Shaped fakery: compression garments

9 May

This Internet find does not have the sexy Spanx for Men packaging, but it does show what it is to put a band-aid on a wound.

Gents, would you wear a girdle, even if you knew John Wayne wore one? How about a compression garment, even if you weren’t post-surgery or an athlete? Would you wear a shaping garment for ego’s sake?

I understand that wearing a compression piece can visually reduce inches from a person’s frame and boost confidence. This is great, but at the end of the day, you’re still you, you still live in the body you obviously aren’t happy with because you’re trying to instantly change it, and sooner or later, your secret will be revealed.

Bubble butt technology

There are all sorts of shaping pieces for different areas – stomach, back, chest, even your butt.

In my research for today’s post and found this article from a few years ago, raving about compression garments. It’s a funny piece, describing different companies making different compression garments that can pare inches off the waist, lift the butt, and straighten spines.

This led me to the Andrew Christian clothing website, which offers bubble butt technology – with frontal enhancement – in a jock strap design that pushes your bum cheeks together with side compression – I don’t want to know how it enhances the front. (Gay and gay curious men are bound to find this more interesting than straight men (though you never know)).

Equmen offers garments with “helix-mapping technology”, to “immediately improve health, well-being and visible appearance”, and in a Slim ‘N Lift undershirt with firming panels  “you can look inches smaller and pound [sic] thinner without exercise”. In other words, wear our garments if you’re too lazy to take care of yourself.

The New York Times declares men’s Spanx, shaping garments that form, contour, and compress,  a huge hit in stores and online. A Neiman Marcus spokesperson suggested that one way for men to think of a foundation garment is that it is about “problem solving, and another way of feeling secure and prepared for life.”

I consider Spanx as modern-day armor, which makes sense since we live in a society that pits us against each other and teaches us not to like ourselves – hey, it’s about “problem-solving” after all. To my mind, shaping garments sells us temporary relief from what we don’t like about our selves, keeping us as far away from self-acceptance as possible.

But it’s all about perspective. From my perspective, I say that in an arm wrestle between honesty and ego, honesty should always win.

Lies

Shaping garments are to me, the band-aid solution to a larger problem – fat, a result of low self-esteem, depression, poor education, a sluggish thyroid, or just plain laziness.  Wearing a shaping garment does not change the fact that you’ve got a weight problem. I fear that people who wear compression garments will treat this as an instant slimming insurance policy and a license to overeat.

Fat is a consequence of lifestyle choices.

“If your pipes are clogged, you call a plumber,” says Jason Brown, personal trainer at Snap Fitness in Toronto, “If your challenge is weight or an unhealthy lifestyle, you call trainers and nutritionists.”

“People want the easy way out,” he says, “but unfortunately there is no easy way out. Being in the shape you want takes commitment, consistency, and effort. Getting healthy is a process, not a product.”

As I spoke with Jason, I realized this all comes down to one concept – behaviour modification. This means change, and that can scare people.

Keep it real

Have we reached a point where natural has become taboo? That fantasy has become reality, where compressed bodies and photo-shopped faces are preferred to real people? I hope not.

Compression garments are not your savior, they are not a ticket to a better life, they will not fix the problems you’re not dealing with. Compression garments are addictive like drugs. Once you’re on them, you can’t stop, like the fateful day you decided to put a wig on your balding head.

Instead of wearing dishonest foundation garments, try these simple dressing and lifestyle tips:

  • Wear your waistband on your waist, not under your belly – this draws attention to the vastness of your abdomen;
  • Visually break up your front by wearing a sports jacket or a waistcoat over your  shirt, or wear vertical (NEVER horizontal) stripes to add an illusion of trimness while adding height;
  • Wear clothes that fit properly – not too large, not to small, but just right;
  • Become conscious of how much fat you’re consuming and make some easy changes – go easy on the butter, the milk, the cream, and dairy in general – you will notice your pants feeling looser soon enough;
  • Stand straight with your shoulders square and visually lift 5 lbs from your abdomen;
  • Drink more water;
  • Try a cleanse;
  • Go for more walks;
  • Discover self-respect and how awesome you already are.
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2 Responses to “Shaped fakery: compression garments”

  1. Dr David Ellis May 9, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Well said!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Man boobs | In the Key of He - May 23, 2013

    […] to help my guys feel and look good in their clothes, so instead of resorting to the outright lie of compression garments to flatten your chest, try these dressing […]

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