Thoughts on Shapewear and Body Positivity

History of Shapewear

On February 15, Spanx celebrated its 20th anniversary. The shapewear you see today was conceived with a particular vision of what the ideal body type was. It was designed when women wore bodycon dresses, let their thongs peek out of their pants, and showed off their abs with low-rise jeans. Clothing tended to be tight and sexy. For women that didn’t have the right body type for this sort of clothing, shapewear was treated as a solution.

Over 10 years have passed since then. Although the world has gone through many changes during this time, a lot of those old issues are still present. Even though the movement for body positivity has made a number of strides, it’s still hard for people to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror, even if they’re generally confident. Shapewear has always been promoted as a fast and easy way to solve problems, such as clothing that doesn’t fit properly, or a bumpy silhouette. It’s hard to deny that the strategy has been successful.

What Shapewear Can Do for You

Before talking about shapewear, it’s important to define what it is in the first place.

According to Precious Lee, a model who appeared in the campaign for Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line, SKIMS, shapewear is anything that’s designed to alter your shape. The model stated that she believed that shoulder pads and bras qualified as shapewear. The model also stated that she was fed up with beauty standards.

It’s important to be comfortable physically, but it’s just as important to think about your mental well-being. This can be difficult for a lot of people when shapewear comes into play. If someone like Kim Kardashian is marketing her shapewear with the word “solution wear”, it might feel impossible to maintain body positivity while using shapewear.

It can be nice to wear a tight dress without worrying about the fabric clinging to your stomach. However, Lee recommends going an entire day without wearing a bra, even if you’re going out in public. You might be more comfortable wearing garments like a bra or other types of shapewear. Or should you size up in bodysuits? However, it’s possible to be beautiful with or without shapewear. It all comes down to what you prefer.

It can be hard to even imagine a world like this. What if women felt free to wear what they wanted, without having to worry about social shaming or potential backlash? Are consumers helping to perpetuate beauty standards if they buy shapewear, or should they be free to wear what they want to wear?

It’s often said that all bodies are valid. However, sticking to those beliefs isn’t always easy, particularly if you frequently feel pressured to change yourself.

Ultimately, the best way to solve this problem might be to reveal the things that shapewear is designed to conceal. It’s important to remember that your body isn’t something that needs to be fixed!