Watch it Wiggle, See it Jiggle

So as I think I may have mentioned, I’ve been feeling a little frumpy lately. It’s weather, it’s fatigue, it's the season, it’s the whole enchilada. Anyway, I decided that maybe what I was lacking (other than a closet full of clothes that I don’t hate), was a firm foundation upon which to build.

Foundation, as in undergarments, lingerie, unmentionables, drawers, intimate apparel. Back in “the day ™”, I used to work part time in the IA (that's intimate apparel for those of you not down with retailspeak) Department at Macy’s in Atlanta (back when it was still Rich’s, then Rich’s-Macy’s). I didn’t do fittings (though I still got an eyeful), but I could sell a bra, a slip, thongs, granny panties, nightgowns, whatever. I also came to learn that Spanx, while having a ridiculous name*, were immensely popular for smoothing out, sucking in and pushing up. I also learned that they were insanely expensive.

Since I am not made of money, I needed an alternative. Thankfully, Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, must have known that cash-challenged women like me still need a little support, so she created a scaled down line called Assets (so much better) available at Target. And so yesterday during lunch, I braved the elements, the traffic, and lunchtime Christmas shoppers and plunked down $22 for a Fantastic Firmers Tank in nude. Another reason to be thankful? Sara’s Assets go up to a XXL, assuring that women of size can join the club. As a side note, our local Sears has all their signs in English and Spanish – the Spanish for Plus Size is Damas Robustas. I’d rather be Robust than Plus. But that’s just me.

Anyway, I was happy to be supporting Sara, who like me is from Georgia. As it turns out, I am equally glad to have Sara supporting me.

The tank looks exactly like what you’d expect – a spandex/lycra nude tank top. It doesn’t feel heavy on the hanger, the material feels like it has some give, and it’s supple enough that it won’t look like you have on a girdle with lots of straps and buckles. Sexy, it’s not. It’s clearly made for function, though in black, surely it would look more like lingerie and less like an ace bandage, but that’s true of every nude undergarment – they’re the workhorse of their breed, but they’re built for comfort, not speed.

That said, since it was such a basic looking tank, it seemed like it might not be that effective. When I tried it on for fit last night, I was pleasantly surprised. In spite of the simple design and seemingly light feel, the Fantastic Firmer does what it says it’ll do.

What it doesn’t do is pinch, bind, hurt or create welts in my skin. What it does is takes what’s there and build a flexible dam that keeps everying in place, holds it in a little and makes the wobbly parts move a little less. Imagine a sports bra for your gut, and that’s the Fantastic Firmers Tank.

I have only one small complaint – and it’s really not Sara’s fault, but because it’s a tank, and because of the sports bra-like properties, it puts me in danger of sporting a uniboob. It’s not insurmountable, and actually, it’s not entirely bad because it creates a little cleavage and offers secondary support – I still have to wear a bra – at my size, it’s not an option to release the hounds.

So was it worth the $22? So far, yes. I’m wearing it today – and three hours in, it’s not itchy, doesn’t chafe, and in this nice cold weather, adds a layer of warmth. The real proof will be tonight after work – I’ll have a little shopping excursion to see if it allows me to wear some of those cute thinner knit sweaters, or whether I still look as though I’m smuggling jello cubes out of the Piccadilly. If it doesn’t help, then at least I have some light foundation on the “feeling bloated” days and I didn’t spend a fortune. If it works, I’ll be heading to Target this weekend for another tank in nude, and one in black.

I’ll keep you posted.


*The only brand with a sillier name than Spanx are Cuddl' Duds - basically long underwear. Also immensely popular. Go figure.