Shapewear is the undergarment industry’s gift to women. When girdles got a friendly makeover, most prominently with Spanx, women were flocking to the department store to pick them up. Shapewear was a must-have because it helped women smooth over lumps and bumps under form-fitting clothes. It got to the point where if a gust of wind revealed a celebrity’s shapewear under her dress, no one even lifted an eyebrow. It was an accepted part of every woman’s wardrobe and even some men got in on the action.

Fast-forward to today and like any good thing, women are taking the shapewear craze overboard. I’ve heard cases of women doubling, even tripling, on a pair of Spanx which begs the question, “Girl, why don’t you just go to the gym?” There’s only so much shapewear can do to trim your tummy if you’re not doing your part of eating healthy and staying active.

What’s worse is we’re so used to the perfectly taut tummies of our favorite celebrities that when they step out without shapewear, all hell breaks loose. Take Beyonce’s latest outing, for example. The superstar hit the town with her husband for an intimate party to celebrate the launch of his cognac, D’USSE at La Marina in Washington Heights. She dressed up a bit for the occasion in a leopard print Roberto Cavalli dress in her signature form-fitting silhouette. And gasp, she forgot her Spanx.

The rumor mill started churning with claims that she was pregnant with baby No. 2. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the media circus surrounding it. Yes, it’s feasible Beyonce could be pregnant but it’s a lot more likely that her blink-and-you-miss-it pouch is simply the result of wearing a clingy dress without shapewear.

And it is certainly not newsworthy.

I am a huge advocate of staying healthy, fit and active, but there are few women I know whose bodies don’t have a lump or bump somewhere and that’s perfectly okay. Shapewear shouldn’t be a necessity before you step out the house — nor should it be a crutch that keeps you out of the gym.

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes and Gents? Are some women too dependent on shapewear?

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  • Just Me

    I own a couple pairs of Spanx, but I rarely wear them (maybe once or twice a year). I find them uncomfortable, and I would be mortified if someone caught me wearing one.

    I don’t have the perfect body, but there are plenty of clothing options that are both sexy and are good at covering up your flaws while showing off your assets. Everything doesn’t have to be skin-tight to look sexy.

  • Gigi Young

    Er, Clutch needs to bone up on its fashion history. Spanx–and its popularity–is just rejuvenation of the girdles, corsets, etc women wore until the women’s movement of the 1970s saw them as symbols of oppression and the patriarchy. All those photographs of Dorothy D and Lena H that we coo over are not only touched up and taken with expert lighting, but are photographs of women wearing girdles, garters, bullet bras, and all sorts of underwear to give them a smooth, polished, and perfect look. In truth, I’d rather women wear Spanx or vintage shapewear than starve themselves to death to look “perfect”.

  • angie

    I wear spanx because I jiggle when I walk especially in loose dresses…and that’s not cute. Also it makes the outfit look a little better

  • Tanycha

    It’s funny. From what I’ve seen, I don’t think they sell Spanx in Atlanta. LOL!

  • Nic

    This is silly. Some people will have “problem areas” no matter how much they work out. And if you are going to rail on Spanx, then what about bras. Small chested women use them to look curvier, and large chested women use them to not have their breasts swinging and hanging.
    So maybe we should all get breast reductions and be flat-chested so we don’t need that “lie” either. Who comes up with these “story” ideas?
    It looks a lot better to wear shapewear and bras than for people to see your underwear, your butt crack, your camel toe, etc. and none of that matters no matter what size you are.
    Sorry, but most people will never be “perfect” but wearing good underwear, bras, and other foundation garments are not a bad thing.