10 years ago by

Are Spanx an instrument of torture or of power ?

No, really! Cause, to me, it definitely looks like an instrument of torture.

BUT, you know, I own a pair. That I’ve worn in the past. Which I was thankful for. But after the night was over and the dress was worn I threw them in the bottom of my shcloset (my closet of shame) (you don’t want to know what’s in there) and tried to forget forever I’d worn them, while still indulging in the comfort that if worse was to come to worse, they were here.


Have you ever seen a pair of Spanx? Or any of these types of compressing-form-fitting-anti-rolls things that are made to look good on the outside while being mortified on the inside ? Because most of them are ugly. There is the color (hard to make a real nude look real good) there is the shape (hard to make a riding short look good) and then, you might not know it if you’ve never worn them, there is the SHOLE. (the hole of shame), which is a little hole that’s between your legs so that if you want to pee right during Oscar night, well, you don’t have to take your panties off, you can pee right through them. How do you rebuild your confidence after that and go back all femme fatale to receive your Oscar, is my question.

So, the Spanx.

It’s not about them looking good here. It’s about the dress looking good.

(Even though I will tell you soon about a beautiful alternative, but it kind of throws my reasoning in the trash, so for now I am withholding that information if you’ll let me).

Being the Spanx is the White House’s Chief of Staff. Here to make the president (the dress) look good. Don’t tell me to stop watching Scandal. I’m not there yet.

Okay, so we know it’s ugly, but does it work ?

It sort of does. It sucks you in. It makes you feel like you don’t have to hold your breath to keep your belly flat. That everything will stay in place. That you look as good as you possibly can at that moment. That you’re in control.

This is strong appeal. The proof is that even the the fittest actresses wear them to feel perfect. Feeling perfect is definitely one thing that a lot of women look for in order to feel strong. Most women?

So in that sense, it’s definitely an instrument of power.

But then – it never happened to me but I can totally imagine the scene – have you ever met a guy when you where wearing Spanx and prayed all night for him never to caress your leg higher that your knees? Or worse, decided to go to his place and try to take the thing off discreetly, sweating in the toilets to try to take them off (these things are a pain to take off!) and then throw them anywhere you can?
How perfect and powerful did that feel?

Not too powerful I guess.

So, I don’t know how I feel about Spanx – as everything that tends to perpetuate the myth of perfect and sleek, hard bodies for women, I have a real love-hate relationship with them.

Like, are there men Spanx ?
(Yes there are are, but it would throw my reasoning to the trash, so I’ll withhold that information from you if you’ll let me)(and come on, it’s rare).

I hope there is one day when more women can feel powerful in their imperfections.

Til then, my Spanx will live quietly in my shcloset, ready for a day where I’m ready to give up just being myself.

What do you think ? Torture or power ?


Add yours
  • Pour moi, la vraie torture c’est la société qui met en tête qu’une femme doit s’emmaillotter dans un Spanx afin de se sentir belle. Sauf que ce n’est pas un ventre plat qui déterminera si une femme est belle ou non. :)

    Have a nice day Garance !

  • i agree with flavie! beauty is not in the spanx :P

  • J’avais une vague idée de ce que c’était, j’aimerais bien essayer, mais je crois que je n’oserais pas!
    Mafalda ?

  • Et au fait Garance, oui, il existe des Spanx pour les hommes, le mien a essayé, les bourrelets remontaient vers le haut pour un effet cupcake qui dégouline. L’objet a donc rejoint son tiroir de la honte (avec la ceinture vibrante qui est censée faire maigrir du ventre mais qui ne sert à rien).

  • Freakin torture device!! I’ve neverwron one, even though I could use some help to flatten my belly if you get my drift…
    It fels so much like cheating! And when you get undressed for your man and there’s this THING underneath, I bet you don’t feel very proud, do you?

    Xoxo! Cory

  • La situation imaginaire dont tu parles m’est arrivée … Et dans ce cas, bien qu’incapable de marcher droit et complètement mortifiée, je peux t’assurer qu’on garde très bien à l’esprit les priorités :
    1) Eteindre la lumière
    2) Se déshabiller plus vite que son ombre (moi qui ne suis pourtant pas très à l’aise, d’où le Spanx …)
    3) Planquer l’infamie sous la robe qui gît sur le parquet.

    N’empêche que ça m’est arrivée une fois, mais pas deux : maintenant je mets des robes moins moulantes ou j’assume, c’est selon, je ne revivrais le Spanxgate pour rien au monde !!

  • Mais ca ne coupe pas la respiration a la taille? j´imagine l´élastique me sciant le ventre…
    En même temps, c´est vrai que ca fait une silhouette parfaite ce qui est quand même particulièrement difficile à obtenir passé 14 ans!

  • Spanx are torture… but like my mother says “El que quiere moño bonito aguanta jalones” which is a dominican saying the means If you want nice hair you have to pull it tight. So we as women endure it an wear them.


  • That is one of my pet peeves, I hate spanx or any of these torture devices they will never ever see my money. I am proud to say that I’ve never worn one. Not having to wear spanx is one of the main reasons why I make an effort to eat healthy and go to bootcamp 3 times a week. No no no.


