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The Bodysuit: The Taming Of the Bulge

Aug 17, 2007
If you want to look polished outside, make sure that what you wear inside is up to snuff. The inner world mirrors the outer one, so we are told in philosophical circles; nowhere is this more evident than in the world of lingerie. How many times have we seen a $500 dress suit scandalized by the lumpy rolls or ripples emerging from an ill-fitting bra?

A tailored outfit should look what it is meant to do-make you look sleek and tailored. No surprises. No bumps. No tell-tale bulges. That's why when it comes to fashion ethics, the bodysuit is indispensable.

What is a bodysuit? Also called a "snapsuit," "leotard," or "onesie", a bodysuit is an ingenious blending of bra and panties together that you can slip on, pull down and fasten with snap-on buttons at the crotch. With that pulling down, you can lessen the damage done by ridges, flaps or belly rolls in one fell swoop of lycra. Lines that normally show from the bottom of the bra or from the waistband of the panties or stockings are almost eliminated with a good bodysuit-provided that you are not grossly out of shape. Unless you are an amazingly trim size 4, your body hugging silk gown needs a bodysuit to give that gown a polished sleek look. It gives you that extra smoothness under a figure hugging dress.

There are, however, a few challenges to wearing a bodysuit. First, bodysuits are often sold according to bra size which means that for those of us who do not have a perfect body, a body suit might be an ill-fitting enterprise. It might fit you at the bust, but not anywhere else. The best bet here is to find a bodysuit that is made from very stretchy fabric which can provide you with a bit more "give" in the hips and tummy areas.

A second challenge is the difficulty bodysuits often pose for women in the washroom. Under an evening gown, the whole process of unbuckling and buckling the bottom fasteners of the bodysuit can be a feat on its own. Tricky stuff indeed, especially if your gown is made with layered chiffon. But women have done worse in the name of beauty. And considering the sleek lines that present themselves when you emerge from the washroom, the agony is well-worth the eventual poise.

Another word of caution about bodysuits. They are most suitable for fairly well-shaped bodies-- bodies that are well toned and evenly shaped -- in all sizes. A bodysuit will help you maneuver your way into a dress that is just slightly too small, but it won't turn a size 10 into a size 6 or a size 16 into a 10. And if perchance, you do eventually manage to stuff yourself into a size 6, be prepared for a very, very uncomfortable and unflattering evening. If you are a size 12, get a size 12 bodysuit; it will still tuck in your tummy and flatter your profile, but it will never turn a medium body into a small one.

A bodysuit flatters a good body, but it is not a miracle worker, Betty Halbreich says in "Secrets of a Fashion Therapist." Here is a list of what a body suit can and cannot do:

1.It can tame the jiggle in your backside, but it will not create "buns of steel."

2.It cannot take the place of time spent on the stairmaster or the treadmill.

3.Even the tightest waist cincher on a body suit cannot give you a nineteen inch waist.

4.It can flatter a toned body and make you feel slimmer, but it will not replace a sensible diet and workouts at the gym.

5. It will make a great reward for personal goals achieved in weight loss and inch loss-the trophy of a great body achieved through hard work and efforts.

A bodysuit is a must in every lingerie set; however, use it with discretion and respect.

Resource: "Secrets of a Fashion Therapist" by Betty Halbreich ( HarperCollins 2005)
About the Author
A fitness and weight consultant, Mary is helping people reclaim their bodies through nutrition, exercise, positive vision and creative engagement. Visit her atGreatBodyat50 or at
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