Corsets, and Girdles, and Shapewear…Oh My! Five Considerations When Buying Shapewear

Thank goodness we don't have to wear these things anymore!
Thank goodness we don’t have to wear these things anymore!
\r\n\r\nOhboy…well, it’s that time of year again…when we’ve got to pull on the ole shapewear (or is that shape-where?) and head out to our holiday parties.  This is also the time of year when women make horrible decisions regarding shapewear, think about buying corsets for shapewear, or have no idea what to buy and purchase something that’s far more girdle-like than what they really need.  So, here’s some simple tips for purchasing the right kind of shapewear (trust me, I’ve been doing this thing since the 80’s…..)\r\n\r\n1.  Corsets that you find at the mall will not help you.  Do yourself, and the poor person who works in the store, a big, big favor and do not insist that you need a “corset” to hold in your “love-handles.”  Most corsets sold in malls are commonly referred to as “fashion corsets” because the boning in them is made of plastic, not the steel that a good, custom-made corset will have in it.  Oh, and don’t let anyone fool you into buying a steel-boned corset that is NOT custom-made for your body.  Any kind of boning, steel or plastic, that is pulled tightly to shape, and is not cut and measured to your body, could end up on a nerve meridian and cause numbing of the fingers or legs.  Not fun.\r\n\r\n2.  Waist cinchers are great!  But there are different kinds….  Waist cinchers can really give you that hourglass figure you’re looking for–but if they have boning, you might be able to see the boning through your dress.  So make sure your dress is heavy enough to hide a waist-cincher with bones (and usually hooks too.)  If you are purchasing a boned waist-cincher, make sure that you have to pull it super tight.  Boned waist cinchers do their job *only* when they are really tight.  Otherwise they will roll down.  The exact opposite is true for non-boned waist cinchers–if these are too tight, they will roll down.  That, however is not the case with all shapewear.\r\n\r\n3.  If it rolls down, or up,  it’s not for you.    Depending on the kind of material in the shapewear, and where the biggest piece of elastic is placed, rolling up or down could mean that it’s either too big or too small.  Try a different size.\r\n\r\n4.  One-piece does not mean it’s going to fix everything.  I’ve tried a number of one-piece shapewear disasters over the years, and this is what I’ve found:  one piece garments can make some things worse and fix nothing at all.  I’ve had ones to flatten my stomach which also flattened my butt, or ones meant to lift my breasts that lifted my butt and flattened my breasts.  Pick an area that you think needs the most shaping (usually it’s that “tummy bulge” ) and pick your shapewear accordingly.  Oh, and those one-piece slip things that allow you to wear your own bra?  My experience: horrid!  I felt like I was wearing a hobble skirt, for one thing (and yes, I did have trouble going up and down the stairs because of it.)   For another, the straps were too short and caused the garment to ride high into my armpits, thus showing whenever I moved my arms away from my body, and it wanted to squish my breasts and bra forward (for some reason) causing the underwire in my bra to dig in.  A godawful experience, and I wonder why I still have the stupid thing….\r\n\r\n5.  Make sure you can go to the bathroom!  When I bought my latest pair of shapewear–a high-waisted panty style garment (not the kind with the long legs to shape my thighs, I don’t need that) from Flexees–I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were hooks in the crotch area.  This means I do not have to struggle pulling the thing up and down when (not if) I have to go to the bathroom.  As most of you who’ve struggled with shapewear know, once the thing is up over your waist, squashing down that back-fat, if you have to pull the whole thing  down to pee, you will never get it adequately over your back fat for the rest of the evening.   Some older styles of one-piece or high waist girdles used to have either a split crotch, snaps, or hooks.  The split-crotch was the worst.  I don’t think I have to elaborate on that one….  Oh, and don’t worry about pantyhose.  Wear thigh highs.  By now you should know how to put a pair of those on and have them stay up.\r\n\r\nSo, there you have it.  Keep these five considerations in mind, and you should have no problem with your holiday shapewear doing what it’s supposed to do:  make you look beautiful!\r\n

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