  • There are much more friendlier, evolved versions of spanx. Some of the new generation not-spanx even have this delicious pin up appeal

    Forget about the original spanx and look for some other form correcting knickers options, and ALWAYS buy a size bigger ones!


  • I don’t feel comfortable with spanx! It’s not for me!

  • It’s a difficult one this, because I must say that my experience maps yours step-by-step, down to the squeamishness regarding the SHOLE and to my pair being consigned to the back of the SHLOSET, as I call it. But even if a part of me agrees with the girls who have already said that the beauty of a woman isn’t related to the size of her girth, I also know well that this isn’t a modern preoccupation, but one that has been passed down through the centuries via corsets, boning, waspies and so on and so forth. It is NOT new.

    I’ll tell you what, my own grandma, who died in 1980, would be HORRIFIED to know that these days we generally ‘let it all hang out’ with no regards for ‘a good line under the clothes’, as she called it, and for good posture (which, let’s face it, something that SUCKS YOU UP will do for you). Is it attractive, or even easy, to slide oneself into a triple-thick giant condom? Is it heck! But when the alternative is actually zipping your mouth and/or SHOCK HORROR exercising… meh, I don’t know what’s worse.

    Most importantly, G YOU DON’T NEED SPANX!!

    Love to all!


  • Nooo, it’s not new. But you could also say, we’ve always: treated women as property; valued women based on their looks, and men based on their skills; accepted the lie that women can’t do (math, science, run a business, vote intelligently) …

    Honestly, the list goes on and on. Just because we’ve always done it, doesn’t mean it’s ok to KEEP doing it.

  • Magnifique illustration!!!!

    J’ai acheté un spanx cet été pour le porter sous une combi-pantalon ultra fluide et éviter que cette dernière me rentre dans les fesses (glam).

    Résultat : j’ai sué comme un cochon (super glam).

  • Torture, pure torture.

    1. Yes, there are man-spanx. Someone must buy them, but a glance around any busy street/office/restaurant will quickly confirm that no man actually WEARS them.

    2. Wearing spanx equates, on some sub-conscious level, to believing that you aren’t good enough just as you are.

    Men never, never, never have this problem. No matter how wrinkly or overweight they are, or how obnoxious their personality, they think they are PERFECT. (See item number 1. For further evidence, see the financial crisis/real estate meltdown).

    3. They are hideously ugly (as you have very well described)! How can you possibly feel beautiful and awesome when you know you’re wearing something so disgusting underneath???

    4. I have a sneaking suspicion they actually contribute to poor nutritional choices for some people. As in, “Ah, I’ll just go ahead and slurp down that enormous desert … I’m not really hungry, but it tastes good! If I really need to get into THAT fancy dress/interview suit/pair of skinny jeans, I’ll just buy some spanx!!!”

    I say, burn them all.

  • It is certainly a debate. I got my first Spanx as a gift and second one for free, but the truth is I never wear them (not that I have GISELE body though), but like you say, I want to feel good about myself and most importantly not to let my boyfriend sees it!

    Unless I will go to Oscars, otherwise they will probably stay in my shcloset!

  • I like the smooth line they give under clothes, but then again, shouldn’t we focus that energy on finding a better dress that fits well without spandex armor? Try telling that to my 60-yr-old mother & MIL though… they went straight from panty hose to Spanx and act like they’re 600-pound beasts who could send children running at the sight of their monstrous flab. (They’re not.)

  • I think power in some way and torture on the other hand. You feel powerful because you look good, and therefore confident, but puts you in a situation that you can’t be surprised by events (like going to some guy’s place or something else) which can put you in a not powerful situation at all, you may feel even worse.

  • It’s obviously comfortable. But in the end, fashion is pain. And no pain, no gain.
    Your Friend, Jess

  • They seem like a tool, an option like any other. A possible means to an end, if you want to take the bad with the good. I am interested in silhouettes, so they don’t actually seem functionally different from, say, a push-up bra…they can make slight adjustments. I don’t really like them because they reflect serious issues of feminine expectation, but I don’t blame them for that.

    It seems, though, if you have a dress that won’t look good without them…what you really have is an unflattering dress.

  • Margaret October, 31 2013, 6:33


  • Definitely torture I’ve been exposing myself to for many years now. I just embraced the pain, and have been known to change into theatre scrubs upwards of five times in a day, taking one or another version of Spanx on and off. Same whilst shopping, although, that’s the stuff of nightmares. Being a woman in control because of Spanx, I just tell the guy how far he can caress my legs, or wait until I change. I once even managed to take the damn thing off during a massage that lead to more. I’m still married to that particular one, so fear not, men won’t mind :D

  • Bien sûr qu’il existe des gaines pour hommes. J’en avais parlé sur mon blog (…. Michelle Obama apparement porte du Spanx ou un truc gainant et elle est loin d’être la seule.
    Quand on fréquente les hautes sphères de la mode américaine, je pense qu’aucun homme ne s’attend à trouver dans l’intimité la même femme que pendant la soirée. Ils sont bien conscients des artifices de maquillage, coiffure, chaussures (talons qui allongent les jambes), seins (refaits ou pushés par un soutien-gorge), ventre aplati, etc. … Donc ce n’est pas un problème de faire la transition. C’est en revanche plus pathétique de nous faire croire que la femme “ordinaire” a besoin de tout ça tous les jours! Bon we!

