Why I Won’t Ever Wear Spanx Again

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I was sitting at dinner with a bunch of female friends when one mentioned that she never leaves the house without wearing Spanx underneath her clothing. This was a few years ago when Spanx were just starting to become common, even a fashion given. Thanks to Kim Kardashian and friends like mine, body shaping became the coolest thing to do. Even skinny girls were shaping up and donning shapewear.

I was shocked by my friend’s confession. She was tall, thin, and had a great body. I recognized that one could be tall and thin and still need a little help smoothing out life’s lumps, but I couldn’t believe she always wore Spanx. She was surprised I never did.

I’m tall and have always been relatively thin(ish), but I wondered: Was I supposed to be wearing Spanx? Have I been embarrassing myself by just wearing clothing without any body shapers underneath?!

So, I got my first pair of Spanx and a bodysuit to wear underneath sleek dresses and tops. The Spanx were anything but cute to look at, but I could see the merits. They made my legs smooth, sucked in my post-babies tummy, and took a little width off my hips. The bodysuit was equally effective. It made me stand up tall and made everything smooth.

But here’s the thing: I found the experience of putting Spanx on to be totally humiliating. I felt like a sausage squeezing myself into a too tight casing. And I didn’t want my husband to see me in what I deemed the least sexy garment a woman could wear. Plus, I was sure he’d make a scuba suit joke and I just couldn’t face it. All night I was hot, the Spanx cut into my ribs, and I felt like I had a secret costume underneath my clothing, like I was undercover as someone trying to be thinner than me.

When I got home, I took off the Spanx as fast as I could and never put them back on again. Because that night, shoving myself into shapewear designed to hide my flaws, made me feel anything but beautiful. And as much as I didn’t want my husband to see me in them, the real reason I vowed not to wear Spanx again was because I didn’t want me to see me in them. Turns out my flaws were prettier than something designed to hide them.

My body isn’t perfect, but it’s not terrible either. My stomach is no longer flat, but two babies made that happen. My skin isn’t as taut as it once was, but time made that happen. And my shape overall isn’t quite as shapely as it used to be. That’s just physics, gravity, and age doing their thing. I hate that as much as the next gal, but Spanx made me feel ugly and dumpy — something my imperfect body even didn’t do. Spanx could wipe all my flaws away. I guess what I learned is that I don’t want them to.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I didn’t wish I had my 20-year-old body, my perfectly smooth skin, and my cellulite free backside, but my body isn’t so bad. Nobody’s is. So the real reason I don’t wear Spanx is I don’t want to hide my body, even as imperfect as it is. I don’t want to hide anything, even my flaws. So those Spanx I wore once, they went in the trash. I may not look perfect in a skirt or dress, but at least I look and feel like myself. And now I don’t have to face those dreaded scuba suit jokes.

Photo: Getty