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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Illustrations by yours truly