    Of course men have their own girdles! Everyone wears Spandex, even Michelle Obama. Men who go to Highly Fashion dinners with pretty women know that these girls use some ways of hiding/transforming theselves. But when your name is not Michelle, Gwyneth or Britney, do you need all these tricks?

  • ha ha comique… en bonne belge “fréquentant” pas mal de sites américains et surtout voyageant de temps en temps là bas, j’ai subitement eu ENVIE d’en acheter un ! J’en voyais partout…
    Evidemment je ne l’ai pas acheté là bas (blonde un jour)… mais une fois revenue je me suis que ce serait la fin des temps si je n’en possédais pas… alors j’ai secoué la terre entière pour m’en procurer un !
    Je te passe les détails (taille, couleur, format, hauteur, cache sein ou pas… etc etc) le tout à choisir sur photo et sur base de descriptif publicitaire (tout le monde sait qu’ils sont TRES objectifs…), mais j’ai fini par m’en faire livrer un (payé le double du prix bien sûr, entre les frais de port, la douane etc).

    Verdict ?

    Caché dans mon (tien, moi aussi ?) tiroir de la honte.
    Pourquoi ?
    Certes ça “moule”.
    on voit les démarquations
    ça ne tient pas bien “en haut” (j’avais pris celui sous la poitrine)
    Certes on ne voit pas les marques d’une “culotte” mais ça fait tout l’effet inverse de “je ne porte rien sous ma robe” puisque tout est tellement bien moulé qu’on n’a tout simplement plus de formes !

    Bref, j’ai assumé mes complexes d’alors.

    Depuis j’ai perdu du poids, ça revient moins cher et c’est plus confortable !

  • UNE TORTURE assurément ! Je pense préférer assumer certaines de mes imperfections plutôt que subir une soirée totalement compressée. Exit les coupes ajustées ! Heureusement il existe assez d’autres modèles pour être sexy et confortable. Bye

  • Oh my god, I never knew that they have a hole???? That’s really gross! But then again, we are woman, so all the things we love (like high heels) we end up hating because they hurt so much. But also makes us look good, it’s an ungoing battle I guess. xo Hanneke

    check out my style on

  • Oh my god!!! I’ve seen that there is a Spanx item for pregnant women!!!! If pregnancy wasn’t uncorfortable enough…
    Spank are torture!! But also is waxing and we keep on doing it, no?

  • Stéphanie October, 31 2013, 11:08 / Reply

    Oui, j’en ai un. Noir, pour qu’il se prenne pour une cuissarde ordinaire, pour porter sous les jupes l’été. Pour éviter l’échauffement causé par le frottement de l’intérieur des cuisses quand je marche. Je marche beaucoup, et les leggings courts s’étirent et remontent, font un drôle de bourrelet et ne servent plus à rien. Des cuissardes pourraient faire l’affaire, mais ce n’est pas aussi efficace qu’un spanx. Mais vraiment le spanx : j’ai essayé d’autres marques, et ça ne va pas du tout : ça plisse à la taille, ce n’est pas résistant, ça respire encore moins… Bref, tout ça pour pouvoir marcher le plus longtemps possible!

  • I used to swear against them. But, then I found the Bodywrap Shapewear Lites, they’re amazing. They look kind of like lingerie, so you actually feel sexy in them. I mean, if I’m going to wear something suffocating my unwanted curving shapes, I need to feel like I look hot doing it. Just saying.


  • Pas de Spanx dans mes tiroirs. Je n’ai pas echappe aux corsets des grand-meres, aux porte-jaretelles des meres pour me torturer dans un spanx.
    Je ne porte jamais de robe collante mais ajustee (grande difference), sous les pantalons,des panties sans bordure (invisibles) quand au probleme du ventre (loin d’etre plat), je fais attention a ce que je mange.
    Vive la liberte !

  • I’m actually surprised to see how many anti-spanx comments there are here! I don’t wear them for my daily life and never would even consider doing so, but honestly, for big events like weddings or being on stage for something, or anything of the sort, ABSOLUTELY! I think it’s silly not to! It doesn’t dramatically change anything, it’s not like having lipo or anything, it just tightens and smooths. The same way I would use double-sided tape or even wear nylons in my normal life, but every once in a while you have to bust out the big guns. No shame in that.

  • my hubs calls them the ‘crockpot’ – or dutchoven….

  • NO WAY! bon ok j’ai pas de jolie robe de soirée à mettre où tout le monde va me photographier… mais quand même! Pour moi c’est l’anti-perfection puisque justement la perfection serait d’avoir de sublime dessous (voir rien du tout ;) ) sous une sublime robe…peut importe le bourrelet soi disant disgracieux…
    En fait l’idée de cacher un truc laid et inconfortable juste pour qu’à “l’extérieur ça ait l’air” parfait n’a aucun sens à mes yeux…mais une fois de plus je ne suis pas une socialite!
    Je crois que y a que les femmes qui s’imposent un truc pareil, les hommes se foutent éperdument d’un bourrelet (enfin c’est ce que prétend le mien…).

  • I love your line “made to look good on the outside while being mortified on the inside.” It’s very poignant and captures the paradox of being a “modern woman.”

