Rejoice with me! I just dodged a bullet. Spanx has debuted a line of $148 “slimming” jeans that don’t come in petites! Woohoo! I don’t feel compelled to try them, and it’s not the excessive length or outrageous price that repels me. There are no jeans at any price that will turn me into a supermodel.
In my lifetime, I suspect that I have spent close to a gazillion dollars trying to convince the general public that I have the body of Twiggy (actually, I wanted to be Jean Shrimpton—google them, if you’re young).
I am no stranger to foundation undergarments and have great appreciation for what they can do and for what I am willing to tolerate under special circumstances, however, most of them have lived up to neither their hype and price tag nor to my unrealistic expectations. I have owned my share of panty girdles (with garters, no less, that’s how old I am), control-top panty hose, body shapers and slimmers, “Miracle” bathing suits (which are a miracle to get into and out of), Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, and, yes, Spanx.
And don’t get me started on bras. Once I catapulted beyond the training bra stage (once they got started, they really got going), I tried lightly padded, underwire, demi, plunging, convertible (into halter- and crisscross styles), strapless, sports, minimizer, T-shirt minimizer (an oxymoron—the padding negates the minimizing effect), and even some items made out of silicone that I do not wish to discuss at this time. I am astounded to recall that a costume designer for a play in which I appeared 15 years ago, convinced me to buy a Wonderbra, all the rage at the time.
“Oh, Suzanne,” he said, “You’re the only actress I know who wears the right foundation undergarments. And look at this fabulous vintage dress I have for you.” It was a spectacular red dress with a low, square neckline and the original label of a designer in 1950’s Havana, like nothing I would ever wear in real life.
“Oh, come on,” I protested. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ll wear a real bra instead of a minimizer. You don’t think there’s enough of me already?” Still, it was the perfect look for my cartoonish character, the fiery, jealous wife of a renowned Italian tenor, so I grudgingly relented. Thanks to that Wonderbra and a sashay in my hips that I discovered, I got a laugh every night just by walking onstage.
Apparently, there’s a family of women in southern California who aren’t bothered in the least by the size of their hips. Someone even gave them a television show where they get paid to sashay their curves all over the world, proving that women of all sizes are beautiful. One of the younger sisters is tall and super-skinny in the way that only young women can be, and one of her elders is, well, bigger than life. Or maybe it’s just the 10 pounds of hype that the camera adds.
I marvel every morning watching our local female meteorologists, well-educated women, stuffed into tight dresses with a serious collection of unintended rolls and lumps which no amount of exercise, dieting, or spandex can prevent. The bald, paunchy weathermen don’t wear Neoprene wet suits to inflate the latest impending storm, so why do they? The American Meteorological Society should include on-camera guidelines in their 100-question, closed-book certifying exam for broadcast meteorologists. This is probably why you don’t see older women journalists on television. Who can wear this stuff?
The Daughter can. And did, recently. She made the mistake of posting a selfie on Facebook, out on the town with her girlfriends in a new, tight-fitting white dress, much like those worn by those California sisters. She works out and isn’t a supermodel by any stretch of the imagination, but she looked fit. I had to blow-up the photo to inspect it for panty lines. I found no rolls or lumps, no lines, nothing, which confused me. Should I be happy that she wasn’t revealing too much, or concerned that she was “going commando”?
It’s probably too late to improve my parenting skills. The next time we talked on the phone, I had to ask about it.
“Was that a new dress you had on Saturday night?” I stupidly asked.
“Yes,” she cautiously replied.
“It fit rather snuggly.” Subtext: Your dress was too freaking tight!
“Yes, Mom, but my girlfriends helped me buy it and said it looked great, and a girl that I don’t even know came up to me and said she loved it. The back is really pretty, lace and scooped out. I’ll text you a photo.”
“Well, that’s nice.” Scooped out back?!
“But I had to wear Spanx under it, which is really annoying.”
Rejoice with me again! She is my daughter! I have raised another generation who knows the importance of foundation undergarments, another reason to sleep soundly. She does want you to know that we aren’t knocking Spanx, which are a vast improvement over girdles of yesteryear, but I’m sometimes actually upset to have them stifle a good meal in my favorite restaurant or make me sweat in places where I didn’t know sweat was possible.
For those of us who no longer feel compelled to wear form-fitting clothes or tight pants daily, I recommend that you save the Spanx for white pants (no need to share a view of your pretty flowered undies with us, thank you) and just wear a body shaper when you’re going to be photographed in a picture you or those you love eventually may see and/or show to their friends.
Forget the “control-top” jeans that won’t eliminate a muffin-top. Wear a tunic or jacket. Don’t trouble yourself with bathing suits that fit like a vise grip and adhere to your thighs when wet. None of them will make you younger, skinnier, or happier.
If they can get away with it in California (and Miami), so can we. I love you just the way you are. God loves us, hips and all. So, who am I to complain? Life is good (mostly). Soli Deo Gloria!