I wanted to write about my personal choice not to wear shape wear because I do feel as though it is something that is forced upon plus size women.
It has been three years since I worked full time at Lane Bryant. In those three years, I am almost certain that I wore Spanx every. Single. Day. To. Work. Even in the summer time. As an employee, I was required to wear up to date, stylish fashions to sell our brand to customers. And, in addition, believe it or not, we had a certain physique to uphold. This meant that I needed to cram my 280 pound body into spanx every day to smooth out my lumps and bumps because….well, I was basically modeling the store’s clothes for everyone to see. If I looked lumpy and bumpy, that made the clothes looks less attractive…and….well….you get the picture. Lane Bryant even went so far as to every so often give employees a pair of Spanx or Spanx tights for free.
Not to say that we were forced or required to wear the Spanx….but the pressure was on.
As a woman, we see in various forms of media women wearing shape wear. We’ve seen items such as Spanx on Oprah, the Red Carpet, in movies, in magazines and so on….But shape wear isn’t limited to Spanx; it could be any number of things, including a corset. In my opinion, shape wear means a foundational garment that changes or enhances the shape of your body in any way. Super hold ‘em up tights and panties can count as shape wear.
Now, I used to wear spanx all the time; under dress pants, dresses, skirts, etc. For a very long time, I was uncomfortable with the way my body looked, and I did enjoy how spanx smoothed things out and made a lot of my clothes lay better.
But then I stopped working at Lane Bryant and started working as a nanny. Wearing Spanx was not a realistic option for me; I was always wearing play clothes or jeans, etc. And playing with kids while wearing spanx is not fun. At least it wasn’t for me. And then I also gained about 40 pounds (oh the days when I was 315 pounds). I didn’t feel comfortable and I didn’t like the way that I looked. But I also was not wearing dresses or anything like that. Because I felt fat and none of my clothes fit.
Anyways, fast forward to the past year or so. I’ve lost that 40 pounds (okay; if we’re being honest, I’ve gained about 8 pounds back since starting my new job in March; stress and fertility meds have killed me, but I’m working through it) and I feel better about my body.
I’m not saying I don’t have a love hate relationship with my body….BUT, I don’t wear shape wear. Through gaining weight, losing weight, finally wearing the right size bra, and seeing my body in clothes that naturally enhance my figure without the extra bells and whistles (I do love a fit and flare dress) I’ve found that I don’t need shape wear to look good in my clothing. I do have days where I will put a dress on and think “Oh. This is really clinging to my belly fat.” And instead of putting spanx on, I grab a dress from the closet that isn’t very clingy, and I rock that for the day. I’ve gotten to the point in my own body journey where it’s okay if I have rolls when I sit, or it’s okay if I have back fat. I’m wearing the right size bra, underwear, and so on….so if it happens, it happens. I have a fat squishy body and that’s reality for now. And that’s okay. I know there’s more to me than my back fat.
I truly believe that no woman should be made to believe that she cannot wear dresses, skirts, or anything really without shape wear. It takes some time to get to know your body and to build your wardrobe with items that naturally compliment your shape, but it is totally worth it and totally freeing to know that you don’t have to have a bunch of layers on BEFORE you put your clothing on. I hope that every woman has at least 1-3 pieces of clothing that they feel confident wearing without shape wear.
Now, this isn’t to say that I am against shape wear; I think that it can really provide dramatic effects, and I totally get it and understand why people use it.
But just so you know…..you are beautiful as you are 🙂
**Sidebar: Any images of me wearing swimwear, dresses, bras, etc., do not include shape wear of any kind and are not photo shopped. What you see is the same thing my husband sees every day 🙂