India, Oct. 12 — “Ain’ nobody got a wais’ lak mah lamb,” says Mammy with pride, as she laces the ‘stays‘ or corset tighter around Scarlett O’Hara’s famed tiny waist – the smallest in three counties – in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind.
Girdles made of cloth and leather or whalebone and metal corsets: women down the ages have used many different contraptions to tame their bodies into shapes desired by fashion and society. Modern shapewear is less punishing and designed to allow for more stretch, breathability and comfort.
Today’s tummy tuckers, body and thigh slimmers, smoothing knickers are, as Neha Kant, co-founder and CRO of lingerie brand Clovia, explains, designed to help “ in pulling up loose mass [or fat] and distributing it evenly across the body, giving a toned, fit look.” Marks and Spencer head of lingerie design Soozie Jenkinson says that the brand sells “on average 10 shapewear items around the world per minute“. When Kim Kardashian launched her shapewear brand Skims last month, her collection reportedly earned $2 million within the first few minutes.
In India “as Western silhouettes have become more mainstream, shapewear has followed“, says stylist Rishi Raj. They are also largely bought as inner wear to be worn under see through dresses or short skirts, explains Dhatri Bhatt, head of communications, H&M India.
But doctors sound a warning note. “It is tight and absorbs sweat and can result in skin problems if worn daily,” says Tripat Choudhary, director, obstetrics and gynaecology at Fortis Le Femme. There can be hampered blood circulation because of the compression if tight shapewear is worn for too long, says Anuradha Kapur, director and head of unit, Obs and Gynae, Max Smart. “This can result in blood clots, numbness and dizziness. There can be fainting attacks if the shapewear is too tight and worn for too long. Pressure on the stomach can also lead to heart burn and acidity,” she adds.</p> <p>So reserve it for a friend’s wedding, or that big party.
How to buy the right shapewear
-Seamless shapewear is ideal as it’s invisible and gives a smooth finish under the garment.
-Nude colours go with almost everything. Of course, if you have access to Kim Kardashian’s line, you will probably find a colour to match every dress.
-The tightest is not always the best. It will only make the body fat bulge out from elsewhere. So be realistic and buy the right size of shapewear so that it’s breathable and parts of the body do not bulge out.
Source: H&M, Marks and Spencer, Clovia and Stylist Rishi Raj