From iron belts to bone corsets, shapewear has been around for centuries, and it has long evolved from waist-only garments to a wide range of body shapers that include everything from shaping tights to bodysuits. Even so, they’ve been around long enough for the mainstream fashion community to hold certain assumptions about them that aren’t true.
Maybe you’ve been on the fence about buying your first set of shapewear, but you’ve held back the urge because of some myths that you’ve heard. No one can really blame you when corsets used to break women’s ribs a few hundred years ago, but it’s worth knowing that these myths have long been debunked in one way or another.
If you’re still not convinced, here are five common myths about shapewear that just don’t hold true today.
Shapewear Is Literally Crushing You
If you’re still convinced that shapewear is crushing your body, then you must be living in the 1800s. This myth hails from the Victorian era when early versions of the corset were made of metal and other hard materials, and they were tight enough to damage ribs and internal organs. However, we’re living in the 21st century, and fabric technology has gone far past lethal clothing.
Thanks to synthetic textiles, all shapewear garments, including modern corsets, are completely made of soft fabric materials. This isn’t to say that it isn’t as effective at slimming and smoothening your figure—in fact, it probably does it more effectively than the olden corsets. How it works instead is through varying compression levels around the parts of your body that you want to tuck in.
It’s also worth mentioning that shapewear doesn’t have any permanent effects on your body. Even if you wear it every day for a month, your body returns to its natural state once you take it off. You can rest assured that, inside and out, there’s nothing strange going on with your body just because of an undergarment.
Smaller and Tighter Options Are Better
You might be thinking that if today’s shapewear won’t destroy your body, then it won’t matter what size you get. This kind of thinking might get you to try on the smallest size that you can squeeze your body into. If that’s the case, then shapewear will hurt you—not because of how it’s made, but because of how you’re using it.
There is a whole variety of shapewear products and types available, and they also come in different shapes and sizes depending on who’s wearing them. That’s why what matters more is that you get the garments that are right for you. It’s only with this kind of mindset that you’ll get the most out of your shapewear. That being said, how do you figure out what shapewear will work for you?
You’ll want to ask yourself a few things to get a good idea of what you need. First, what areas of your body do you want to shape or slim down? You have to think about the overall shape of your body and which areas would make the biggest impact if smoothened out. It could be your waist, your thighs, your chest, or even your arms. The good news is that there are shapewear pieces for each of these parts.
Next, you should ask yourself if you need more or less volume in any area. It might come as a surprise that there are even shapewear pieces that can enhance areas of your body that need more contouring. For example, most people use shapewear to lift their butts while others use garments with back support to help with their posture.
Shapewear Shaves Numbers off the Scale
As mentioned earlier, shapewear done right doesn’t have any lasting effects on your body. While that’s good in terms of health concerns, it also means that none of the mythical benefits floating around it are true either. That means shapewear does not make you lose weight even if you wear them regularly.
Although they don’t necessarily shave the pounds off the scale, some types of shapewear—especially waist trainers—could indirectly help adjust your caloric intake. The compression around your stomach could not only lessen how much you eat before feeling full, but, in the long run, it could also discipline your eating habits when combined with a proper workout and diet.
That said, shapewear is never a substitute for diet and exercise. You must not rely on waist compression to cut down on your caloric intake. You also mustn’t force yourself to wear shapewear that’s a size too small in an attempt to further control your appetite. Even if your organs aren’t damaged, too much long-term compression around the abdomen could cause digestive problems since your stomach still needs to expand a bit when you eat.
Shapewear Is Only for Plus-size Women
This is a terrible misconception for a number of reasons, but simply put, shapewear is not only for plus-size women. Fashion has gone a long way from favoring certain sizes, and that’s why shapewear is made for all body types. It might come as a surprise that even celebrities with idealized hourglass figures have admitted to relying on shapewear for some of their best looks.
What this means is that you shouldn’t get into shapewear because you’re convinced that you need it. Your size is never a deciding factor towards your potential to look stunning. Rather than correct it, shapewear enhances your form for an outfit that you want to wear, especially when there’s a dress that you want to rock for a special night.
Shapewear is a garment that’s meant to make you feel more confident in yourself. If you have a goal for how you want to look, achieving it through these garments can make you feel stellar, strutting along in your best form.
You Can Wash and Wear Shapewear Like Anything Else
Maintaining shapewear garments is not as simple as every other garment in your wardrobe. Usually, these are made with special synthetic fabrics that are often sensitive to certain detergents and especially to friction and heat. That being said, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re far too difficult to clean, either.
Although it’s recommended to wash shapewear by hand under cold water, you can run these garments through the washing machine. They just have to be treated in the same way as other delicate clothing like underwear and silk fabrics. Make sure to set the machine on a gentle cycle with cold water as mentioned, but never put them in the dryer for whatever reason.
As for wearing, you ideally save these garments for special occasions. However, there’s nothing wrong at all with wearing them every day. However, do note that each piece should only be worn up to a maximum of two times, after which they must be washed. That’s why it’s recommended to have at least two pieces of whatever shapewear you use to cycle between washing and wearing.
By now, there’s no way that you aren’t convinced that shapewear are absolutely safe and make for great additions to your wardrobe. After all, these garments are not only built to do no harm, but they’re also crafted for comfort and style. In many ways, they can even help your self-esteem or if you’re actively trying to go on a diet, as long as you know how to use them properly.
While you can certainly get by without having any shapewear in your closet, you would be missing out on a whole new world of outfits to try on. So, why not give these shaping garments a try sometime soon? You may just find them to be your new favorite item.