You Asked For It: Spanx

Good morning my live active cultures of love, how’s every little thing? What? Yes I did have yogurt for breakfast, cactus and prune flavored, thank you. Why do you ask?

We’re going to spend the rest of this week focusing on shapewear, and never fear, I still have a handful of corset recommendations, but several of you have asked me what I think about Spanx.

Spanx can just go ahead, do some breathing exercises, maybe stretch a little, purchase a crazy straw from the party supply store of their choice in any one of a variety of colors and suck it.


(none of these cartoons actually need shapewear)

I have never, EVER had a piece of shapewear from them that lasted more than one or two wearings, didn’t roll or otherwise backfire or have glaring flaws right out of the package. I gave up on their legwear ages ago after putting my hand through three pairs of their pantyhose, once on the first try.

Maybe they’re just made for women with only a little bit of pudge, or whose hourglass boom boom isn’t quite so pow. Maybe it’s because I’m the only person in America who has a torso longer than two inches. I don’t know, but I feel like I’m the only woman on the planet who doesn’t think these things are the best invention since sliced vodka.

Oh maybe it’s user error, you say.

HA and verily double ha! There are little baby angels who are rougher on their clothes than I am.

Heck, I painted my patio in Hermes and didn’t get a speck of Unicorno (apparently in Mexico, unicorns are fuchsia. In an unrelated note: there’s a lot of peyote in this country) on my entire outfit so it’s not like I’m running around with an angry jackal in my pants, laying waste to all hosiery within a 10 mile radius.

PLUS Spanx is ridiculously overpriced for the quality and what’s worse, most plus-size stores these days (please imagine me shaking a cane in geriatric wrath, you may also imagine me in a kaftan if you wish, but it’s not necessary to the visual) have either vastly reduced or completely eliminated their hosiery in favor of selling the Spanx line.

Sigh.

Remember about six million years ago, back at the dawn of the current century, where you could buy those amazing Lane Bryant opaque tights that looked great and lasted FOREVER and you didn’t mind spending $18 on one pair because you knew your knees would wear out before those tights did?

Gonesville. Replaced by ^%$# SPANX for the low low price of $30 – $40, which would be okay if they, as previously mentioned, didn’t suck so hard there are ostriches in Africa wondering what that breeze is and if maybe they couldn’t cut it out because it’s messing with their (the ostriches’ not the Spanxs’) feathers.

Sure you can get some novelty legwear and a basic entry-level black tight from the Lane Bryant home brand, but solid black is not the same as opaque black and one of my biggest pet peeves is a theoretically opaque tight that isn’t. Grr.

Honestly, for that manner of stretchy shapwear I’ve had far better luck at places like Ross and TJ Maxx.

For example: this past summer I bought an amazing high-waist pencil-skirt slimmer that has been a revelation and I KNOW I didn’t spend more than $10 for it. I’ve even worn it as a miniskirt under a long sweater and over a pair of my antediluvian but still functional LB opaque tights. Sadly I don’t have a brand for you (it’s seamless and I’ve rubbed the printed label right off) but if I find it again I’ll report back.

Izod –I know, right?– makes some surprisingly solid shapewear in plus sizes, all of which are higher quality than any of the Spanx I’ve experienced, and I’m pretty sure each piece I bought was $7.99.

There’s also some brand called Lady Princess that I’ve never seen anywhere other than Ross and Ross-esque stores.

I’m pretty sure they’re designed for drag queens (I think it’s the name) but I don’t care. I’ve had good luck with their more heavy-duty pieces.

As far as the major players go, I far prefer the Avenue Body line of shapewear to Lane Bryant’s Cacique (though I still prefer the LB bras) but neither of them really carry my watermelon since both brands tend to roll, fold, pill and lose their shape within a half dozen wearings.

So is there a brand of Spandex-not-steel shapewear you can find online and which I actually LIKE?

Yes, and stay tuned kiddios: I’ve got a Review Revue coming up tomorrow.

24 Responses to “You Asked For It: Spanx”

  1. Monica January 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    Ms. Plum, I can’t help you as far as shapewear, but have you checked out the plus-size tights from We Love Colors? Since it seems like you might be in the market for a new tights purveyor. I wore their Sky Blue tights at my wedding (something blue, plus I liked the allusion to being a Bluestocking), then kept the tights in my rotation for 2 years before they finally sprang a hole.

  2. Rebekka January 31, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Spanx is . Me hates it.

  3. Rebekka January 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Wow, that was incoherent. Ha! BAD. SPANX IS BAD.

  4. Raine January 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    I’ve actually had good luck with some of the shapewear from Kmart. I have a few of the of the waist-to-leg Spanx knock-offs from “pin K” brand for close to 2 years and they are still in good shape.

    I also have some of the “Inspirations” brand leggings from there and they’ve held up well, especially considering that I wear them for Roller Derby (more to keep me from getting rink rash if I fall than for the shaping).

  5. JoGeek January 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    I can’t stand Spanx, and hate that I have to look at the mega display every time I walk into a clothing store. I really wish more stores would stock actual tights, in many colors and durabilities. If they’ll last me more than a wearing or two, I’ll pay for them!

