Why Spanx can go and fuck themselves.

It’s probably safe to say that the Holy Grail of women’s fashion is finding that perfect item of clothing that looks and feels amazing to wear, is comfortable and flattering on just about everyone, and garners compliments every time you step out wearing it. For me that recently came in the form of a caftan. Not even a fancy and expensive one, but rather a colourful and intricately beaded number I picked up for $50 that suits my skin tone and is my new favourite thing in the world to wear.

Being super sheer and knowing I’d need some kind of slip, and not already having anything that did the trick, I went in search of a good old fashioned petticoat. I was thinking Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof style, something with a V neck that skimmed rather than slimmed and would spare the world the sight of my knickers, bra, and cellulite.

Two days and two separate shopping trips later I discovered that there are no ordinary slips or old school petticoats for sale. There is only shapewear. And one or two “slips” that are only slightly less constrictive than the shapewear.

Because apparently looking slimmer and smoother is more highly prized than having all your smalls fully on display under a completely sheer garment.

The swinging tags on the numero uno brand of shapewear, Spanx, promise to smooth and slim any woman into the sexy and sultry size six model shown in the picture. Some of their items look downright medieval and bondage-like. And it’s not like I don’t own any shapewear, obviously I too like to know that my post-four-big-babies-and-subsequent-weight-loss-tummy isn’t all jiggly under a fitted dress, but what I also accepted long ago is that no shapewear in the world can actually make you look that much slimmer. At best it will smooth out any lumps and bumps for a sleeker silhouette but it can not magically make the lumps and bumps disappear completely and make you look anything remotely like the model on the tag. 

I remember when shapewear was neither de rigeur nor big business. Full briefs that sucked you in were called girdles and were worn by your grandmother. The bigger and more heavy duty the garment the less likely anyone actually wanted to wear it. There’s no way on earth I can imagine myself or any of my friends, back before weddings and babies, getting ready for a school formal or wedding or special occasion and donning beige coloured under-boob-to-knee shapewear. There’s just no way, no matter our shape or size, that we would have put that stuff on.

But what really pisses me off is this:

  • shapewear is ALWAYS modelled on very slim models. It is then also no doubt airbrushed into further perfection. The results promised are ridiculous and insulting.
  • It’s always sold with the sometimes unstated but unmistakable idea that your clothes will look better with it underneath. You know, you can’t look like an actual human woman or anything.
  • It’s a large part of the whole industry that convinces women that they aren’t good enough. Not good enough without whatever they’re trying to sell you, including everything from shapewear to weight loss products and programs, to every other item that promises to “perfect” some part of you that is “obviously” inferior.
  • The fact that young teenage girls are wearing these things like it’s perfectly normal. I know that teenage girls now bear no relation whatsoever to teenage girls when I was one, at least according to Instagram, but for them to think that they need that shit is insane.
  • Make no mistake: the people behind Spanx and all their counterparts have got very rich by convincing us that they are selling the answer to all of our insecurities and body image doubts. And we’re okay with that because most of us do feel better when any hint of jelly belly or wobbly thighs or jiggly bum is strapped into submission.

We have our daughter’s high school graduation ball tonight. The male students are expected to wear a tuxedo complete with bow tie {which is actually hired for them via the school}, while the female students have to wear a long white gown. These girls are so beautiful it makes my heart burst, but I know that the majority of them will have some fucking item of shapewear on under their gowns. And while that might not be a problem for them it just seems completely fucked to me. The most I use any shapewear these days is a pair of full, light to medium control, briefs. I’m not skinny or blessed with a flat stomach {not even before babies}, and I’ve had four children. I’m exactly the kind of person shapewear was originally made for. The young girls in my daughter’s graduating class tonight mostly all have the kind of stomach I can only dream of. I’d be burning fucking Spanx in the street if I had bodies like my daughter and her friends, not wearing it.

So while the males tonight will have to put up with, at most, a stiff collared shirt or a tie that they’re not used to wearing, it’s a safe bet that the women in the room, young and old, will be tottering on feet-destroying heels while strapped in to constrictive bandage-like garments which deny any hint of actual female softness, and all this after having being waxed and spray tanned and blow-dried and manicured and made up and {probably even in some cases} starved to female perfection.

And we do it because that’s just the way it is, and sure, it feels nice to look good and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not women wanting to look and feel their best that I have a problem with, it’s the whole giant soul sucking and money grabbing industry telling us that we’re not good enough without all their crap that I detest. 

And despite the fact that I’ll no doubt take a hundred selfies in the car on the way there tonight because of how awesome I’ll look after three hours of preparation, there will be no moment sweeter and more satisfying than at the end of the night when I take it all off: the control brief, the heels, the makeup, the dress.

And tomorrow, I’m wearing the fucking caftan.








  1. LOVE THIS….
    I have bought and then proceeded to throw out so much shape ware it’s not funny. I always feel more depressed about my body when I’m wearing it.
    Congratulations on your daughters graduation, I’m sure you will both look beautiful tonight xx


    1. Yeah same, I used to torture myself with it but like you said it makes you feel worse.

      And thank you, they grow up so fast, can’t believe I only have the little one at school now.


  2. Is that St Pats? Do they still do that!!! I am with you on the shapewear on the young girls. They so don’t need it and I know some young girls that wear two and three layers of it!! On the upside though they are so strapped into the shapewear there is very little chance of the boys getting any action on formal night!
    Have a beautiful night and you will need to share a pic of you & daughter all dressed up xoxo


    1. Yeah, St pats still hang on to that debutante vibe which is a bit silly. The young girls in Spanx though, what is there to hold in!!! But you know what teenagers are like anyway: where there’s a will there’s a way, lol. But then again I don’t think we have that whole U.S. prom night vibe either, thank goodness.


      1. There you go I thought that would have been something they would have let go of by now! Thank goodness there isn’t that huge prom night vibe! Hope you had a great night!


        1. You know what, the girls all looked really bearing their white dresses. Really grown up and classy. And I think they all had a great night judging by the fact that my daughter just got home this morning!


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