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This Is How Differently Priced Spanx Can Actually Make Your Body Look

Spanx does not do the thing I thought it did.

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Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

Hi, I'm Kristin. Like many ladies on this lil' dirt planet, I've believed my whole life that if you have ANY squishable body parts, the key to a slimmer-looking bod is wearing shape wear -- specifically, the cadillac of shape wear: Spanx.

Spanx shape wear comes in so many different varieties -- many of which are pretty expensive. So if I've spent so much of my mental energy and money believing that this stuff makes me look slimmer... shouldn't I check and see what effect these items actually have on my body?

So I bought eight garments of different price points -- four Spanx brand items, and four items from Spanx's lower cost line, Assets -- and compared them to each other.

We took photos of myself wearing them under the same dress in natural light (in one of our office kitchens), and compared them against me wearing just big old underwear (a pair of Hanes Hi-Cut briefs, if you're keeping score at home.)

I initially figured that some of the cheaper products might end up feeling and looking better than their more expensive counterparts. But what I *also* discovered was a bit more interesting than that:

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First, I tried a pair of cheaper high-waisted shorts: an Assets High-Waist Mid-Thigh Super Control Shaper ($23) vs. a Spanx Higher Power Short ($38). Here they are from the front:

Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

But if you look at the same products from the side, it's a slightly different story:

Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

SHAPER THAT LOOKED THE BEST: So, I'm just as confused as you are re: what the hell is going on with my stomach from the side. Actually, I have a theory, and it's that -- at least on my body -- the shorts don't so much compress my fat as they just... push everything up and in. My stomach looks rounder, fuller, and higher, but if you take a look around back, so does my butt. Which makes sense! The fat has to go somewhere, it's not just fucking off to Majorca for a vacay. Both shapers looked about the same.

SHAPER THAT FELT THE BEST: The Assets shorts, and it's not even close. The Spanx short is made of a thinner, softer material, which is its undoing: As soon as the top band rolls just a little bit down your back, it snowballs into an increasingly unforgiving rubber band determined to slice you in half like people cheese. The fabric in the Assets short has a greater heft, and the top might fold over once, but it quickly loses interest in killing you.

Next, I tried a pair of more expensive high-waisted shorts: Assets High-Waist Mid-Thigh Slimmer ($46) vs. Spanx Thinstincts™ High-Waisted Mid-Thigh Short ($76).

Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed
Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

SHAPER THAT LOOKED THE BEST: The Assets short slightly edges out the Spanx short with the dimple smoothing, but again: my stomach looks like someone's taking a hot air balloon ride to my boobs.

SHAPER THAT FELT THE BEST: The Assets short was a little more determined not to roll down my back than the Spanx short. Both of these are made of pretty soft material, and as long as you can tuck these suckers under the band of your bra it's not going to snowball into a human-sized hair tie.

Next, here's the Assets Flat Out Flawless Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Body Briefer ($60) vs. the Spanx Shape My Day Open-Bust Mid-Thigh Bodysuit ($88):

Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

(Sorry, quick intermission: Can we talk about how some of these product names sound like someone put out a piece of fly paper for adjectives? I know that's not the point here, but these titles read like they're all the fourth direct-to-DVD spin-off sequels to a movie that was popular 15 years ago.)

Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

SHAPER THAT LOOKS THE BEST: It's a draw, IMO. From the side, all the fat in my middle is still delicately rounded into looking like God's Martini olive, but from the front, I can't tell the difference between the shapers. But again, this is because I've spent the better part of 15 minutes staring at my middle section and nobody does that to you unless you're pregnant or you're a character in Alien about to have a real bad day.

SHAPER THE FEELS THE BEST: Slight advantage to the Spanx. They both feel pretty silky, like a very luxurious sausage casing. The Assets shaper has a few more seams, but you don't see or feel them. The one problem with the Assets is that the straps are attached with hooks in the back for literally no reason other than to come undone the second I pull them on. I will say that if you insist on wearing shape wear, having the straps take the pressure off your ribcage massively outweighs the disadvantages of having to entirely disrobe every time you have to pee.

Finally, I tried some tights: the Assets High-Waist Shaping Tights ($14.59): vs. Spanx Luxe Leg High-Waisted Tights ($38).

Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed
Mike Rose/Charlotte Gomez/BuzzFeed

SHAPER THAT LOOKED THE BEST: The Assets tights, and I think the cheapness was an advantage here. Because they had less power, they smoothed out my belly dimples, but didn't have enough heft where it was able to do all that much power molding.

SHAPER THAT FELT THE BEST: The Assets Tights. The Spanx tights did that thing where the top rolls down your body until you are vivisected but hey anything for beauty, right?

SO! I feel like I learned a lot today!

1. While I will stress that not everyone's body reacts like mine -- I think it's worth asking yourself: If you are *convinced* beyond a reasonable doubt that ANY shape wear makes you look thinner, where did you get this idea from? Have you ever asked people if they can tell the difference? Can YOU tell the difference?

2. On a practical note: You might not need as much shaping power as you think you do. I am definitely drilled to believe that tight=right, but apparently up is down and left is three.

3. There are many MANY reasons to wear shape wear -- for starters, they can be pretty effective against your thighs rubbing together into a painful nightmare -- and if it's something that makes YOU feel like a high and tight superhero, then that's great! But if someone is telling you that you can't wear something without that added support -- beyond that just being a ridiculous thing to tell someone -- there's a good chance they're reacting from a lifetime of socialization and not actually seeing what your body looks like.