  • Torture. Ma mère a tenté de rentrer dedans par curiosité un jour chez Nordström mais a vite abandonné. J’ai déjà une impression de claustophobie quand j’essaye une robe un peu moulante (genre Hervé Léger) et je me demandes si un jour j’en sortirai. Heureusement Spanx, j’en ai pas besoin et je ne cherche pas à être plus parfaite que ça. Mais si quelqu’un a une idée pour un slip qui ne se voit pas sous cette robe ce n’est pas de refus, car j’ai beau essayer d’en trouver,je vois toujours mon slip en dessous, et pourtant c’est une super robe.

    PS: il paraît que les mâles de Hollywood portent des spanks sous leur tuxedo sur les red carpets, pour leurs abdos sans doute. (scuse mon langage van Damme)

  • I’m a special occasion SPANX wearer. I don’t think I would ever wear them on a date…would never occur to me. But for a wedding or a fun night out on the town with friends where we all get dressed up – definitely! It makes me feel a bit more confident to have my dress skimming over my body and not getting hung up on some corners…

  • Jamais portée de Spanx mais une culotte taille haute bien gainante, oui ! En plus je trouve ça plutôt sexy, sinon il y a la petite robe combi gainante… si il y a une culotte de cheval qu’il faut un peu effacer. Bref il y a d’autres alternatives à la gaine Spanx.

  • Oh, definitely torture! I’d rather change a dress than wear spanx or any other figure-forming-blood-flow-impairing garment. I saw it once on tv – the woman suggested that it had to be first stretched over the back of a chair, then pulled on… I died.
    I know I am far from perfect, but I want to feel free. :)

  • i am 20-something and on the small-side… and i totally wear them! i wear the skinny bitch ones. just because there are dresses (mainly drape-y jersey) that show eeeeeverything… even any kind of seamless panties……… and (personally) i could neeeever go without panties… no no.
    so, wearing them makes me feel sexy and “secure” and there for powerful!
    but yeah… don’t let anyone else see them!

  • I LOOOVE Spanx ! Whenever I want to feel safe wearing something real close to my skin, like a tube dress, I put on my Spanx. But I don’t use the shorty version, I use the slipdress version. Then no problem to go to the bathroom or lines showing at your thighs or your belly, it won’t come up ! Plus it hides the horrible bra lines as well. I’ve tried several brands. H&M is wayyyyyy cheaper, but not as good. Spanx just is the best, and it won’t show. But you have to take your own size, sizing down would be a very stupid thing to do as you will just destroy it and then you will say it’s tortur. Plus all the fat you want to hide will show up where the Spanx ends. To conclude : take the dress version and get the right size !

  • Combien de commentaires négatifs pour des personnes qui n’ont pas essayer la magie du Spanx !!!

    Perso, je n’en porte que pour les grandes occasions (mariage, soirée où je dois sortir le grand jeu )… Le spanx ou culotte gainante me donne cette impression de finition. Je vois ça comme un outil : on met bien du fond de teint ou un anti-cerne pour camoufler un petit défaut, alors le spanx c’est la chose qui harmonise mes courbes.

    Mon mari ne trouve ça pas du tout sexy, mais il voit combien ce petit instrument me rend plus fière et confiante… Alors quand j’ai le moral dans les chaussettes et que je me trouve nulle dans mes milliers d’habits, il me pousse vers mon spanx pour soulager mon amour propre. C’est l’outil confiance en plus !!

    Alors G, je pense qu’il n’y a pas de honte à avoir un spanx… mais à utiliser en cas de besoin et non quotidiennement. Je suis sure que sur le moment, tu t’es sentie super sexy dans ta robe…

    PS: pour le fameux trou, je n’arrive pas à l’utiliser. La peur de faire pipi sur mes jambes et chaussures… J’imagine le désastre arriver avec du pipi ruisselant le long de la jambe.. Je passe donc 5 min de plus dans les toilettes entrain de gigoter pour enfiler ma robe !

  • je viens d’en tester un, cycliste uniquement hein? noir, de chez Uniqlo, galbant mais qui n’empêche pas de respirer! pas mal! tu devrais tester! ;)

  • Si les hommes ont également leurs artifices pour modifier leur silhouette, même s’ils semblaient plus s’en préoccuper hier qu’aujourd’hui ! C’est justement ce qui m’avait frappée en visitant l’expo qui retrace l’histoire des dessous au musée des arts déco (je vous la recommande, elle est encore ouverte!). J’ai écrit un billet à ce sujet sur mon blog :

    Tous nos vêtements redessinent notre silhouette, alors à partir de quand devons nous considérer que “c’est de la triche” et qu’il faudrait avoir “honte” de ne pas accepter ses imperfections? Après tout “le corps naturel n’existe pas ; il y a bel et bien un corps culturel, dessiné par une silhouette caractéristique d’un instant” (conclusion de l’expo)

    En tous cas le pb du Spanx c’est effectivement que c’est très très très moche !!


  • very bridget jones! i have some spanx tights but not the thing you describe. i never wear them though, but i have them, in case.

  • @Youna

    Thank you for the advice. I will keep it in mind if and when I need to buy a Spanx.

