How To Get Control in Your Wardrobe
The bumps and wrinkles that come up in many busy women's lives aren't always figurative. More like figure-related.
The good news is these kind may be easier to fix, or at least, to camouflage.
For this, we give thanks to Spanx, the first of the new generation of girls'-best-friend undergarments, a brand-name that is now used as freely as Kleenex or Band-Aid to describe underclothes that shape, support and smooth the figure. Endorsed by Oprah, Tyra Banks and a long list of red-carpet regulars both full-figured and slim, Spanx and its imitators have reinvented the girdle as modern, whole-body hosiery.
Now, wise retailers are putting similar materials right into their clothing, with built-in bras, invisible, tummy-controlling panels and other features designed to hide, lift or shape. It's the next evolution -- clothing that literally sucks.
"Women would come to our focus groups wearing these Reitmans Comfort Pants... So we started to look at an opportunity, to say 'Hold on, everybody's wearing these things, how do we engineer them into our product?'" says Lara Smith, general merchandise manager for Calgary-based Mark's Work Wearhouse.
In response, the company developed its "Curvetech" clothing that smoothes and shapes the women who wear it. Over the past few years, they've introduced it in pants, capris and skirts with "tummy control," "butt lifter" and "total control," (a combination of both); tank tops with "bust enhancer" built-in bras, and dresses with various combinations of all of the above.
"We are about solving our customers' problems," says Smith. Mark's core female customers are in their thirties and forties; women who have had kids and whose figures are maturing, to put it kindly. "They're telling us, 'I've got muffin tops and tummies and all of these wonderful things, and I just want to have more shape.'"
Good quality, shaper undergarments are expensive too, she says. Why not eliminate that extra layer of clothing, and cost, by combining the two?
Reitmans is another Canadian chain that has been expanding its assortment of shaper clothes in recent years. Their "comfort fit" dress pants, jeans and capris have been huge sellers for them, says communications supervisor Lia Pietremala.
"It is an emerging trend that a lot of retailers are doing because a lot of busy career women, working moms, they're not necessarily in the gym five days a week, you know? They do the best that they can and they hope their clothes can kind of help them along the way." Pietremala says Reitmans' growing selection of figure-taming pants is popular "because not everybody wants to wear Spanx.
"For us, it's also the comfort factor. You really want something that's easy to care for. You're not dry cleaning them, you're not ironing them, you're not having to put support pantyhose underneath them; they literally are wash and wear."
Tummy Tuck jeans, which do what their name implies, are popular with the same demographic. Locally, they're available at many retailers (visit tummytuck.ca for a full list). Similar technology is available in swimsuits, like the MiracleSuit, which purports to take 10 pounds off in 10 seconds. Even Sara Blakely, the entrepreneur who founded Spanx in 2000, said in a recent interview that she has future plans to put Spanx technology into regular clothes. "I'm very inspired to make certain articles of clothing that I won't disclose, that are in the works right now, with certain elements of Spanx hidden in them that will be fabulous," she told Glamour.com. Keep in mind, that's on top of the more than 200 different products Spanx now sells in higher-end stores across North America, the U.K. and Australia, and online. They'll soon be launching their lower-priced line, Assets, here in Canada at The Bay.
Written by: Marta Gold, Edmonton Journal
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
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