I now know far more about 'shapewear' than is good for me.
I am of a vintage that still remembers roll-on girdles and corselettes but nothing prepared me for the plethora of highly engineered undergarments designed to subdue and contain excess flesh on the female form.
Ordinarily I tend to favour rather utilitarian underwear, particularly when it comes to knickers. While I am not quite in the Bridget Jones 'big knickers' category, neither am I a skimpy thong girl.
Similarly, beaded sheath evening gowns don't feature prominently in my wardrobe. My usual garb of shirts and jeans doesn't necessitate highly structured undergarments. So it was with slight trepidation that I ventured tentatively into the 'shapewear' section of our gargantuan Tesco superstore. Thankfully, it was tucked discretely in a corner of the lingerie area, so I was able to peruse the offerings in relative seclusion, free from the voyeuristic glances of curious onlookers.
In my naivete I had supposed that there would be one, or at the most two, varieties of magic knickers.
No by no nonny no.
There were racks and racks of them, in a bewildering range of shapes and styles. I quickly discounted the mega-heavy duty variety, which claimed to reduce EVERYTHING by at least a full dress size. They seemed to start somewhere below the neck and ended just above the knee. I thought they represented desperate overkill and frankly marvelled at how anyone could either bend, or breathe while wearing them. I suspect that it came down to a choice between bending OR breathing.
Then there were ones which claimed to give you the thighs of a gazelle. I did briefly consider those, purely in order to give me the satisfaction of taking the manufacturers to court citing the Trade Descriptions Act.
Then there were hip-slimmers, with reinforced mesh haunch panels. Not to mention the tummy tamers, which apparently immediately 'slim and shape rounded tummies'.
I thought that 'round' WAS a shape. Just shows what I know.
Then there was the conundrum of what size to go for. Do you buy the size you'd realistically like to be, or the size you know you are. While I was considering this dilemma I was astounded to see that they all came in size SMALL!
Blimey O'Reilly..... why on earth would any skelf-like, size 10 stick insect want or need magic knickers?!
I held up a pair in complete disbelief. They were TINY! Even Small Dog would have struggled to get them over her sylph-like hips!
After some time I eventually decided on a Magic Waist Cincher (Firm Control) with added Tummy Control Lycra.
They don't actually look too bad, although they have parlous little support in the derriere area. Still, you can't have everything can you? If my waist and tummy are reasonably restrained then my bum can look after itself. It's a reasonable trade-off.
I haven't actually tried them on yet. Small Dog has requested a ringside seat to watch me wriggle and squirm my way into them, but I suspect she only wants to snigger behind her paw. Also I will probably have to have a lie down afterwards and I don't want her trampolining on my newly taut and spandexed tummy.
Besides which she is apt to make comments about my 'pink suit' which she refers to as being strangely tight and baggy at the same time. She a master of the back-handed compliment, although discretion has never been her strong point.
As to requests for photographs of the aforementioned garment, the answer is a resounding NO. Some things are just best left to the imagination.