    How come there’s no vintage version like what women in the 40’s and 50’s had worn? I don’t think Dita Von Teese wears Spanx for her performance on stage. I think a well designed corset would be very attractive after undressing. No more struggling to get out of it before the passionate encounter. I think men would be terribly turned on by the sight of a well made corset.

  • I have a gorgeous, navy-blue, lace corset with garters from Chantal Thomass. Closes with hooks at the back. It’s crazy-sexy and men love it. But it’s for the eroticism. I would never wear Spanx.

  • A pair of spanx was part of my bridesmaid’s gift… I did like them. I would not wear them on a regular basis, but for those special occasions why not… I am up for anything that makes us feel better – why should not we take advantage of good inventions?

  • Franchement je n’en ai jamais utilisé mais je ne serai pas contre! Après tout si cela aide à se sentir mieux dans sa robe et qu’il nous aide à renvoyer aux autres l’image qu’on l’on veut donner de soi, why not? Je n’ai pas envie d’être “judgemental”, chacun trouve son petit bonheur là où il peut (même si c’est un peu contraignant!) ;)


  • Megan H. October, 31 2013, 2:04 / Reply

    A woman’s need to feel “perfect” is often born from and fostered by the very industry that many adore and glorify. Don’t get me wrong, I read this blog every day and appreciate the honesty that Garance puts forth as a woman. It is, however, a bit frustrating to continually see women on here (and most other fashion blogs I find, not to mention the women featured in magazines, on the runway and in ad campaigns) who are almost always the same tiny size. We complain about the things we feel we must do to be “perfect,” but we support this industry and those in it who perpetuate the a body type that is unrealistic for most women.

    There is so much emphasis on how we look instead of how we make others feel and what we are doing to make the world a better place. The most beautiful women I know look a lot different than the women this industry reveres. It’s just unnerving to see appearance worshiped so fiercely in our society.

  • Yes, all the ambivalence is condensed in my attitude towards this blog. I love it, but I regularly run away for weeks chased by yet another one of those image centered articles. Then I come again. and then I run away again…but the answer is clear: ‘Torture’

  • Je n’ai jamais essayé et je n’en ai aucune envie ! Autant porter un corset et une robe par dessus ! Je crois qu’on a tous un tiroir de la honte !

  • Jane with the noisy terrier October, 31 2013, 2:11 / Reply

    Maybe because I grew up with a mother who wore a panty girdle every day of her adult life–even under shorts in hot South Carolina summers–that I’ve never minded the nature of “foundation” garments. I’m 55, I have cellulite and saddlebags but that’s never stopped me from unabashedly frolicking in the surf next to bikini’d cuties. However, I did squeeze into a pair of Spanx recently when I was wearing a slightly clingy knit Lanvin dress to a wedding. Said scuba suit did indeed hold in my saddlebags and made my dress drape much more gracefully. I’m not trying to fool anyone, but at my age, I’ll keep on wearing underwire bras with sufficient nipple-coverage and thigh-smoothing scuba suits because I love nice clothes and these foundations do indeed keep my clothes looking their very best. Not every day, but when I want to feel like I look dazzling! (I will also mysteriously never have gray hair, well into my ’90’s!)

  • Christine October, 31 2013, 2:16 / Reply

    I don’t even know what they are!

  • I wear Spanx tights but don’t find them torturous, just nice control top tights. Never used one of their girdle things. But i did just recently get into shape wear underwear. Nothing too crazy just cute shorts that suck in a little and i had to have every color – grey, black, beige . I also bought a pair online that have a weird structured girdle high waist all boned, i am nervous about wearing those and they are un returnable but they were practically free because of credits so… They don’t have that hole you speak of, I would find that a little gross !

    I agree with everyone who says that there are options. I have a really great body suit that is sexy AND sucks in. It’s amazing and you can wear it in front of your amour with no shame, although it sucks in so much you will pop out once you pull it off : )

  • Torture ! La seule (et dernière ?) fois que j’en ai mis, c’était pour un mariage (et épater la galerie). Sauf que : ce qu’on ne nous dit pas est qu’il est absolument INTERDIT de manger avec un truc de ce genre. Le système aplatit peut-être tout, mais les aliments ne passent littéralement pas. (la solution : on va dans les toilettes, et on retire le bouzin à la va-vite avant de s’évanouir)(classe non ?)

  • J’ai une culotte gainante de chez Aubade, achetée expressément pour pouvoir porter une petite robe en soie lors d’un mariage. J’y penserai deux fois avant de la reporter car après quelques petits verres de vin je ne parvenait plus à remonter ma culotte après la pause pipi! Résultat: j’ai arrêté de boire et je n’ai pas profité de la soirée, tout ça pour quelques millimètres de silhouette en moins!

  • I’ve worn them many many times and while they’re not comfortable to be in all day, I really have no complaints, I think the spanx brand is a lot more comfortable and flattering than the other similar brands on the market. Besides, how many times do you see a gal in a nice dress or skirt and then see so many bumps and lumps that you quietly think to yourself, “Giiiirl, you need to tuck yourself into some spanx!”
    On the other hand, you’re totally right about the dating thing, so annoying and embarrassing.

