Every day Life
By On The Cusp
Isn’t this the generation that was supposed to be the liberated from our underwear? For centuries, woman suffered from tight corsets and girdles. Who can forget the famous scene in Gone with the Wind, where Mammy pulled ferociously to help Scarlett O’Hara bind in her 17-inch waist? Up through the 1960s, girdles were part of the standard dress code.
Our mothers and grandmothers showed a little more sense and staged a revolution in the 1960s, shrugging out of their girdles and burning their bras in the 60s and early 70s. Lumpiness and sagging was in, rigid underwear was out.
And then along came Spanx. The product was created by Sara Blakely in 2000, after she unsuccessfully searched for a solution to improve the way she looked in a pair of her cream-colored pants. The undergarment didn’t exist, so she set out to create it. In 2012, Sara became the youngest self-made woman to make the Forbes Billionaire list. That’s a whole lot of Spanx.
While I had heard of Spanx, I always thought they were for fashionistas, of which I am not. My first close encounter was about 10 years ago at a high school reunion, when I accompanied a friend – in the jock clique at school - to the ladies room. “It’s going to be awhile,” she informed me. “I’ve got my Spanx on.” Ten minutes later, she emerged, looking sleek and victorious.
A few months later, panicking over an upcoming business trip and an over-indulgent month of indulging, I succumbed and plucked down my credit card, hoping for a slight improvement. Pulling the tiny nylon garb out of its package, I wondered how the heck it could get over my foot, never mind up my leg. I tugged and pulled, sucked in and yanked, sweated and wiggled some more… and lo and behold, there it was. My body looked more toned, less lumpy. And miracle of miracles, my jacket actually buttoned without straining. I immediately became a convert.
While I wasn’t quite ready for the paparazzi, I felt great. In the space of 10 strenuous minutes of tugging, I had quite literally achieved a more pulled together look. By putting on what the previous generation had cast off, I gained a little more freedom, a little more confidence in my outward appearance.
Turns out, some of those ladies on the red carpet share my love of Spanx. And it’s not just Oprah. Willowy celebrities Cate Blanchett and Gwyneth Paltrow have publicly admitted to the role of Spanx in achieving some of their sleekness. And I recently read that Adele wore not one but four pairs of spanx underneath her designer gown to the Grammy’s. Can you imagine her helper in wardrobe that night? Or the line in the ladies room, as the famous and merely rich wait and wait for their turn to tug, pull, yank and then reverse steps?
So, ladies, who among you are shapewear converts? And who is reading this with pity for me and others with our Spanx-ing new bodies? Let’s hear what you have to say!