  6. Anne M January 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    I have a camisole from Spanx that I like well enough. It has a very deep, split v-neck so I can wear it under lower-cut things and it does a reasonably good job of smoothing (not flattening) my belly/waist so certain clothes drape a bit better. I find that I have more success with shapewear that has straps than I do with things like bike shorts or half slips or control top hose. Stuff that comes from the bottom never sits right on my short torso and it can’t really be manipulated the way this thing can to fit.

    I hate all the panties and hose, though.

  7. Thea January 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Thank God, I thought it was just me that hated Spanx and resented the hype and the displacement of the Lane Bryant brands.

    Gwyneth Paltrow loves Spanx, I think that speaks volumes since I can’t think of anyone who would be less dependent on shapeware.

  8. Ida January 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Hmm. I sure don’t hate Spanx, and I rather envy your US huge displays of anything. I live in a backwater country (Sweden) and we are lightyears behind you. Can’t find much at all in the shaping dpt, let alone plus-sized. Boohoo. I’ll send you tights if you send me Spanx!

  9. Thombeau January 31, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    This is as I suspected, and why I’ve never tried ‘em.

  10. Kate January 31, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    I’ve always liked this particular one from Catherine’s (and pretty much none of the others) I’m a bit apple-shaped, and I find this one gives me more of a waist than others. It’s also comfortable enough for every day. I have about 5 of them, and get new ones about every 3-4 years (with near daily wear)

    http://tinyurl.com/84hb5dz

    Mind you, they have another WAY uncomfortable, roll-down-your-stomach supposedly high-waisted brief that is to avoid at all costs, but the one I link above I really like.

  11. Booklover January 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    I probably could use a high-waisted brief, but how does one get the back up to where it belongs?

  12. Kate February 1, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    You tuck it under your bra band in back…stays up like a charm.

  13. lali February 1, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    I have a couple of Spanx and while they did cost an arm and a leg, they have served me well on those occasions when a nip and tuck are needed. They are the high waisted (they don’t roll down on me), mid-thigh, split crotch type — and that last characteristic is absolutely necessary as I fear going to the bathroom as often as I do (I take diuretics) and having to take them off since putting them on always makes me feel like I am going to dislocate a hip.

  14. AnthroK8 February 1, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    I hate Spanx, always have. And finding nice slips that smooth is a goal of mine. Oh yes.

  15. MJ February 1, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Thombeau, you look lovely as you are.

  16. Genevieve February 1, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Would I be wrong in thinking that most plus-size girls who say they wear Spanx are actually wearing another brand and calling it Spanx because that’s the most famous brand of shapewear? I have 4 pairs of spanx-like shapewear, things that go from above my knee to just under the bust (and I have a long torso), and they stay in place without ever rolling, without slipping, and I adore them. I bought them a few years ago from AdditionElle in Canada, and they are fabulous. I think they’ve lasted so long because I never put them in the dryer. I used to hate -HATE- tights until I moved to Holland and discovered Hema: true to size, true to the denier, and they last for years, and all that for 4 euros. What’s not to love.

  17. jen209 February 1, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Ironically, I am wearing a pair of spankx hose right now at work, and just ripped a hole in them. Womp womp.

  18. tovah February 1, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    Thank you! I was just “this far” into getting some. They did look crazily uncomfortable, but I don’t even wear pantyhose. lol.

  19. qbertina February 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Wow, I find they wear like iron and are mega-opaque and about the only tights I can buy to fit my hips that don’t sag into a pile of wrinkles at the ankle.

    To be fair, I have the worst time with every other brand of tights (wrinkly anklesag or painful hipgrabbery: I can choose one) and really every single kind of shaper (flippage and rollage) on earth. So maybe I’m just the exact specific total freak Spanx totally freakily designed their size D tights for.

    N.B. I’m not a huge fan of grippy control underpinnings unless there’s a highly specific outfit-related reason because I’m not only very curvy but also very shortwaisted and the inevitable wild rolling up at the edges really annoys me. Even Spanx get on my nerves round the waistband after a long day. I usually buy Hue on sale and wear boots, anklesag solved.

  20. HurricaneDeck February 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    I will admit that I LOVE their control top hose – Bare Assets I think they call them. They are spendy, but they have outlasted hand washing and several dog shows.

    I hate their shapewear because they always roll on me!

    I have found that Sears brand shapewear holds up much better and is cheaper!

  21. Violet February 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    second Genevieve on AdditionElle.
    Theirs is the best I had in the below-waist shaping department. It is comfortable, works, and lasts.

    If only I can find something that works as well for the back-fat.

  22. Thalia February 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    I’ve had good luck with the Target house brand of Spanx rip-offs, which rejoices in the hideous name of Assets. They aren’t super-durable but are significantly cheaper than Spanx while being no less cheap and cheesy.

  23. Thalia February 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Er – no MORE cheap and cheesy.

  24. Debbie February 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    I hate SPANX!!!! Everytime I’ve purchased a pair, I’ve carefully checked the weight and height chart…. make sure that I am right in the middle of the size… and then can’t pull them up past my knees!! grrrrr
    I love the black opaque tights from Lands End, and have recently found the plain, nude panty hose from Dress Barn to fit very well… cause sometimes you need nude pantyhose!! And l too lament Lane Bryant’s no longer offering their tights and pantyhose… I used to buy them by the gross!
    As for shapewear… I have had good luck with the qwik wik bike shorts from Junonia. While they don’t offer the same control as something like Spanx, I feel neat and tidy in them, and they’re cool in the summer!