In Defense of Spanx

Tabatha Wharton Muntzinger

I have not always loved my body.

I did not hear I was beautiful growing up. I was a sum of all of my flawed parts if I just tried this one thing or stopped eating this other thing or stood differently or moved more but with less force maybe, maybe then I’d be something close to passable as pretty.

It is no wonder that I have wrecked this earthly vessel time and time again, putting my molecules through every test of deprivation and excess all to pass someone else’s snuff.

And it is part of why it was so remarkable, that one of the two last words my grandfather had said to me before he passed was just that.

Somewhere in the twenty(!) years I have been five feet, eight inches tall and anywhere from 110 to 218 lbs, I slowly learned to find appreciation for myself. I think it was somewhere between the aerial arts classes and the half marathons when my body showed it was just as capable as my mind of accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks. Despite the hardship and flat out medically dangerous pregnancy was for me, this body has made two remarkable human beings spontaneously.

It’s something I work on to this day, still. Most of the time, my unease comes from my perceived flaws in my appearance: the fine lines of age etching ever-so-slightly deeper into my face, still dotted with blemishes I know I’ll never escape no matter how old I get; spider veins blossoming across my calves and thighs, tricking my eyes into believing if I run the razor over that spot one more time, that “hair” just below the surface will disappear; the layers upon layers of stretch marks from growing up in painful fits and condensed spurts, on top of the sagging skin from carrying life within my very short torso (so truly, in front of me, as there was nowhere else for either child to go but OUT) for nearly a year at a time – surface level things that come with age and being human. Not to mention my everchanging hair, my decreasing ability to wear contacts for the entirety of a day, the way my bones creak and take just a bit longer to acquiesce to my commands of movement. Sometimes, my body betrays me from the inside, ravaging me with a temporary illness or a new permanent diagnosis to brave.

Sometimes it just won’t listen to me when I want to wear something that makes me feel beautiful, save for that weird pinch there or that unfortunate fold here. So. All of that is to say that I have traveled a long and dark path to get to the place I am right now, to be able to share the things I am about to share with you.

Which is, namely, my daily Spanx.

Because, YES, I WEAR SPANX. YES, ALMOST EVERY DAY. BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL MORE PUT TOGETHER AND PRETTY. Also, because I can be quite a sweaty human in warmer temperatures and Spanx are amazing at the moisture wicking, in case you were unaware. Perhaps it stems from the years I spent in one form of Lyrca or another for various activities, or maybe just the sensation of the compression helps me stay grounded, like my son’s compression vest did for him as a toddler.

Whatever the reason, I don’t want a single person who follows me on Instagram or sees me in real life to think I just throw clothes on in the morning and wear them like a mannequin with little-to-no effort because life is so easy for this purple haired skinny bitch.


I’ve heard, in person, some kick back when I mention wearing Spanx -almost exclusively from other women, questioning why I would need to wear Spanx in the first place.

Because, for me namely, this:

In defense-of-Spanx

I like the feeling of (that stomach, above, specifically) being, to a point, contained while going through my daily tasks. And the wearing of Spanx is not relegated to the obese or straight-torsoed or older people or painfully insecure or drag queens or postpartum women whatever other crazy pigeonhole you can dream up. It’s just another form of “foundation garments” — or, you know, underwear.

Let me be clear, here, though — I am all for body positivity, and I applaud the women (and men!) out there rocking themselves out wearing what makes them feel good no matter what anyone else may think. I try hard to work on that, myself while admitting I do possess a great deal of good attributes that help me fit into a more hegemonic ideal of attractiveness.

I just personally get really pissed off when the folds of skin that used to be my stomach pre-children get all caught on waistbands or pulls a dress funny so my ass ends up looking flat (or hanging out) or suddenly decides to expand with bloat and I magically look five months pregnant again because I ate three bites of white bread.

So I wear Spanx. It’s not a judgment on anyone but myself and my personal level of comfort, both aesthetic and mental.

