"My Shapewear tried to kill me"

I am lucky to be sitting here at all. Earlier this week shapewear tried to kill me.

It started innocently enough. I’m at my goal weight but three children later, the loose skin on my tummy continues to bother me. I have some great jeans but they are all low-rise. It’s so hard to find good jeans that are mid-rise and high-rise just leaves a bulge. So I’m faced with a choice – cover the flabby skin that hangs over my jeans with loose tops or….da da da…finally give in and purchase some shapewear. I purchased a black control teddy which doesn’t even remotely resemble the loose floaty lingerie of the same name. It’s like the world’s best push up bra fitted onto the thickest, tightest one-piece swimming costume.

I’ve been advocating against shapewear for some time. To me they are modern day corsets. Why do women have to go through such pain and discomfort for the sake of beauty? Enough already. I want be as fit and as healthy as possible and enjoy life, flaws and all. But some shapewear I’ve been seeing recently looks pretty cute. I wear a bra after all. Is shapewear so different?

I ordered a one piece black bra and tummy tucker online from a reputable lingerie service. I am a clothing size 10 but a bra size 12. I bought a 10. Yes, this was a mistake but I’m not convinced the size 12 would have been any less assaulting.

It arrived along with a pair of new jeans I had also ordered (low rise, skinny, stretchy).

The shapewear looked so pretty coming out of the packet, and small. But I figured it was meant to be small and would have plenty of give when I tried to put it on.

I tried to step into it. It didn’t go past my thighs. No matter what I did, it wouldn’t go on that way. I was sweating a little now. I took it off and saw that the crotch could be opened. I opened it, stepped into it again and….no go. There was no way it was going on past my thighs.

I am a little claustrophobic. If tops or dresses are tight and get stuck on my head I panic. I’ve screamed for help on a number of occasions and had to be rescued by my brother (so embarrassing), my husband (not my sexiest pose) and my sister (she eventually stopped laughing). So you can understand my reluctance to try and get it on over my head. It didn’t undo anywhere but the crotch so I had little choice. And it was expensive. I at least had to try it.

I pulled it over my head and taking a deep breath, tried to push an arm through the top. I got it through and then attempted to get the other arm through. This was more difficult but I made it. I was definitely a little red in the face at this point and covered in a small amount of cold sweat. Staying as calm as possible I then tried to pull it down into position except my breasts (which aren’t very big) seemed to be in just the wrong spot to achieve this. I pulled down as hard as I could and my poor breasts felt like they’d been run over by a heavy vehicle, but I was so close to getting it on now that I decided to persevere.


I delicately placed my abused breasts into the cups and then began to stretch the rest of the shapewear down into position. It really cinched my waist in. So cute. But it didn’t quite want to stretch enough in the crotch area to do it up. I breathed in and got one hook done but the other two just wouldn’t meet closely enough. I pulled harder and turned in circles a few times trying to get them close enough to do them up. I was panting by now. I stood up, breathed deeply, tugged the shapewear down a bit more and finally got them done up. I stood up. Breasts looking magnificent, a lovely little waist that doesn’t normally look so little and an astonishingly flat stomach. Yes, I was a little short of breath and boy did it feel tight but I figured I would get used to it.

I pulled on my new jeans and they looked amazing, but the crotch was riding up severely. It felt like it was going to slice me in two. I looked great but I wouldn’t want to try and walk or God forbid, sit.

It was a no go. I’d have to try a larger size or just forget trying shapewear. But now, how to get it off?

I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it down past my thighs. The only way was up. I undid the crotch (a little easier than doing them up although my wrists were actually hurting now) and I started to fold it up to under my breasts. I knew this was the hard bit. Getting it over my breasts was the tricky part. If I could do that I was home free.

I decided to do one breast at a time. My left breast was pulled as gently as possible out of the cup and through the shapewear. Ouch, my other breast was still wedged in there. I started to free it as the rest of the shapewear snapped up around my neck. I was trapped. And they call it a teddy. There’s no hugging involved here. If I wasn’t so sure I was being suffocated by shapewear I’d swear a boa constrictor snake had just wrapped itself around my head and the pressure seemed to be increasing. I started to panic but I didn’t want to scare my children who are aged eight, four and two. They didn’t need to see me like this and they had enough nightmares in their little heads already.

I’m ashamed to admit that I was sobbing now but with a huge heave I tugged it over my now red and sore right breast and pulled it off, taking with it an earring and a few strands of hair.

Shapewear tried to kill me but I lived to tell the tale. Be warned. It’s not for the faint hearted or those who are claustrophobic, or those with impressionable little people who don’t need to see a piece of clothing trying to eat their mother.

Check out our great gallery of Mamamia readers wearing shapewear. If you’d like your own photo to be added in, send it to [email protected] or leave it in the comments and we’ll do the rest.

Jo Abi is the author of the book How to Date a Dad: a dating guide released by Hachette Livre Australia.  You can read more about her many and various exploits here.

Do you ever wear shapewear ? Are you a fan o?