It’s something we hear a surprising amount. Can wearing shapewear regularly actually reshape your body permanently? Maybe so much that you don’t need it at all? Thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian claiming her tight waist is the result of shapewear and a lot of myths around how shapewear works, this is an idea that seems to surface every few months. And it’s a nice idea, isn’t it? Being able to slowly tailor our body to fit our ideal shape with nothing more than some good quality shapewear?
Well, sorry to burst your bubble there, but the answer is an absolute, unequivocal no. And here’s why.
What Shapewear Actually Does
The purpose of shapewear is compression. Using different materials, each garment helps smooth out troublesome areas, shave off a few inches and generally give you a smoother, more controlled silhouette. They achieve this through a combination of panelling, seam placement and compression materials, which can help target different areas of the body depending on the result you want to achieve.
Worn under clothes, you can alter how you look to give you the confidence you need to wear even your most daring outfit. But they aren’t magic wands. Once you take the shapewear off your body is still the same underneath. So while shapewear might flatter your body, it can’t change it permanently.
Where Does The Waist Trainer Fit In?
A lot of the confusion around what shapewear can and can’t do often comes from waist trainers. Waist trainers are essentially a type of corset, which is a much more rigid and structural kind of underwear. While shapewear is generally made from only compression materials, corsets and waist trainers tend to use boning and other materials to help provide compression and support.
This kind of slimming technique has been around since the 1500s, and other than some cosmetic changes the concept has basically stayed the same. By wearing a constricting garment around the waist, women hoped to permanently shape their waistlines to mimic the ideal ‘hourglass’ figure. This involved wearing a strongly boned corset and tightening the fit over the course of a few weeks. This essentially pulled in the floating ribs, moulded the flesh into the ideal shape and kept it there. They went out of style around the 1920s, but in the last 5 years, they have been slowly regaining popularity. Now known as waist trainers, these corsets are made from modern and more practical materials and give you more control over how they perform. There are some risks involved in waist training (although moving your organs isn’t one, that’s just a myth), but overall if you do your research and approach it sensibly, it’s no more dangerous than wearing stiletto heels, and can give you some good results.
So if you’re looking for something that will help you more permanently reshape your body, then you want a waist trainer, not shapewear.
Before You Start Waist Training
If you decide that waist training is something you’d like to try, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re being safe, and you know what you’re getting yourself into. There are some fairly common mistakes people make when waist training, so we want to make sure you can avoid them:
It’s not permanent: Waist training alone will not give you the perfect svelte figure you’re dreaming of. While it can help give you the appearance of being trimmer and nudge your skin and muscles in the right directions, it can’t burn calories for you. So if you want to look slimmer, you will also need to follow a healthy diet and exercise programme. Set yourself up for success with realistic expectations.
You may be constipated: Given that there’s a lot of compression going on around your waist, there is a little bit of shifting of internal organs when you wear a waist trainer. Specifically, your upper organs shift up a bit, and the lower ones shift down. This can put pressure on your abdomen and cause constipation, as well as making you more sensitive to certain foods. So be prepared!
It can cause back issues: Normally your abdominal and back muscles are responsible for keeping you upright, and they work hard at that every day. Wearing a waist trainer takes away some of that burden from them, especially if done for long periods of time. But that means your back and abdominal muscles aren’t as active as they should be, and this can cause aches, pains and muscle weakness when you take the trainer off. So make sure you’re not wearing it 24/7.
Skip the gym: Well, don’t skip the gym, but skip wearing the waist trainer while you’re working out. While there are some advocates our there for exercising while waist training, the general consensus is that it causes unnecessary strain and means you don’t get the full effect of the workout.
At Elle Courbee, we supply a wide range of corsets and waist trainers that are ideal for beginners or seasoned corset wearers. So whether you’re trying to train your figure or just create a sultry silhouette for that little black dress, we can help. And if you have any questions about waist training, you can always get in touch and ask us!