Burn Your Shapewear (and Wear this Instead)

'Shapewear' is really just a code word for overpriced vagina death chambers.
Publish date:
January 8, 2016
feminism, shapewear, granny panties, chub rub, tank tops, slips, Vagina Death Chambers

I cannot tell a lie: all shapewear as you currently know it is for suckers. Everyone within earshot of this post should stand up and immediately throw any and all shapewear they currently own directly into the nearest trashcan.

Yes, I'm a wardrobe stylist preaching AGAINST women wearing shapewear, because the truth is that nobody enjoys peeing through a hole in their undergarments — and 'shapewear' is really just a code word for overpriced vagina death chambers.

That's not to say that undergarments with some sort of structure and shape have no place in your closet! But don't torture yourself with contraptions meant to squeeze your organs in all directions when there are plenty of comfortable foundation garments that provide simple smoothing and coverage. (Smoothing as is making sure there are no distracting undergarment lines peeking out from underneath a sleek garment, and coverage as in making sure your cheeks are covered in case a sudden gust of wind blows your skirt up around your ears.)

Wearing a proper foundation garment shouldn't be a painful, masochistic exercise. So just go burn your existing shapewear already and wear the comfy stuff below instead.

(Which reminds me, did you know that the myth of the bra-burning feminist is just that — a myth? The feminists at the 1968 Miss America beauty pageant demonstration simply threw some prop girdles, cosmetics, high-heeled shoes, and bras into a trash can symbolically. The 'burning' analogy was the clever hyperbole of a lone newspaper headline writer.)

Skimp Skamp Brief by Bali

Yes, I'm really recommending that you wear granny panties instead of Spanx. The idea that granny panties are some sort of horrible, shapeless floral cotton sacks that only un-sexy women wear is a total crock. Thongs are so yesterday — and a good pair of granny panties is the perfect stand-in for uncomfortable shapewear, as the high waist banishes lines across your stomach and the full-coverage bottom nixes panty lines completely. When the seam of your undies nestles neatly in the shelf under your bum, absolutely nothing shows.

Bali's Skimp Skamp Briefs are also made with a super-thin nylon that utilizes a clever center back seam, which keeps them from riding up — and keeps the panties themselves from having any annoying side seams to show under clothes. Hide that panty seam in your crack and never look back, ya know?

The Major Mini by Jewel Toned

I'm a big-time fan of Jewel Toned's incredibly perfect 'Major Mini' slip. It's a supremely comfy way to create a sleek base layer underneath any clingy garment. It comes in a bunch of blazingly cute colors, provides enough coverage to wear on it's own as a dress, and is the perfect piece to go under anything that may be a bit sheer or revealing. I find it so comfortable that I've actually come home, peeled off my work clothes, and kept my Major Mini on as a nightgown. Can you say THAT about any other shapewear you currently own?

Shortlettes by Undersummers

Into every woman's life a garment will eventually fall that absolutely, positively, needs a pair of long-line shorts underneath it.

But don't make do with a constricting torture garment that threatens to cut you in half like a cartoon window shade — wear a pair of Undersummers instead. These anti chub-rub, silky soft, totally breathable panty shorts come in endless colors and in sizes up to 4X! (Plus they are crazy cute when peeking out from underneath a skirt that may be a bit too short.)

The Lena Tank by Yummie

My favorite shapewear hack is wearing a streamlined nylon/spandex camisole under any shirt that needs a little more coverage. Yummie's 'Lena' tank is snug enough that it doesn't ride up but so cozy that you'll forget you have it on. (And those of you with small boobs will find it's a great stand-in for an uncomfortable bra.)

Classic Control Skort by Commando

Your grandma was right: slips rule! How else are you meant to keep your skirt from getting caught between your legs while dancing? The fact that this Commando slip is tacked onto to a pair of long-leg boyshorts guarantees zero creep-up factor. Commando's products (I'm a superfan of their undies) are all like big, warm, supportive body hugs, and this particular slip is no exception. It creates a sleek silhouette under clothes without strangling your guts to bits.

So go ahead, babes — quit reading this, burn your shapewear down to the ground, and just be comfortable already.

Alison Freer is the author of 'How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing'.