A Molded Life
🔸🔶🔸 As we’re in the thick (no pun indeed) of the most jolly season of the year, with parties aplenty I feel the need to address shapewear. Shapewear, you might say, what’s that? Well, if you remember one infamous movie character by the name of Bridget Jones you might also remember an equally infamous scene where Jones attempts tucking herself into a pair of spandex tightening undergarments to appear, I don’t know, bump and lump free, for Mr. Daniel Cleaver. As with most things associated with Bridget Jones, this also goes somewhat to shit.
Deemed both empowering and antifeminist, shapewear are undergarments that predominantly women stuff themselves into in order to «smooth things out». Having about zero fancy dresses I have not felt the tight hard hug of spandex shapewear close to my skin, but some brands are definitely working the apparent need for these flexy textile bits.
Spanx by Sara Blakely is more or less synonymous with shapewear, after having cut the feet out of her control-top pantyhose to avoid pantylines in white pants — and subsequently showing her before/after to the buyer in the ladies room at Neiman Marcus. Actual story. She’s now a billionaire.
Kim Kardashian recently launched Skims Solutionwear, but faced some controversy after initially trying to trademark the brand as Kimono, i.e. attempting to trademark Japan’s traditional costume. Japan got involved, there was a weird non-apology from Kim on Instagram, but not really, and hey, we have Skims. Sanam Yar had a great piece about shapewear in New York Times this past October, where she wrote that by dubbing her line Solutionwear, Kim had perhaps unwittingly framed «women’s bodies as a problem». And that’s just the thing.
In one of the Skims ads Kim posted online she says a lot of people were complimenting her on how good she looked post-baby: «and I would say, that’s three pairs of shapewear, that’s not me».
The Solution Short from Skims made me lose a little bit of faith in humanity. The world is quite literally burning/drowning and we make... a spandex short with one leg, so that you can wear high slits 😳 The short is not reversible, so if you’re a slit-loving lady and don dresses with both right and left slits, you’ll have to get both 🤓
Skims have also launched a so-called «waist trainer», designed to cinch your waist, like a corset — something physicians say might very well hurt your internal organs for life if used enough. Some users have admitted to sleeping with the product.
Heist, a brand I’ve purchased two very high-quality pantyhose from, also dipped their toes into the shapewear waters this year and plastered the London tube with ads spelling out «Shapewear is anti-feminist, right» and have recently adopted this tagline “We want to build the most liberating underwear brand in the world.” But I think Heist and I might have different definitions of the word liberating.
Don’t get me wrong, I get the need for shapewear. I get the need for shapewear for people who feel uncomfortable not fitting into normative standards in a skinny-oriented big-bootie focussed world. But I don’t get shapewear as a “necessity”. I fall on the slimmer side of the spectrum, but after having a kid and the appearance of Heist shapewear and Skims, I’ve started thinking, maybe I also need this?
But in the spirit of the holidays, paired with my undying love of food and comfort, I’ve decided — no, definitely not 💬