A few years ago when I was getting ready for my sister’s wedding (I was the maid of honor), I discovered that the dress I had bought months earlier was suddenly a bit too snug. (I’d never worn it or washed it but somehow it had shrunk in my closet. So peculiar…) To keep from looking like a sausage in a frilly, flowery casing, I decided to try one of those popular body-shaping undergarments. Anything to just smooth out the lumps and make me not look quite so Jabba-licious in the photos next to my very slim little sister was all I needed.
Using the sizing chart on the back of the package, I picked out one that allegedly was going to fit. Being that the sizing chart used was very similar to the sizing charts on the back of pantyhose, I should have realised I was in danger. Following those charts, I usually end up with a pair of hose where either the crotch starts mid thigh or my legs aren’t long enough and I end up with sagging stockings around my ankles. (I am ever so grateful to be living in LA because I can get away with not wearing pantyhose.)
The day of the wedding, I’m trying to get into this… device of torture… and I decided that the person who had invented this thing had been attacked by a boa constrictor and, in the midst of having the life squeezed out her, happened to see herself in the mirror and thought, “Oh, well I do look a bit skinnier, don’t I?”
It took me a good amount of time to shimmy into that sucker. The heavy, flesh colored fabric was so rough and it was made to fit so tightly that I began to wonder why they didn’t recommend you put it on with dish detergent much like putting on a wet suit. I’m amazed I didn’t get any type of burns from the fabric, but I figured the friction it caused was meant to help it stay put. When the garment was finally in place, I felt triumphant for having gotten it on while also feeling like I was stuck in a very tight hug. The style was similar to a pair of high-waisted biking shorts – all the better to even out all problem areas, I thought. I discovered that it worked fine as long as I didn’t move much at all and never had to pee. Fine for a first date drink and a movie. Not so fine for when one is in a wedding party. But for at least 30 minutes I looked great.
Pre-wedding, as I had to rush around with the sudden list of tasks my sister had given me, I found that the waistband of my undergarment preferred to be at my actual waist as it slid down and started bunching up there. In front of my family, I had no problem doing a little adjustment shimmy to get it back up where it belonged but, once guests started arriving, it became an annoyance to run back and forth to the bathroom to fight with it. Eventually the rest of the garment followed suit, choosing to shift to the areas of least resistance and actually squeeze the skinnier parts of me enough to make the bigger parts even bigger. I guess by body shaping, they meant shaping my body into a balloon animal??
The other issue was that the bands around my legs were soooo tight and they just seemed to get tighter and tighter until it just stung. Even though the dress wasn’t terribly snug, you could actually see where the undergarment ended as it attempted to form a tourniquet mid-thigh. At one point during the reception, I considered taking the damn thing off, but as I wasn’t wearing any other underwear, I was certain doing so would just lead to one of those embarrassing moments that gets caught on camera and is passed to everyone on the internet until you find yourself in a job interview with someone who can’t look you in the eye because they’ve already seen your wax job.
And forget going to the bathroom. Though the garment was made with a little gap for you to pee through, once I actually had need of it, I realised that there was no way I wasn’t either going to pee on the garment or my hand. So I treated it like underwear, which then meant another 20 minutes in the stall trying to get the thing back up while people impatiently knocked on the door. Had they really thought this through, the inventor would have provided a handy catheter.
I was so happy when I finally got home and could take off that thing. I’ve never worn it since and had sworn off all body shaping garments. There are many who believe that beauty is pain, but I am not one of them. Life is too short! (Plus, if you suddenly find yourself with an attractive man and on the verge of a night of passion, the last thing you want to do is tell them to wait 20 minutes while you try to extract yourself from one of those garments or try to explain the unseemly welts on your legs.)
So fast-forward to last month when Moira asked me to try out some body shaping garments. My first reaction was to run for the hills, but I have a bad knee and with all the holiday dinners, running just isn’t my thing right now. And since Moira’s a friend, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try out a pair; though I was not optimistic. Fortunately I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Hanes sent me a pair of Bali One Smooth U Hi-Waist Briefs and I took them for a test run – once to a holiday party in a bar in Downtown LA and once at work. The first thing I noticed was how easy they were to put on and how comfortable they felt thanks to the satin fabric. No 20-minute shimmy needed to put them on and, instead of feeling like I was wearing a pair of long underwear, it felt just like any other pair of panties, albeit ones that hugged me a bit more. The waist and leg bands were nice and flat so they didn’t squeeze and don’t stand out under clothing and the fabric information is printed right on the garment so there’s no itchy tag to deal with either. The best part though is, because they were a high waist style, I didn’t have that annoying line around my middle. (Nothing worse as a full figure gal than to look like you have an equator.)
For the holiday party, I wore a pair of slacks that I’m just now able to squeeze into again. I found that they were easier to slip into with the briefs because of the smooth fabric. And in the mirror I didn’t detect any panty lines – always something a lady likes to avoid when going out, especially if she’s hoping to meet a guy. I had a great night out and never once had to rush off to the ladies room to put my undies to rights.
The real test, though, was when I wore them to work because I’m constantly moving – sitting, standing, walking, kneeling – which can lead to a lot of unintential wedgies if your undergarments don’t fit just right. Again, no loosey-goosey waistband, no chaffing at the leg and no worries that anyone would think I was smuggling dinner rolls in my pants due to unfortunate lumpiness. I just put them on and forgot about them.
If you are looking for something to give you a better shape under those body-hugging outfits and that won’t put you over your budget, (seriously, these are about half the cost of some of the other shapewear out there,) I recommend you try a pair of these. It can be hard enough dressing to impress a potential boss or love interest without having to suffer in pain due to uncomfortable clothing or being constantly distracted by misbehaving undergarments. A pair of these can help eliminate one worry while being kind to your wallet as well.