A few days ago, I went to the bridal shop where my wedding dress is being stored. The last time I tried it on, I noticed that the long lined bra (better known as a bustier) which I had to wear underneath was peeking out of the top of the dress. It was slight, but I knew there was no way I would wear it like that, and I was bummed. On top of that, I was still not fitting into the dress, especially in the tummy area. Things were looking somewhat ripply and lumpy, if you know what I mean. Luckily, my friend Andrea would be coming into town soon. Andi is the sweet girl that sold the dress to me, and soon after moved to Richmond for school. We stayed close and she has been helping me with all things wedding since the move. Occasionally on weekends, Andi comes up to work in the bridal shop and see her family. So I made an appointment with her for the following Saturday to see if she could work some Andi magic.
Once we were in the fitting room, Andi helped me into the dress. As she tightened the laces and zipped me up, she said. “Aubree, look at all this fabric I’m holding! You’ve lost a bunch of weight!” Problem was, yes my chest had gotten smaller making the top half of the dress loose, but my lower half was still looking less than cute. Unfortunately, all I could think of was Miss Clairee (Olympia Dukakis’ character) from Steel Magnolias whispering, “She looks like two hogs fightin’ under a blanket!” Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but my first fitting will be in July and unless I seriously lose ten more pounds or have some sort of crazy lipo by then (which would be cheating!), then I will have a big problem.
The seamstress was fitting another bride next to me and walked over, her gaze slowing working its way over my body. I felt a little embarrassed as she lifted up the chiffon overlay and examined the satin underlining that pulled so tightly against my belly. “Well,” she said, “I can take an inch total out of this underlining, but that’s the best I can do. I can’t alter the bustier so you would have to get that top part fixed at a specialty shop” Grrrrrrreat. There goes my plan to relax and leave it to the seamstress!
Andi saw the look on my face and quickly dragged me back into the fitting room. She told me to hang on a second, and then disappeared. In a flash, she was back with a little plastic bag containing a tan stocking-looking thing. Could it be? Were these the mythical Spanx? She nodded smugly and told me get in. Now, for those of you that have never heard of Spanx, they are basically a very tight, stretchy, compression garment that you wear under your clothes to help you look slimmer and smoother. Apparently, they are almost every celebrity’s dirty little secret. And now here I was, literally jamming my thighs into the shorts part and pulling them up over the bustier, right up to the bottom of my bust. Andi and I were laughing hysterically as I did actual jumping jacks trying to get them up all the way. But as she zipped up my gown one more time, I nearly fell over when I looked at my reflection in the mirror. Gone were the ripples across my tummy. No more pulling at the hips. My body looked like an hourglass and the dress fit like a glove. A tight one, albeit, but still…victory! Andi told me that--worst case scenario--I could wear the Spanx and have the dress let out. But she was confident that if I kept up the hard work, I could get away without either. I’m not convinced, but at least I know I have the options now.
Later that night, I got to talking with my mom about the Spanx. She of course had to tell me all about the panty girdles of her day, and it made me think about the illusion of beauty. Since the beginning of fashion, women have had some kind of garment or contraption that serves to give the illusion of a more beautiful, slimmer, and/or youthful appearance. From corsets and hot rollers to spray tans and Spanx, the options are just dizzying. Some women even go so far as to alter their bodies in an extreme way, such as with plastic surgery. I admit that I have often called these women superficial, and wondered why they didn’t just accept what they were given. But really, how is wearing makeup to cover a zit any different? What about using a flat iron to smooth my frizzy curls into sleek, straight hair? And what about squeezing my body into hot, uncomfortable Spanx? When it comes down to it, we all alter ourselves in some way to look and feel better. Some are more extreme than others, but that doesn’t matter. Am I unhappy with my appearance? Sometimes. Do I wish I had Halle Berry’s body? Sure. The point is, we have to learn to love ourselves enough to at least accept what we have, or we will never be truly happy. There is nothing wrong with pulling out a few magic tricks, as long as we think of it has enhancing our natural beauty rather than changing ourselves into someone we don't recognize. That’s a lesson I need to work on, and one more thing to add my resolution.
Published On: May 07, 2010