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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