Spanx. Even the mere mention of the brand—a multimillion-dollar business founded on the belief in the power of shapewear to enhance the way a woman’s clothes fit her—is liable to induce giggles and raised eyebrows amongst the oft-jaded, label-seeking fashion girl community. (Yes, yours truly included.) I have no problem admitting that when asked to try out a pair of the brand’s spankin’ new body-shaping jeans, I was more than a bit skeptical.
But here’s the thing: I’m not your normal fashion girl—at least not at first glance. As a healthy American size 8, I definitely don’t fit into the size 0 to 4 standards often portrayed by the industry as ideal dimensions. But only in the fashion community is a size 8 considered larger than average. As I learned when I spoke to badass plus-size bloggers Gabi Fresh, Nicolette Mason, and Tanesha Awasthia, the average American woman is actually a size 14. But because I work in an image-obsessed industry, I like to dress in a way that’s flattering for my size.
So I dove into my Spanx challenge with an eagerness that surprised even me—they aren’t designer jeans, and they’re certainly a far cry from the Armani boyfriend jeans that I (much to my mother’s chagrin) practically live in. But after I put them on, slipped into a pair of my favorite heels, and looked in the mirror, I all but forgot they were Spanx, nor did I care about the label. They looked amazing, they made me look amazing, and (even better) they looked like they came with a hefty price tag (which, at around $150, they don’t).
The older I get, the more strongly I believe in the importance of a woman feeling truly good in her clothes. Not even good—great. As I think most women would attest, our bodies change a lot throughout our lifetimes; just a year ago, I was a size 4. I haven’t made any huge perceptible changes to my diet or exercise routine—aside from adding several weekly, sweaty classes in a West Hollywood yoga studio to my schedule—and yet, when I turned 28, my body went through some big transitions. I noticed my boobs getting bigger, my bum growing larger, my hips wider, my thighs weightier. Of course, not every woman will have those exact physical changes, but I feel confident asserting that nearly all of us will experience developments that impact how we see and feel about ourselves.
So at age 28, all of a sudden I was a woman with hips, bum, and even a bit of a stomach—what’s a fashion girl to do!? My career in fashion has instilled in me a firm belief that our wardrobes have a huge potential to help make these transitional periods easier and less stressful for us. Another thing that happens when you get older is that you care less about fitting into some societally-driven standard of beauty, and you start accepting yourself more. My body is different now than it was a year ago, and I’m okay with that; I feel more like a woman now than I ever have, and I think it’s something to celebrate, not hide. Perhaps that’s why the Spanx jeans thrilled me so much. They really fit my new body in a way that nothing (not even my beloved, beat-up boyfriend jeans) had before.
Our clothes can have a profound impact on how we feel, but I truly believe that the proper approach to dressing isn’t trying to make your body fit into whatever trends are prevalent at the time. The proper approach to dressing is choosing clothing that you feel your best in—whatever that means for you. Right now, for me, that means a solid pair of high-waisted jeans in a high-quality fabric—one that also happens to provide a little bit of extra slimming where I want it. Clothes can help you feel ready to take on a world that’s constantly telling you why you’re not good enough. My Spanx jeans help empower me to say in response: Dear world: I’m a size 8 woman, and I’m happy with myself. Love, Meghan.
Scroll down to see how Spanx jeans transformed my look instantly!