Thursday, 19 June 2014


The hour glass figure is something very few men can achieve without assistance.

I suppose that I'm lucky in that I'm still slim when many men my age have pot bellies. I can still get into the same size jeans as I did aged 18. Even so, my waist is not in the same place as a woman's. And whilst I don't have a pot belly, I do have a little one of sorts - which is not a problem except it's kind of in the wrong place.

There are lots of shapewear solutions that target the waist and tummy but the majority of the ones I've tried don't quite work for me.

Tallness means I have a longer torso even though the proportions of limbs to torso is in the normal range. This means that the length from crotch to underbust, from the top of the hip to the bottom of the rib cage are greater than for the majority of people.

Being a man, my stomach is less compressible than most women's. Less fat, more muscle. Men generally can not achieve the same level of waist reduction all other things being equal.

I tried high waisted knicker types of shaper but some of them didn't even reach where a female waist would be on me. I'd end up looking like a sausage constricted by a rubber band. Ones that were supposed to come up to near to the underbust line didn't. The top would tend to roll down. There is also the question of how high the leg is cut - but I'll discuss that another time.

There are bodyshapers that have built in bra or allow you to wear your own bra and have shoulder straps or straps that fit on your bra. I do own one that fits (it's from M&S, I would link to it but they seem to have stopped doing it) - unfortunately it doesn't offer the level of control I need - but this is very unusual. Assuming the shoulder straps would be long enough, the waist might well be too low. One with a built in bra - that's likely to be too low.

Whilst modern fabrics will stretch in one that one direction, on someone tall, with that kind of shapewear, the stretch seems to get used up dealing with the height.

I tried waist cinchers that just do the waist. The cheap ones I first got were too short and also the top and bottom would roll up/down in the same way as some of the high waisted knickers. This would result in a look of a sausage constricted by a wider elastic band. Worse, it had the effect of emphasising the size and shape of my rib cage. A box on top of a constricted sausage.

Finding an off the shelf waist cincher that did anythixng other than that was a pleasant surprise. I bought an Esbelt Slimming Corset - although it seems to be called different names in different markets. I'm not sure that it is a corset but differents vendors use different names for very similar garments.

It's made of rubber bonded to cotton. It has light boning - which stops it rolling up/down. It has hook and eye fastening at the front. In some ways, it looks quite retro. Before the invention of modern fabrics with synthetic elastics, a lot of shapewear was made at least in part of latex. I've been staring at images of vintage girdles quite a lot recently - quite inspiring.

It fits surprisingly well. It is long enough in the body - about 12 inches. It's surprisingly comfortable to wear. Doesn't pinch. It's quite constricting but I like that. It also does force you to assume a better posture. Slouching is physically difficult.

It gives a modest waist reduction. At best a couple of inches. It doesn't do a huge amount for my stomach either. Totally transforming? Not for me but I only expected modest results. I know well enough that most shapewear is modelled by women who don't really need it. Their type of figure is unobtainable for me. True, there are sometimes before and after photos of women with less idealised figures but I would guess than even then, vendors pick the best results.

I have tried a proper waist cinching corset. Potentially proper corsetry offers a much greater waist reduction and tummy taming. One thing I didn't realise is that there is a particular way of putting on a corset - I was thinking in terms of a Victorian lady being laced up by her maid. Doing it wrong was painful. I got nipped by the metal fittings of the busk!  I also put it on upside down at first. Oops.

It's not a perfect fit but I was expecting that - this explains it better than I can. Still, it did demonstrate to me the kind of waist reduction that is possible even though I'm never going to be able to find an off the shelf product that fits me properly.

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