I cannot stand VPL. The dreaded Visible Panty Line. Aside from the fact that this acronym contains the word ‘panty’, possibly the dirtiest word in the English language, VPL is just hideous to look at and should be avoided at all costs.
As a youngish woman, I’m often met with shock when I reveal to other women that I wear support unmentionables. I actually wear shapewear everyday, that’s how much I hate VPL. I don’t wear the hardcore, kidney crushing stuff on a daily basis but if you take a peek under my dress on any given day you’ll definitely find some sort of smoothing undergarment there. There’s a real Bridget Jones stigma associated with shapewear and I’d like to put a stop to it. Beyonce and Eva Longoria have been photographed wearing stomach suckers under their red carpet gowns. If it’s good enough for Miss B, it’s good enough for me.
If you’re not familiar with the old tummy suckers, it can be difficult to know where to start. I’m a seasoned shapewear buyer so follow me petal as I take you on a tour of my top 5 shapewear must haves.
1. A skin tone mini dress with removable straps
This is the single most useful item that I have in my wardrobe. I actually have two, one with a padded bra and extra support that provides additional cleavage when I’m going fancy and/or strapless, and an unpadded light support one that I wear more casually. I’m a huge Nancy Ganz fan, their pieces are expensive but worth it. Be sure to check online though before paying retail; I once scored one of their Sleek Slip Dresses (pictured above) for half the retail price on eBay. If you’re after older stock, then check out Zodee. They have a great range of shapewear, including Nancy Ganz, at reasonable prices. I also have a great one from Hush Hush – the black multiway slip. I like this one because it’s straight across the top and gives less cleavage for days when I want to keep the puppies covered up.
2. Skin tone high rise underwear
You want the underwear to go right up to your bra line to avoid your bra cutting you off across your back. I’m serious, it’s so unattractive but it works. If I’m wearing a really tight dress, I go to the power of two, layering high rise support underwear underneath my skin tone mini. It makes breathing a teeny bit more difficult but gives you smooth curves that would make Jessica Rabbit squirm. I’ve tried Spanx and honestly, they aren’t my favourite. I love Body Wrap High Waist Briefs (pictured above) from Freshpair. If you have thigh issues, I’ve heard that Assests thigh shapers are the bomb for mid-weight support and comfort.
3. A strapless singlet bra top
I don’t know when it became okay for young ladies to go walking around with their bra straps showing but Emily Post would roll over in her grave if she saw what we’ve become. You NEED a Sassybax Strapless Under Wire Torso Trim. I’m not fond of binding corsets so this relaxed yet supportive piece is perfect for wearing under tops where I don’t want bra straps showing.
4. A loose seamless slip
For wearing under flowy dresses that cause static or stick to your skin. You won’t realise how much you need one of these until you own one. I like Soho modal slips. They sit beautifully under your clothing and they’re $25 from Myer. They’re also delicious to sleep in and little bit sexy too. Bonus.
5. A fitted black minidress slip
This needs to be less underwear and more clothing. I have a short black mini dress slip from the Nancy Ganz Dream Fit Cotton range and I can’t even tell you how useful it is. I wear it under too-short dresses to add a little length or under sheer pieces to give a little more coverage. Make sure you invest in quality. You’ll get so much wear out of this, it’ll be worth it.
Shapewear is an expensive but worthwhile investment. It’s the difference between a dress looking okay on you and looking spectacular on you. Keep an eye on eBay for bargain pieces and shop online for discounts. If you’re forking over big bucks for a gorgeous gown don’t upset the new dress by wearing her with terrible underwear. She deserves the best. As do you.