  • C’est vrai que c’est révélateur qu’on doive en arriver là, mais le sentiment de bien être qu’on a de se sentir parfaite vaut quelquefois quelques souffrances… dont on va adorer se plaindre auprès de nos copines, en se disant que les hommes n’en sauront jamais rien !

  • Loool, je ne savais même pas ce qu’était une paire de Spanx! En tout cas, même le nom n’est pas sexy, alors je n’ose pas imaginer ce que tu viens de décrire!!!
    Come on Garance, t’es CANOOON, no need of SPANX!!!
    Nan mais c’est vrai ça. Finalement, pour QUI voudrais-tu porter cette horreur?
    Ton mec te connait sans (enfin je l’espère!), tes fans te trouvent tellement belle tellement que t’es canon tellement que t’es sympa, et les autres, beh ma foi on s’en fiche!!
    Laisse tes SPANX ds ton tiroir, pcq le ratio torture/résultat n’est pas satisfaisant!! Perdre 1 cm de taille pr souffrir et perdre sa dignité!! NO WAY!!
    Alors que ds le même genre le ratio souffrance/performance de l’épilation est vraiment maximal!!!!

  • I bought Spanx once to wear under a gown and it wasn’t very comfortable to wear.. Sucks when you have to go to the restroom! Lol.

    They get the job done but they are not definitely made for comfort.

  • Entre les 2 mon coeur balance. .. mol aussi j’en ai un que je ne met plus d’ailleurs. ..

  • I will wear them under body-con styles as they eliminate any self consciousness. I’m not overweight but I don’t have model proportions either. My only concern? Well the extra skin tends to migrate in the gap between the waistband and bra so I look like I’ve slipped a doughnut over my head…whereas before I just looked like I ate too many.

  • Knowing your body is better. Great clothes and make a woman look lovely and hide her flaws. Tailoring and design is so much better than sausage undergarments.

    Painful truth : If the dress doesn’t look good without Spanks, don’t buy it.

    Disclaimer: this rule does not apply to sexy corsets, stockings and a good slip.

  • Je dirais que c’est comme les talons… Caroline l’a bien expliqué.
    Pour ce qui est des garçons je sais pas mais probablement, en tout cas j’y ai déjà pensé… j’ai plus 20ans… mais il y a un truc super drôle qui vient de sortir… le wonderbra pour garçon et c’est ici!

  • Spanxx Spanxx Spanxx j’en veux!! Ds 5 min je dois sortir, j’ai un déguisement ki inclut un crop tank… ce post me vend du r^ve là… Ms prkoi ne me suis pas déguisée en potatoes? :-(

  • I don’t care about Spanx, but I love this text – it’s funny and raises a few more serious issues at the same time (and some great comments, too!). So I’m loving this entry almost as much as I loved “I Hate Being a Tourist”!

    But then again, I just had a wonderful, animated discussion about feminism, women’s bodies and beauty in society… with the man I’m seriously in love with. And he said some great things. And we agreed on quite a few points.

    So, as I said, I don’t really care about Spanx at the moment.
    I’m not saying that I’ll never consider wearing it again though…

  • 8 years ago, I bought a pair of something similar (only even more hardcore) so I could wear a particular dress to a friend’s wedding … it helped a bit, but that is the only time I have ever worn them, the shole and all that it entailed was just too traumatic! Also, what a hideous fibre to have so close to one’s skin. Maybe in desperation I would do it again, but I’m not in a hurry to repeat the experience. I can understand the pressure to look one’s best on a big occasion (after all, that’s how I ended up buying my iron knickers) but as something I would wear on a regular basis? Maybe it would be time to choose a different way of dressing… or a different dress size…

  • Hmm. I can see how wearing something like that under a super fancy, super fitted dress might be just the occasion-specific-let’s-get-fancy-and-feel-confident excuse to wear something utterly uncomfortable for the sake of fashion/style/grandeur. That said, as a day-to-day endeavor I think it goes against this fundamental belief and passion that I have to fight against all we’ve been taught, as women, to think about ourselves. It is a daily struggle to unlearn the cruel lessons of shame and self-hatred, but that is the fight I am choosing to fight, not the fight against completely uncomfortable underclothes.

  • Tentation, mais torture aussi, donc tant pis pour les reves de minceur et vive le naturel

  • “il a y le trou de la honte, qui est un petit trou placé stratégiquement entre les jambes pour que, si l’envie nous prenait d’aller aux toilettes pendant que vous assistez à la cérémonie des Oscars, on n’ait pas besoin de tout ôter : on peut littéralement faire pipi à travers.”
    c’est dingue ça, je savais pas ! C’est clair que c’est pas très bienveillant pour soi-même…
    Sinon je trouve simplement que c’est anti-sexe : sérieux quand on porte ça, c’est pas pour chopper hein, parce que j’imagine la scène de déshabillage impossible qui coupe tout… Et alors si c’est pas pour chopper, c’est juste pour être prise en photo ? Ca, ça m’interroge. (mais pour quoi faire ?)

  • Garance, this illustration is soooo nice, you should make a poster out of it. And from many other illustrations as well :). Please!

  • Hé, l’histoire de la fondatrice a l’air plutôt cool ! Tu veux pas l’interviewer ?

