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Shapewear Revolution: Movers and Shapers | By Carol AQUINO, Editor-at-Large

Shapewear Revolution

Movers and Shapers

By Carol AQUINO, Editor-at-Large

Yummie Tummie's New Paperdolls Shapewear Collection
Yummie Tummie's New Paperdolls Shapewear Collection

Sculpt your curves in body slimming paper-thin shapewear. Innovative paper-thin fabric. Comfy curve-sculpting technology. Unbelievably light and beautiful. Yummie Tummie's new Paperdolls shapewear collection will have you floating on air...more information.

[Photo courtesy of Yummie Tummie]

[London], April 11, 2012 - When you hear about shapewear, you think of the 'granny pants' that Bridget Jones made famous the world over, you should reconsider.

Today's modern styles involve a substantial amount of technology to produce garments that not only tuck you in or are 'invisible' when worn under clothing, but that are also extremely comfortable to wear. Not surprisingly, it's the highest growing sector in the lingerie industry (being valued at £520 billion in 2010), with prospects of even bigger growth in years to come.

Lycra Beauty Fabric
Lycra Beauty Fabric, Photo courtesy of Lycra...more information.
[Photo courtesy of Lycra]

New fabrics, sewing techniques and garment construction are responsible for these new 'comfortable yet effective' products, and innovation seems to be the name of the game for most lingerie and fabric brands. Invista, the company behind the invention of Lycra, launched the Lycra Beauty Fabric in 2010 in order to supply the growing market for shapewear.

The company used 3-D body scanning and force transducers to guarantee optimal shaping for bodies in movement. The brand guarantees that, with the four new fabrics created, companies can make garments that will appeal to most target markets. Other innovations include shapewear pieces microencapsulated with caffeine in an effort to reduce cellulite, including the iPant by Wacoal, and Lytesse's garments that have aloe vera microcapsules to moisturize the skin.

Marks & Spencer Waist Sculpt™ Wear Your Own Bra Slip

For a sculpted silhouette and smooth curves, this cupless body features a panel design, added stretch and adjustable straps for the perfect, comfortable fit...more information.

[Photo courtesy of Marks & Spencer]

The use of shapewear by celebrities and their public endorsement elevated their status to more than just socially acceptable. Nowadays women from all shapes and sizes are embracing shapewear as foundation garment to look and feel better. And although the shapewear business profits largely from their plus-size customers, it is the 'invisible panty line effect' that has been giving the product its novelty factor. "No matter how young the customer, she wants a smooth line and is really aware of panty lines", says Maureen Stabnau, senior vice president of merchandising at barenecessities.com, an online boutique dedicated to lingerie and swimwear.

Technological breakthroughs on garment and fabric construction in shapewear are impacting other clothing segments as well. Lane Bryant's T3 - 'tighter tummy technology' - denim line was developed by scanning the bodies of thousands of women and has a denim line that is not only fitted for curvier lines but also come with shapewear technology to control prominent stomachs. The denim is a blend of cotton, polyester and spandex, with the polyester providing improved retention characteristics.

It is enhanced with a nylon-spandex mesh insert inside the front panel of the jeans to flatten the stomach and a two-inch-wide elastic strip that wraps around the entire waistband to prevent 'gapping'. These construction details are also available in trouser styles and, given the success achieved in recent months, Lane Bryant's creation team is considering expanding the denim offerings into colours and alternative washes, and inserting the same T3 concept into skirts and dresses for 2012.

The feel-good factor of shapewear is a crucial selling point. Enhancement undergarments help to reduce a dress or suit size, smooth bulges, lift what sags and straighten postures - all of that while being almost invisible to others -, definitely creating a positive psychological outcome. Also, shapewear provides a great solution (and compromise) for those who wish to refrain from more extreme measures, such as plastic surgery. All in all, it is a step into new technological grounds to enhance garments and produce pieces that not simply cover up but also enhance curves and fit properly in all body types. As the T3 campaign says, there is no doubt that "technology just got sexy".

Nearly Nude: Thinvisible Firming Microfiber Slip Flexees: Fat Free Dressing Hi-waist Boyshorts Body Wrap: Pin-up Shaping Thong Bodysuit with Underwire
Nearly Nude: Thinvisible Firming Microfiber Slip

Exceptional comfort. Invisible shaping. Revolutionary design. Made from soft microfiber combined with innovative Thinvisible fabric, Nearly Nude seamless shapewear provides 360 degrees of comfortable control and fashionable shaping....more information
Flexees: Fat Free Dressing Hi-waist Boyshorts

The Fat-Free Dressing® Collection from Flexees secretly slims, shapes, and smoothes your body. Feel comfortable all day long while looking slimmer and trimmer in your favorite fashions...more information
Body Wrap: Pin-up Shaping Thong Bodysuit with Underwire

Control yourself in comfort when you need it most with all-day firm body control from Body Wrap. Experience the collection of seamless shapewear for every woman who wants to look her best...more information
Photos courtesy of barenecessities.com
Biggest shapewear names on the market:
Spanx, Playtex, Flexees by Maidenform, Rago, Body Wrap, Scala, Yummie Tummie, Slimpressions, Shapeez, Magic Knickers, Cosabella Breathe, and Wacoal. In the UK the biggest selling brands also include Marks & Spencer, Gok Wan and Triumph.


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