There’s no denying that King! Classic T-Shirt .Lizzo is a champion of self-love. From her music to her recent Amazon Prime show Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, the singer is all about body acceptance. But some would argue shapewear is at odds with that ethos. It’s hard to separate the compressive garment from its legacy of fat-shaming and sexism. Shapewear is one of the oldest types of clothing, and for centuries, it was meant to squeeze the body to make it smaller by any means necessary. In the early 2000s, Spanx dominated the shapewear space. With ads that promoted smoothing, sculpting and slimming down womens’ figures, the brand was all about attaining thinness.
King! Classic T-Shirt, hoodie, sweater, longsleeve and ladies t-shirt“The Spanx aesthetic so penetrated the culture that as a young girl in a larger body, it felt more like a requirement than a choice that I squeeze myself into a pair anytime a garment clung to my body,” wrote Emily McCombs for Huffington Post King! Classic T-Shirt . Twenty years later, and fashion’s body positivity push means shapewear brands have to adopt new messaging that focuses on inclusivity, comfort and empowerment. In 2019, when Kim Kardashian West launched Skims, she arguably revolutionized the space by marketing shapewear as sexy and offering a wide range of sizes (XS-4X). The brand has also included many different body types in its campaigns. Lizzo’s Yitty is taking a similar approach. Instead of the constricting feeling that traditional shapewear is known for, her pieces comfortably hug the body, she says. Spanx, too, has evolved over the years, moving away from the “slimming” narrative. However, shapewear in and of itself can seem like an outdated concept, one that still implies that our bodies need to be “fixed” in some way. Because of this association, body positivity activists who wear or promote shapewear are often swiftly called out and accused of being hypocritical. But many women, like Lizzo, have been wearing body-shaping garments from a young age due to societal pressures. In a press release, the singer said she first wore shapewear in the fifth or sixth grade and found the compressive garments uncomfortable and restrictive.
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