  • Alicia F October, 31 2013, 6:43 / Reply

    Like most things in life, there is a time and a season for such devices. I wear them (not as severe as spanx, but with the general idea of sucking in and smoothing out) postpartum. I carry REALLY large, which leaves me with a lot of excess skin. Those first few months are killer for the emotions, so those little faux-spanx help me fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes with more of an ease. Plus, it feels SO great to put them away when I am back to my old self and not in need of them. SO, not very fun or comfy, but for a season they fulfill their purpose.

  • Michelle October, 31 2013, 8:23 / Reply

    I can see their appeal and part of me thinks about using them to ‘smooth my silhouette’- but prolonged pressure around my stomach can trigger one of my IBS attacks which definitely makes Spanx into a torture device for me!

  • I’ll never tell…


  • princessglee October, 31 2013, 9:04 / Reply

    What’s the difference between spanx and a girdle? Spanx uses newer technology so it’s no longer called a girdle? Both items serve the same purpose and are of equal torture value. Working out and being active is so that we won’t need spanx, right?

    Growing up we snickered about the “tight and smoothe” look of Weesie Jefferson from The Jeffersons. When I think of spanx I think of Weesie Jefferson, so nuh-uh.

  • princessglee October, 31 2013, 9:27 / Reply

    I wore a rash guard yesterday because I thought it was cute with a pair of pants that I have. After an hour and a half, I had to take it off b/c it was soooo uncomfortable. I can only imagine the discomfort of wearing spanx all day.

  • I feel like I am doing something wrong.

    I have a pair of spanx (their actually the brand bodywrap), and I can’t wear them under anything short or tight because they create a panty line and roll down my rib cage and bunch in my waist. I’m quite slim, and would just like them to smooth things out, but they make it a lot worse.

    If they worked, though, I would definitely wear them!

  • Spanx are one of the reasons I keep my weight down & exercise every morning! I NEVER want to have to squeeze myself into those things again! And let’s not even talk about the gymnastics required during a simple trip to the ladies room…

  • I feel I must write. Yes, I do have some Spanx-like thing in my bottom drawer that I have never worn (it’s the Maidenform version, I think). It is possible that I might wear it under my cocktail dress for an upcoming wedding. However, the only reason that I would even consider wearing the “thing” is that, horror of horrors, I have the tiniest little belly that I would like to look super flat on this particular occasion.

    Now I am going to say the really forbidden thing, the rule-breaking thing (and supposedly there are no fashion rules any more–wear what you like–dare to wear white after Labor Day, etc.), and here it is: I am going to wear panty hose (Donna Karan nudes) under the cocktail dress. That is all I need to smooth out my very minimal tummy, make sure there are no lines where a panty begins or ends, AND my legs will look great. Shh. . .don’t tell anyone my horrible secret.

    P. S. I am 65. I wore a girdle when I was twelve, and more or less through my teen years, until about 1967 or so when we all threw our girdles out and started wearing panty hose instead. Then, when my generation was about 50 or so, the “rules” changed–Don’t wear panty hose, wear bear legs. And of course, no one had worn a real “girdle” since 1967 or so, so don’t wear a girdle. Then the genius inventor of Spanx (really just a modern girdle) came along and became a mega-millionaire.

    I just had to write this all down. The truth must be told. Thank you for the opportunity.

  • I don’t own a pair of Spanx, but I do have a pair of ‘control pants’ from a different brand. They just suck me in, but I wouldn’t say it hurts. Do Spanx really hurt, or is that because women buy them too small (I once read that for red carpets, women wear multiple pairs of Spanx. Layered. That must hurt for sure). Anyway, I agree with people saying that if you need Spanx to be able to wear a certain dress, you bought the wrong dress. BUT, sometimes my weight fluctuates a bit, and in those cases, I’m really happy I have my control pants.

  • spanc has a line undetectable very thin light fabric….simple designs….for thin women..just a little tummy control…

  • My dislike of spanx is what keeps me going to the gym! I think if I am firm then I don’t need them??? Not sure that ever happens though. I just today bought a pair of the Jockey brand that Rachel Zoe partnered up with…I am hoping that they don’t push all the squishy stuff to to lower half of my thigh. I HATE the line that I get when I wear these contraptions! Not to mention that they cause upset stomach, blech. I once was at a nice business dinner and went into the bathroom peeled my spanx off and stuffed them (with great care and gusto) into my tiny tiny cocktail bag. I was hoping everyone had enough to drink not to notice my jiggle!

  • Doesn’t the fact that you know that you have to wear that sucking thing to look ‘perfect’ negate the sense of power?

    Torture, it is. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the eye if I were to wear a pair.

  • I disagree with such strong statements as “I wouldn’t be able to look at me the same…” I mean, it’s just tight underwear basically! Not a big deal.

    I’m a size S and in shape, and I still wear them from time to time, especially under maxi dresses or form fitting work dresses. I love how they make everything tight…. however, mine do leave a line on a lower half of my thigh as well, which is not as flattering as I would have liked.

