If you would have told us, 10 years ago, that the most popular type of lingerie would be shapewear, we honestly wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s exactly what has happened. In 2018, the shapewear market was worth more than 2 billion dollars.
This year alone, the market has seen almost an 8% increase over the previous year.

But, if you have ever worn shapewear, you are probably wondering why do millennials adore constricting shapewear? Millennials have embraced the body positivity movement and are constantly preaching about selflove. That is why this movement is so puzzling, because shapewear has been considered to be completely contradictory to their beliefs. So, why do Millennials love shapewear?

Studies on women’s shapewear habits showed that sales by millennials have increased in the past year, spending more than half of their lingerie budget on shapewear last year alone. Researchers attribute the increased popularity due to the desire for being fashionably comfortable and that women are increasingly busier, so they have less time to hit the gym. Women today want results faster, easier and without the sweat.

Also in the past, celebrities were publically shamed if they were caught wearing shapewear on the red carpet. But nowadays they are showing it off, to make themselves more relatable to the public. In the last two years, shapewear has transformed itself from something taboo and anti-feminist into an empowering body positive undergarment.

Plus, the online shapewear marketplaces are using real women to model their products from different ethnic backgrounds and body types. Also, their social media presence is stronger than ever, as it is flooded with all sizes of women, all flaunting their newfound bodies in different styles of shapewear.

For years shapewear was marketed to women to enable them to have a figure similar to that of Jessica Rabbit. But now it is being marketed to millennials and 45+ women who just want to feel comfortable in their own skin.

In the past, shapewear only targeted certain areas and was made from extremely uncomfortable fabrics. But today, it is specifically designed to target certain troublesome areas such as the tummy, rear, thighs, and hips or back fat. Thanks to innovative compression fabrics, now they’re lighter, more breathable and comfortable, thus, making them part of our everyday wear instead of just for those special occasions.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why millennials are attracted to shapewear?

Shapewear Makeovers

shapewear reviewInteresting enough, Millennials are boycotting certain shapewear brands such as Spanx. Why? They want to support shapewear companies that actually want to empower women and not just make money off of their insecurities. Millennials find the overly repeated scene from the movie, “Bridget Jones” when she tries to squeeze her way into a pair of ugly granny panties, to be distasteful and anti-feminist.

Spanx tried to save face by making a public announcement that their mission is and always has been to help women of all shapes and sizes to look and feel their best. They emphasize that their goal is to empower women. However this statement doesn’t jive with their ad campaigns or website, as they still are promoting an exclusive shapewear line with a smaller plus-size collection with a separate tab.

Millennials seem to have a gift for separating the facts from the lies, and they cringe at the very idea of Spanx but not shapewear. Many shapewear brands are avoiding the pitfalls of the very company that recreated shapewear, as we know it. These companies are creating inclusive body shaping collections and providing several different options of skin tones and often sizes from XXS to 5X.

In a recent article of the New York Times, they interviewed one of the fastest growing online shapewear websites called Shapermint about their body positive marketplace. Shapermint sells dozens of popular shapewear brands and listen to their customers by removing any products that receive negative reviews. Plus, they advice everyone who visits their website to be confident with or without shapewear.

In the interview with New York Times, Shapermint’s brand manager, Stephanie Biscomb, stated the following: “Shapewear isn’t about hiding the body, It’s underwear, it’s not miracles, in my case and a lot of women’s cases, it’s about wearing something that makes you forget how your clothes are fitting.”

Shapermint’s customers, up to just recently, were mostly women over 45, but recently there has been a significant increase with younger women. They prefer lighter compression, as it still offers shaping power but with extra comfort without squeezing the bejesus out of them.

One of the reasons millennials are in love with Shapermint is because they aren’t trying to body shame you into purchasing their products. They understand that sometimes women just need a little extra hand in accepting our body’s changes, such as menopause or pregnancy. Shapewear just helps us fall in love with our bodies faster.

The New York Times interviewed another shapewear company called Honeylove, who are committed in creating shapewear that you can feel proud about wearing. The founder of Honeylove, Betsie Larkin, believes that shapewear should boost your confidence from the inside out, without being uncomfortable. Honeylove markets their product entirely on social media showing videos of how their shapewear works with different body types.

Shapermint and Honeylove are leaders in transforming how shapewear is perceived. Women today want to see real women with body types they can identify with, instead of skinny paper-thin models wearing shapewear. Women want to see what they will look like if they wore that product.

But Can We Really Consider Shapewear to be Body Positive?

There are quite a few opinions out there about wearing shapewear. Some consider it to be empowering, liberating and feminist but on the other hand, some believe it represents everything against the body positive philosophies.

A pro-feminist, single mother from Atlanta, only recently, started wearing shapewear after seeing body-positive ads on social media. She admits that shapewear makes her feel more powerful and confident when she goes to work. She reasons what is anti-feminist about something that makes her feel better about herself?

A 24-year old woman, from Ohio, stated that shapewear was her go-to during high school as it felt like a safety blanket, protecting her insecurities about her body. But after graduating, she didn’t feel right about giving money to people who were taking advantage of her insecurities.

Another single lady admitted that she loves her shapewear, often wearing two or three pieces at a time for a more streamlined look. She said shapewear helps her concentrate on the more important things and not whether her back fat is visible under her blouse. Her decision to wear shapewear is entirely about personal preference.
The conclusion is that body positivity depends on accepting your body and loving it, and if shapewear can help you do that, who are we to judge.
The future of shapewear

Quite a few of shapewear brands are investing big bucks into creating fabrics and designs that women will want to wear day after day. They are studying how certain fabrics and cuts can create a smoother shape under your clothes. But is this feminist?

Just think about Nike’s ad campaign stating that their clothes will make you a better athlete. Or when Speedo introduced the Fastskin suit, which claimed that it will make you swim faster. Were hey being presumptuous in claiming that their clothes will make them a better person? No, because they made the user feel more confident about themselves, so they’d swim or work out harder. Shapewear increases confidence and empowers women to be the best they can possibly be.

Shapewear has taken get strides in the last century, from the original binding corset to breathable, comfortable shapewear that we have come to love and appreciate today.

So, if you want to feel empowered or need an extra boost to tackle the world, shapewear can transform your world.

Give it a try then you can decide.

Source: NY Times

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