THE BLOG
04/12/2013 03:26 pm ET Updated Jun 12, 2013

Shape Wear: A Seamless Lie?

My first time wearing shapers was a few years back at a bachelorette party -- I was on the better side of 30 and a nightclub was on the docket. In an attempt to fit in with club style, I chose to wear a nude micro mini skirt. There is really no way to look perfect in a nude micro mini -- regardless of how many Physique 57 classes you attend. I chose a pair of nude Spanx to go under the skirt and took a deep breath. Cut to 5 hours later in the ladies room, fueled by multiple tequila shots, I forgot I was wearing an extra hidden layer. I not-so-gracefully fell. Hard. So hard, that the door flew open and I had to be helped off the floor -- with my skirt around my ankles and Spanx firmly in place. Was looking seamless worth it? And more importantly, did I really look seamless?

Spanx has become as synomous with shape wear as Kleenex is to tissues. It is a booming business with dozens of brands. There is lace, ruching and a variety of colors. Personally, I am still digesting this here-to-stay market for women.

Hello. My name is Ann and I have worn shapers two times since the bachelorette party. They aren't a part of my everyday wardrobe -- but as a stylist, I can't argue that they make even the slightest model appear more seamless in a garment; just as numerous pins and binder clips make every model shot look perfectly tailored in your favorite glossy.

I brought this topic up to a few friends -- one very opinionated male friend made an interesting point. He proclaimed shape wear is the 'true deception' women pull on men. Not fake breasts, hair extensions or any of those other beautifying tactics women take to be...well, hot. He continued that they are impossible to get off (good point there, too), and then things just don't look the same once they are. Hey man, at least they're doing their job!

My best girlfriend when asked about shapers replied, "Isn't it just better to wear clothing that actually fits and is the correct size?" (Yet another great point.) She continued, "I would never wear them. Even though I'm sure I would benefit, I'm a big believer in wearing undergarments that make me feel sexy."

I'll never forget a desperate phone call from a very stylish man friend last summer when he had gained a few extra pounds and couldn't fit into his Armani suit for a wedding. "Are there Spanx for men?" he inquired frantically. This was a serious phone call. And there is -- all sorts of styles for the torso area... they even come in a V-neck form to wear under a t-shirt. Shapers don't discriminate.

On the other hand, I do know some people (and ahem, celebs) that won't leave home without them. As with many things, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of diverse views. As for me? I won't leave home without them in my styling kit, however I don't think I'll be wearing them to a birthday party tonight. Shape wear isn't going anywhere, which for many is a sigh of relief (that is if you can still sigh). I just hope the masses wear them in moderation in hopes that one day we aren't all wearing full shaper bodysuits as the norm.

Whether you are an everyday wearer, or just a special occasion kind of gal (or guy), I have some tips:

1) Make sure to pick the area you want to 'shape'. Know what your assets are.

2) If you shape one area, sometimes another becomes overly accentuated. Example: shaping the muffin top - could create 'back fat'.

3) Don't forget you have them on when you are... say, at a bachelorette party and go to use the bathroom. You might fall.

4) Most importantly, wear what makes you feel good.

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