As someone who believes in authenticity, honesty and being as real as possible online, I thought I’d show that side of this fledgling fashion blogger’s closet. Because besides from a couple of celebrities during awards season (which, I feel, is a less realistic example of what shapewear was meant to accomplish because no, it’s not meant to be worn in triplicate on the regular because IT’S UNCOMFY) and the occasional body-shaming viral horror story, we all crack jokes and act as if Spanx were somehow the left elbow of Satan himself.

They don’t have to be. And I want to show you how they aren’t, in my life.

Tabatha defense of Spanx 1

This is the outfit I wore to my family Thanksgiving, this year, hence the holiday decor behind me. I’ve been working on the basics of this whole idea for a while now — never you mind that my holiday stuff is still up as we speak.

Tabatha defense of Spanx 2

The details:

Top – Forever 21 (but I got it in a clothes swap so I can’t tell you more than that)
Skirt & earrings – Old Navy
Tank (undershirt) & necklace – Target
Shoes – Sam Edleman (found at Nordstrom Rack)
Spanx – Spanx Takes Off Footless Leggings

Tabatha defense of Spanx 3

I felt at the time like this outfit was kind of meh. Looking back at the pictures now, I kind of dig it, I think. The shirt has a cinched waist that kind of awkwardly hit the waistband of the skirt that meant I fussed with it a lot, so there’s that. It was unseasonably warm if I remember correctly – I’m not even sure I wore a jacket to a 5 p.m. meal. In Ohio. In late November. But not quite to the point of being worth shaving my legs for, so as it has been for most of this mild winter for me, leg coverage was super important. Mostly because I am lazy.

Drumroll – here’s what it took, underneath, to make this outfit work how I wanted:

Tabatha defense of Spanx 4

What I like about these leggings is (a) the waistband hits right above my belly button, which is the area I always want the most help with but especially in this skirt as the pleated tiers can actually add a bit of floof to that area otherwise, (b) the waistband doesn’t pinch or roll down or cut into my sides and (c) they are fairly opaque black, which is great for extra coverage when wearing a mini skirt, ahem.

Tabatha defense of Spanx 5

AHEM. Coverage is especially important when you’re a mom with two little kids at a function of almost 30 people. You know you’ll be moving. You know short skirts aren’t always forgiving. So, in this scenario, leggings > tights. I also have a thing about being able to wear real socks when I’m wearing boots/booties, so footless leggings easily accommodate that.

Tabatha defense of Spanx 6

I also opted for the leggings over, say, my usual high-waisted tights because it was mother effing Thanksgiving. Everything I wore was stretchy and styled to give my belly some breathing room. Hi, I am Midwestern and come from German, Czech, and Italian stock, mostly. Food is love. And Thanksgiving is my favorite food holiday.

Tabatha defense of Spanx 7

See? Movement. ‘Twas important.

There you have it — a day in the life of a real, average human being who wears Spanx to super average events like a family holiday meal to make her clothes fit the way she likes, without impeding her lifestyle. At least not any more than those shoes impede it, that is.

Tabatha defense of Spanx 8

 Next week, I’ll show you a more formal look, complete with actual leg-shaving. I know, you can’t wait.


This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media LLC.

Tabatha is a purple-haired, diverse Millennial writer/blogger specializing in fashion, home renovation, feminist theory and all things postmodern housewifery/single motherhood. Once trampling around the interwebs as both Tabulous and Turn Right At Lake Michigan, she now blogs about all the things at her new conglomerated site, Tabatha, Etc. Her writing has been featured on BlogHer as well as various other blogs/sites, and her house has featured on The Snug, This Old House, HomeTalk, and as well as various home decor and DIY blogs. She was the recipient of the BlogHer 2014 Photo of The Year Award in the category of Selfie for an image from her participation in the #365feministselfie Instagram project, and SheKnows recently included another of her selfies in a listicle about split-colored hair, which she takes as a compliment.