Viewing life curiously.
Selling fax machines door-to-door in Florida’s heat and humidity, while wearing pantie hose that were designed one-size-fits-all with clinging waistbands and a seam along the toes, just wasn’t cutting it for 27-year-old, Florida State University graduate Sara Blakely. So in 2000, she drained her savings account and moved into a small apartment in Atlanta, GA and worked to create a more modern pantie hose. After a year of prototypes and human testing, on her mother and close female friends, Spanx was born. Featuring different sized waistbands for different customers and no seams along the toes.
Innovative packaging and marketing lead to Oprah Winfrey listing the item as one of her “Favorite Things” and interviewing Sara from her Atlanta apartment in 2000. And 14 years later, the privately owned company generates over $250 million annually in revenues and continues to be innovative and a leader in foundation garments, including undergarments and body shapewear, designed to give the wearer a slim and shapely appearance. In 2009 the brand introduced its “Haute Contour” line which features lace thongs with waist reinforcements and in a variety of colors. The company also has a line of swimwear, bras, pants, and leggings. In 2010, the company introduced “MANX – Spanx for Men” body shaping undergarments.
And now the Spanx brand is expanding yet again with the launch of “Spanx Denim” in a variety of colors and styles. A brilliant concept obviously, however out of curiosity, we asked a group of women, between the ages of 25 and 54, if the product allows women to cheat – instead of doing the work of dieting and exercising to get the desired shape. We also questioned if some purchases, made by some women specifically to attract men, could be considered deceptive, leading men to walk away from a potential romance or relationship once the discovery is made.
Gwen, an active mother, said she exercised and lost 55 pounds on her own, but the loose skin from pregnancy and the weight loss couldn’t be toned, and believed Spanx would definitely help her. She went on to say that she’s “All about looking and presenting your best,” but if she was dating she said, “I would put my real self out there.” and not wear the product to mislead a potential partner. Gwen has been happily married for 21 years.
And Robin, who is going to be 50 in a couple of months, said she’s always been a size 00 to size 2 and that, “We all have some flaws we might be a little self-conscious about. So if Spanx helps someone feel a little more comfortable with themselves, I am all for it.” As far as the idea of deceiving men, she believed the fabric on Spanx could only cover up a “certain amount” and can’t work miracles, so if he’s dating her for the right reasons, he wouldn’t care “if she was a size 0 or a size 14.”
Like Robin, Jamilla was confused about the design of the product,. She chimed in with her conclusion that “they are JEANS, not an augmentation.” She went on to say, “They smooth the line, nothing more. If a woman has a muffin top or fat in odd places, Spanx won’t help that. All they help is cellulite from jiggling. They won’t make you think an out of shape woman is in shape.”
According to Wikipedia and the product’s website, “Spanx specializes in foundation garments, including undergarments and bodysuit shapewear, which are intended to give the wearer a slim and shapely appearance.”
Several in the group believed that the problem would not be about women purchasing Spanx in order to get a man, but with the men who would walk away once they found out she was wearing the undergarment.
Here’s what Lori had to say, “I would seriously hate to meet the man who coveted my ass in Spanx Jeans, was then disappointed when he realized it, my ass, might have been a bit lumpier than he initially realized when presented in all it glory. And then suggests that I work out more. I would hate to meet that man.”
Kristin felt that “The Spanx are not necessarily for the guy, it’s about feeling better in general. If the guy doesn’t like it, he’s free to move on. And she’d do better to find someone who isn’t put off by it.”
As the evening waned, the conversation focused more on the product being a self-confidence booster, and the idea that women who purchase the produce with the hope of attracting a man was misleading. We listened to all sorts of deflective excuses, “Let me ask, is a woman who has pimples and choosing to wear makeup ‘deceiving’ the male population?” Jamilla asked. We reminded her that men can see the makeup and understand that most women wear it, but they cannot see the Spanx or know that women are wearing them until her clothes come off.
Pamela said that “Spanx cannot deceive as much as you’re letting on! You’re either fit and can rock them or you’re fluffy and using them to control jiggling baby! I can’t imagine anyone trying to deceive a man by wearing any type of clothing.”
At the end of 2 hours, we’d reached the conclusion that this group of women was not concerned about whether men felt deceived by a woman wearing Spanx and the men who did feel deceived were pigs. Also that society forces women to believe they need to appear a certain size and that ideology needs to change.
The new line of Spanx Denim is available on-line and in finer department stores.