Hey there, I'm Mathew, and like a lot of people, my weight fluctuates quite a bit.
A decade ago I lost around 75 pounds, and ever since I've struggled to maintain a constant weight. It seems like I'm always either gaining or losing weight.
Then, about a year ago, my weight slowly crept up by a few pounds. Despite trying to do more cardio, I've been unable get rid of them.
So I resigned, and got a few larger shirts and pants to hide the extra jelly.
These days, this is my standard work outfit:
But I'd heard about a quick and dirty trick to make yourself look slimmer: Spanx.
Could Spanx, which is mostly marketed to women, help me fit back into my old jeans? I decided to find out.
Here are the rules for my weeklong Spanx challenge:
1. I'd wear some type of Spanx underneath my clothing every day for a standard workweek (Monday–Friday).
2. Each day I would wear an outfit consisting of clothing that I used to wear, but that I typically wouldn't wear now because of those pesky few pounds.
3. I wouldn't tell the majority of my co-workers to see whether anyone noticed anything ~different~ about my appearance.
For my challenge, I tried out both men's and women's Spanx so that I could experience multiple perspectives on shapewear.
Obviously Spanx is more known for being a women's product, so to really experience the (what I assumed would be) BLINDING PAIN of wearing Spanx, I got a women's bodysuit as well as a compression top and bottoms designed for men.
When my Spanx order arrived, I was a little surprised by the packaging of the women's bodysuit. I'm not sure if it was the Amazon retailer or what, but I'd expected something flashier?
Then there was the quote on the tag: "The biggest risk in life is not risking." Like, what the fuck does that mean? And what is a quote like that doing on expensive shapewear? You are supposed to lock in my muffin top, not try to get me to Eat, Pray, Love.
And yes, you saw that price tag correctly. The bodysuit costs $84!
Which is about 10 times what I normally spend on underwear.
Although my men's Spanx came in a nicely designed box, it was definitely no less expensive. The total cost of the top and bottom combined was $106. Spanx definitely ain't cheap.
One thing that also caught my eye was the claim on the men’s top that the item could improve my posture and support my lower back. A flatter stomach and better posture? Sign me up!
After putting on my outfit for the day (which included a pair of white pants that I hadn't felt confident enough to wear in months), I started feeling pretty awesome.
Sure, I felt like a sausage stuffed into casing that was way too small, but the improvement to how I looked while wearing Spanx was undeniable.
Goodbye, backward-facing muffin top!
Now, I may have felt more confident with how my body looked, but as a result I felt sweaty and awkward for the entire day.
Awkwardness aside, the Spanx had me looking noticeably trimmer.
These black studded jeans used to be one of my favorites. As you can see from the picture on the left, though, wearing them bestows me with visible back fat, so it'd been about a year since these pants saw the light of day.
But yeah, going to the bathroom was a legit pain in the ass.
When I got home and out of the Spanx, I was finally able to rehydrate.
This was another outfit that I haven't allowed myself to wear, but when I was looking at the side-by-sides, I honestly didn't notice much of a difference.
Which made me feel a little silly, thinking that I probably could have been wearing this shirt this whole time.
Also, wearing Spanx underneath this outfit felt like a bit of a waste. If the difference isn't visible, what's the point of wearing shapewear?
Underneath this outfit I wore my women's bodysuit, and again, I couldn't really see much of a difference.
OK my butt did look a little more lifted, but it's hardly noticeable.
Although I didn't really see much effect from the Spanx, it still made going to the bathroom a pain in the ass.
Day 5: Ending my week with a reduction in visible back fat, and making a not-so-smart decision to wear Spanx to the gym.
By the end of the week I'd definitely noticed that wearing Spanx made more of a difference to my posterior than to my stomach and belly fat. I appreciated the visible difference, but beyond the butt, wearing pants that are too small for you is very uncomfortable, regardless of shapewear. I may not have had a muffin top, but the Spanx didn't make my pants any less snug in the legs, etc.
Later in the afternoon, I changed into my gym clothes and hit up my local 24 Hour Fitness — a decision I almost immediately regretted.
Seriously though, I don't know what I was thinking.
I usually have a Britney Spears–inspired approach to workout wear, meaning I normally DGAF about what I wear to the gym. But I thought that maybe if I felt sexier, I might work out harder? Wrong! I was super uncomfortable and actually cut my workout short.
1. Spanx is insanely uncomfortable, which may sound pretty obvious, but for me it wasn't necessarily the compression that made me uncomfortable. Things like the inconvenience of going to the bathroom and being extra sweaty because of the snug fabric bothered me the most.
2. Although I felt a little more confident in some outfits, the Spanx didn't make a visible difference with everything I wore. Plus, not one person mentioned noticing anything different about me all week. I know, I shouldn't care about what anyone else thinks, but damn, it might have made wearing the Spanx feel a little more worthwhile if the results were noticeable to more people than just me.
3. There may be evidence to back up the claim that Spanx "improves posture," but I don't really think my posture changed during the week. I have the same back and shoulder problems I had before wearing Spanx.
With all of that being said, would I wear Spanx again? Yeah, probably.
The next time I need to go to a wedding or event where I might be photographed. But it's unlikely you'll ever see me wearing Spanx to work ever again.