Now, these are not Nan Goldin photographs. They are in fact part of a serious sartorial experiment, but before we go any further I’d just like to point out that if there’s one thing you are never going to see on this blog, it’s my arse. So, when a parcel containing two pairs of control pants from tightsplease dropped through my letter box, I had to phone a friend. Caroline assured me that her need for support underwear was greater than mine and that her young male lodger really wouldn’t mind taking the photos. ‘Make sure you get before and after shots,’ I advised, not realising I needed to add the words… with your clothes on. Hence, the resulting pictures of my friend Caroline in her pants, and very little else. Though I’m pleased to see she made an effort to glam things up with a pair of peep toes. She’s a braver woman than I am, and here’s her verdict:
Spanx, eh? It’s a disarming name for what our mothers would call a girdle. Remember girdles? My own mother wore one every day because that was what women did then – hers was a white waist-to-thigh colossus that held in her stomach with the 60s version of whalebone. It was so tight that, once she’d struggled into it, she didn’t take it off for the rest of the day (luckily, it was constructed with a little opening that made it possible to pee without rolling it down). If she were still here, she’d chortle at the idea that girdles are back, rechristened Spanx Power Panties.
The success of Spanx, which celebrities have adopted in order to look (even) thinner under tight dresses, has spawned imitations by Wolford, Trinny & Susannah and others. Having spent my life with an ass that’s big – not bootylicious, just big – and a stomach I have to hold in, I’ve been fascinated with this new generation of support garments. If they could diminish my opulent haunches, happy days!
My Spanx were the Higher Power Brief (£32), which have a bikini panty and a waistband that goes up to just under your bosom. “Smoothes from bra-line to hip,” the packaging claims – and, well, it was certainly constricting. A corset would similarly impair breathing the way these did – sadly, though, they didn’t mould excess flab the way a corset would. The soft, stretchy material just wasn’t heavy enough. The panty section didn’t smooth the hip area at all; under leggings, I couldn’t see any difference.
I had more success with the Wolford Nature Control Panty (£27), a waist-to-thigh shaper with (I’m guessing, as there’s no information on the box) more Spandex in the material. They’re see-through, meaning you may want to wear drawers underneath – so much for the promise of no VPL – but they have a bit more horsepower than the Spanx, and my hips and thighs looked slimmer. They did nothing for my tum, which was as rounded as ever, but maybe that’s beyond the ability of anything available on the high street. . .
Readers, do you wear control pants? And if so which brand do you prefer?