarious and so is your writing. I’ve really been enjoying your blog! This piece hits home because you’ve ‘touched on’ the very reason I’ve never succumbed to buying one of those things. I would be terrified of the ‘bathroom experience.’ Glad you ‘squeezed’ this one out! It’s really terrific!

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  18. You’ve made ‘girdles’ fun..how is it you do that?!?! And – tell me – when wearing this shapewear – can you breathe?!?!?
    🙂

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  19. OMG!! I had forgotten the girdles with the garters!!! This post is hilarious, and it brings back some interesting memories! The things we used to/still do to reconfigure our bodies is hysterical in itself! Thanks for the laughs!!

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  20. Been there; done that: garters, girdles, pantyhouse, but not the shapewear. I even had a bodySUIT which was a beautiful black lace, long-sleeved shirt you snapped open and closed at the crotch too. I think the reason for the snap was so it didn’t roll UP or come out of your skirt or pant waistband. Loved the look but not the snaps. Yep, I had snap, crackle and pop.

    Thanks for the memories. Nice sketches too.

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  21. Oh my gosh–I just laughed until tears were streaming! Your drawings were great. I had my own experience with one of these “shapers” a few years back for my husband’s office Xmas party. I couldn’t even get it hooked at home so I laid on the bed and my husband had to hook me into it. I didn’t go to the bathroom at all that night because I knew I could never rehook it myself and didn’t think laying on the floor of the bathroom and asking someone else to hook it was an option. Never wore it again and gave it to Goodwill. Thanks for the memory!

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  22. I tried Spanx a few years back for a special occasion. I went up a size and still couldn’t get the damn thing on and off easily. I decided that unless it makes me look 20, no make that 30 years younger, I am not going through the hassle. Great post! (sanitary belts, omg!)

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  23. Funny post. And great illustrations!

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  24. OHHHH my……bounce and jiggle, the only way to roll!!!

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  25. When our oldest daughter married I tried on shapewear. Unfortunately it was so tight it rippled my fat and I looked like an accordion so I didn’t buy it. Your descriptions are great and now I am not so sad that I missed the experience.

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  26. “Shapewear” is better than “foundation garment” which makes me feel, you guessed it, as big as a house.

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    • How funny – I forgot they were called ‘foundation garments’!

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  27. first: so you are a talented writer AND an artist? super impressed with those accurate drawings. second: (true story). last year at hubby’s christmas party i wore body spanx with thigh high hose that stay up by “state of the art elastic technology.” yeah, i should have known. word to the wise – they DO NOT stay up. not without some sort of garter belt. which i did not have. result – hose around the ankles. BUT, i had an uber flat stomach while making a fast and embarrassing exit. ;o)

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  28. Fantastic! Fantastic! This gets a double fantastic. One – because I never know what kind of shapeware to get – there are so many options and places to firm or not to firm and it looks exhausting to me to even consider taking into the dressing room. You’ve narrowed it down considerably. The whole bathroom scene and predicament – great tip and I laughed out loud at telling your husband you’ll be back in 1/2 hour. To top it off – your drawings – love them. Okay – this is a triple fantastic! So glad I found your blog!

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  29. Hey I found the button! Love the illustrations. And so agree on every point you made about the X factor. That is what I call them.

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  30. I’m sitting here weeping with laughter. Haven’t thought about girdles and those poppers in years. Or about my mother’s attempts to get me to wear one. Was trying to explain to my daughter why this was so funny and she looked at me as if I had just arrived from the planet Mars. So nice to have found other people who understand what I’m laughing about. Just added you to my blogroll. Keep up the good work.

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  31. Doc

    I hit “Liked” because there was no button for “Loved”. Maybe a bit TMI in your descriptions and pictures? Well, here’s maybe a little more TMI in return. We were all- male and female, men and women, boys and girls- affected by girdles in those days. I would have lost my virginity about 6 months earlier if it wasn’t for those damn girdles. They were like elasticized chastity belts. I’ll never forget…, wait…, that will make an excellent blog one day.I think I’ll keep it to myself for now!

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    • Glad you liked the post. I know it’s TMI, but the “too much” part was the funniest. As a writer, I just couldn’t leave out the best parts! I hadn’t thought much about how it was from the boys’ side. Maybe that’s why moms liked girdles so much!

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  32. Whenever I need a real laugh I check out your blog. Love, love, love your humor. I need a friend like you in my life!

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  33. Very funny post. Men just have no idea the lengths we go to look nice.

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  34. Been there, done that. . .and that. . .oh! and that, too! 😳

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  35. Adding my voice to the chorus – the post is great and true, but your illustrations really make it. Are you sure you didn’t miss your calling as an illustrator?

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  36. Great description of the permutations we go through to look good. I think it’s easier to not eat and exercise. Great graphics, by the way!

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  37. OMG! This is so funny-love the drawings, too. I wore shapewear to a cocktail party, and afterward, I thought I was going to have to get my husband to cut the damn thing off. I loved how it held in my 49 yr. old tummy bulge, but….I may just suck it in next time.

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  38. Hilarious!!! The drawings are perfect. If I wear that leotard thing, will my breasts look like that?

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  39. Bwahaha! These are indeed some fabulous illustrations. The conclusion still has me giggling. So, too, does Renee’s comment just above, but THAT is another story! 😀

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  40. This is so spot on! I actually put my elbow out pulling up spanx. Good thing they make a good sling as well.

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  41. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but
    after reading through some of the post I realized it’s
    new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    Like

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