    I would go with Power definitely, however, it’s a borderline torture sitting in them on a 3 hour delayed flight from Pisa to Prague…. For ‘dinners out’ only, ladies! :-)

  • Mireille November, 1 2013, 6:13 / Reply

    Bon, je ne savais pas que le “spanx” existait…ça ne donne pas envie..
    Mais si c’est comme porter des bas de contention …j’en porte en avion, sinon je gonfle comme une outre de la taille aux mollets pendant 3 jours qui suivent le vol..Bref….et bien, je compatis…
    ça ne passera pas par moi! Franchement Garance, tu es superbe et rayonnante alors ..sois un peu indulgente envers toi-même….:-). Tu as de la personnalité et du caractère sinon tu n’aurais pas parcouru tout ce chemin avec talent..alors laisse le spanx aux autres ou tiens, au fond de ton tiroir…(pas de honte;-) )

  • I wore a pair once. The biker short kind. I wore them under a knee length dress which was fine but the minute I would sit down, my skirt would go up and the damn things would show though. The torture lives on as I later found a photograph of myself, seated, with a hint of spanks peaking through from under the skirt. I cringe when I think about it.
    But the spanx, they live on too, buried in the bottom of the drawer….

  • Hi! your post reminded me of this, a catalogue of real people for a clothing line. I think its just easy for people who work in media to deal with an ideal body type. Its like using a template that you dont need to cuztomize too much. But wonder if as a design challenge people could try and incorporate more “realness” in fashion. Maybe we wont have to resort to Spanx or all these body image issues?

  • How can you feel powerful if you are uncomfortable in your skin? Spanx are related to a deep social issue that women are only as good as their appearance – which is downright destructive for a anyone’s self conscious and self-esteem. They really have absolutely no place in society. If you feel the need to suck in a little, tights or high-waisted undergarments should do the trick, and are also a whole lot more comfortable. If you’re trying to “fit into” a dress, well, the dress should be made to fit you – not the other way around! I’ve never worn them and am not very supportive in buying into this ideal. Also, side note – Garance, you must have the best looking legs of any human ever. Who effing cares about your stomach?

  • Power ! Je suis bizarre hein ? Je commence tout juste à en porter et à la base, je recherchais des sous-vêtements chaud, car j’en ai marre de porter l’hiver des couches de t-shirt/pull manche longue. Et j’ai remarqué que plus tard ça affinait bien la silhouette. Pourquoi je trouve ça top ? Juste parce qu’il suffit de mettre un bodie ou autre short collant + t-shirt manche longue pour se sentir bien au chaud. Pour que ça soit sexy il suffit de trouver la perle rare. Chez Uniqlo cet automne ils ont sorti un short avec le haut en dentelle sous plusieurs couleurs. Pas mal du tout ;)

  • J’adore ton post ! je suis morte de rire : le spanx à vrai dire j’en ai mais pas avec un trou entre les jambes, c’est plutôt une gaine indispensable pour moi car j’ai pas la taille mannequin et dans les réceptions ça aide vachement pour que la robe soit hyper lisse et le ventre plat … Ha ha ha ok je garde ton secret mais tu pourrais le ressortir pour une autre occasion ne le fout pas dans le tiroir de la honte ! Moi ça me rassure que tu le porte aussi, je ne suis pas la seule femme dingue dans ce monde !
    Et SCANDAL , je suis accro pas moyen de me décrocher de là sauf si il font une saison complètement pourrie.
    ps : En plen fashion show actuellement en plein Afrique, une photo avec le créateur Stephane Rolland sera publié sur mon blog, si tu as le temps de passer :
    A bientôt

  • Torture! I own something like a Spanx (Spanx is quite expensive in our country, and there are more original versions even before it came to our shores), and it definitely didn’t make me feel good. it rolls, which is even more annoying than wearing the damn thing itself.

  • Perso à mon avis, le Spanx est tabou. Ça donne tellement un plus à nos tenues!
    Beaucoup d’hommes en mettent mais on en parle moins du coup.
    Un peu comme les futures mamans qui ont de longues culottes pour maintenir le ventre . Le spanx c’est le top pour nous alors faut plus hésiter, portons le avec fierté!

  • I have a pair of off-brand Spanx which I only wear under a particular form-fitting dress, so as to have no visible panty lines. The off-brand does NOT have the hole…which basically means either NOT going to the bathroom at all, or fifteen minutes of wrestling to get the darn thing up and down!

  • Bonsoir Garance,

    Je suis une grande admiratrice de tes illustrations ultra canon et je souhaitais savoir si tu m’autorisais à écrire un article sur mon blog personnel mettant en avant ton joli travail.
    Ce sera un article sans prétention, tout simple avec une sélection de tes illustrations.

    Je te remercie par avance,


  • Heidi Segelke Resky December, 28 2013, 10:00 / Reply

    Hey Garance,
    Being a woman of size, I love Spanx…and frankly, why I don’t own stock in the company, I’ll never know. They smooth out the rough spots and enable me to fully realize my control issues on so many levels. Conveniently, I am married, so the doffing of the Spanx is not an issue, but even as a single girl, I wore Spanx for myself-not for anyone else – there were never any illusions that I was not a supermodel, but also, I became a bit of the snob. After a while, my attitude was that I was the prize and it was the fella’s job to impress me.
    Almost seven years in marriage land and a child birthed, and so far so good: no complaints – Spanx or no Spanx.
    xo Heidi

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