Gotta Say 'No Thanks' to the Spanx

Here it is: The Spanx® Higher Power High-Waisted Panty.
Here it is: The Spanx® Higher Power High-Waisted Panty.

OMG, if I have to wear that Spanx thing again I think I just might scream.

Just got back from a meeting at Wake Forest University, which moved from Wake Forest, N.C. to Winston-Salem just over 50 years ago. (That’s your trivia for today.) It was one of those rare occasions where I had to ditch my sweats and tees for business attire.


It’s a two-hour drive – well, for most people; me, about 90 minutes – and I didn’t want to arrive all wrinkled, so linen was out. (Hey, it’s another 90-degree day. Linen is IN.) I have a really nice, navy blue, knit dress that was perfect for the day. It’s long and maintains its shape no matter what you do to it. With the neck and sleeves trimmed in ivory, it’s timeless and spans both spring and summer.

But notice that I said the word “knit.” You know what that means, and I’m not trying to emphasize what one could generously call my curves.

So, like, four years ago, I bought one of those Spanx nightmares. A friend was going on and on about hers, and I’d never purchased any sort of “shapewear” before. However, since my waist and hips were so completely unrestricted, I figured I’d get one.  At the time, I’d just purchased some ivory pants, and found the idea of “smooth” lines appealing.

I bought a black Higher Power High-Waisted Panty, which just looked … weird. I put it on. Still weird. I wore it under my nice, new outfit and drove to Charlotte, which is about three hours (just over two for me). I remember being completely self-conscious during my meeting that day, convinced everyone and their dog knew I was wearing a Spanx.

After that meeting I hopped in my car, drove to the nearest fast-food joint, went to the bathroom and stripped it off.

Mind you, I don’t like wearing undergarments, period. (Too much information? Sorry.) I will wear the most essential piece, but for the top half? Forget it. Only when I have to, and today I had to.


So there I was, all business-like – with the black pumps and black Coach, natch – looking, hopefully, smooth and well-Spanxed. This time, it didn’t feel so obvious, but maybe it was because I felt more relaxed. It was, after all, one of my fave dresses, the kind that makes you look completely pulled together no matter the occasion.

But I still felt weird wearing the Spanx. I mean, this thing went all the way up to my bra line – TMI, I know – and all the way down to just above my knee. I thought about not wearing it at all, but my body is changing and, well, far from “smooth.”


I was in Winston-Salem just over two hours. Soon as I left, I made a beeline to the nearest Starbucks, stripped off the Spanx and the brassiere (sorry!), switched out the pumps for flip-flops and immediately felt much, much better.

Sure, sometimes when I stop moving, certain body parts don’t – I told you to stop laughing – but I know I’m working hard to change all that, so it’s OK.


Don’t get me wrong. I know ladies who swear by Spanx, and that’s just peachy. Just not for me.

This morning when I put on my underwear I could hear the fruit-of-the-loom guys laughing at me.  ~ Rodney Dangerfield


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.