Spanx have long been seen as the purview of red carpet celebrities and women who enjoy the torturous feeling of having their internal organs compressed into one smooth, solid shape, but this new branding campaign is attempting to change all that. The New York Times reports that Spanx is suffering from growing pains. Women are slowly moving away from contorting to meet unrealistic standards, and with the rise of athleisure, are moving towards comfort over everything. Spanx, a particular brand of torture device that takes the traditional girdle and makes it slightly more comfortable, is trying their best to catch up:
Spanx’s new chief executive, Jan Singer, the former head of apparel for Nike, said she was keenly aware of the brand’s predicament. Since taking helm at Spanx in July, she has also started to stress comfort and to offer more solutions that just shrinking.
Two new products, the Everday Shaping Panty and the Pillowcup Bra promise comfort and a gentle restructuring of your soft, tender flesh, as opposed to the traditional locked-and-loaded silhouette offered by shapewear. If you want to feel even better about the fact that you’re wearing what is essentially a giant compression stocking around your midsection, Spanx now ship with a light dose of “feminist inspiration” — a card that reads “Don’t take yourself or the ‘rules’ too seriously”.
It’s great that the retailer is taking note of what’s actually going on, and trying to evolve with the times. I even understand the quiet thrill in putting on shapewear and marvelling at the instant transformation, but I know that I would be hard pressed to leave the house feeling like a sausage. The entire notion that a woman’s actual, real shape needs to be concealed or contorted to fit some sort of unrealistic ideal is thankfully easing its grip, but Spanx’s mere existence and market dominance is enough to tell me that we haven’t come that far, at all.
So, if you want to be comfortable — a revolutionary concept — while also concealing the fact that you ate a burrito and then some tres leches cake for both lunch and dinner, don’t sweat it. Spanx has got you covered.
[Image courtesy of TheSpanxBlog]