I'm a member a few different plus-sized fashion groups on Facebook and in all of them, almost on a daily basis, I see people asking advice about the best "magic knickers". Even worse, I see posts asking if an outfit looks okay with people commenting that "it will look great with some control pants".
All of this annoys me as 1: you don't need to wear something that apparently sucks it all in to look great and 2: telling someone they'll "look great if they wear control underwear" is a basically a way of saying they look fat or that they don't look good enough.
I'm not going to lie, I did believe the hype about control pants before now and wouldn't dream of wearing certain outfits without them. However, I now see just how terrible they are, not only as a concept but also to wear. Let's face it, even if a pair of pants really was magical enough to make you look like JLaw on the red carpet, there is no way in hell they are going to be anywhere near comfortable.
Now, however, I am done with control underwear. I am embracing not only my curves but all of my lumps and bumps, which are plentiful due to loose skin caused by weight loss. I've taken to wearing dresses that show off visible stomach lines without the torture of control pants and I've been loving it.
Granted, it has taken me a while to get to this point, but after wearing a form-fitting dress (yes, you can wear slinky dresses when you're fat) without anything to suck it all in, I realised the truth: that control underwear is a lie.
Here's exactly why you should sack of those uncomfortable contraptions and embrace every single inch of your body as it, not to mention show it all of:
You risk breaking/straining/bruising things getting them on
I'm not lying when I say I have injured myself on several occasions attempting to get into a pair of pants that seem to be tighter than a too-small wetsuit, the worst occasion being popping by wrist so badly that I could barely use my hand for three days.
Fashion should be fun and not about discomfort, especially at the start of the night. At least heels don't hurt until a couple of hours in to your evening. I'd much rather just put my dress on and enjoy getting ready so I'm not all hot and bothered before I even walk out of the door.
No matter what the label says, they will slip down
Even pulling them up so high that you're able to use your bra to try and hold them in place won't do the trick and before you know it, they will have rolled down, creating worse bumps than those you were trying to hide, leaving an angry red mark and leaving you to do the embarrassing re-shuffle to try and get them back where they were.
You could stand perfectly still and yet your control pants will still find a way to roll down. Usually, they roll to a point that constricts my gastric even more, making eating impossible. For me, this is reason enough to set them all on fire. Don't come between me and my food.
Your body doesn't magically disappear
Nothing gets flattened down, no matter how much you try to rearrange and you always just get that slightly bloated look that is uncomfortable as well as seriously defeating the object of wearing them in the first place.
I would genuinely rather showcase the visible lines of the folded skin on my stomach than be uncomfortable and very aware of the fact that I actually end up looking larger than I am. There are plenty of other tricks you can use to draw attention away from certain areas of your body if you're self-conscious without throwing serious physical discomfort into the mix.
You end up resenting your need to pee
There is no graceful way of getting them down or pulling them back up ad you'll probably knock yourself more than once, make some bizarre noises and have other people in the loos wondering what on earth is going on in there. Not to mention holding up the queue for the toilets and feeling stressed when you finally make it back out.
Normal underwear doesn't do this to you. Normal underwear has got your back. Normal underwear can be pulled down and back up in no time at all and you can enjoy a quick trip to the toilets without the worry that you'll be suffocated by your own pants.
Even the slips and bodysuits suck
They are just as difficult to get on, they are still uncomfortable, if anything bodysuits make it more impossible to pee as you effectively need to get totally naked and they still aren't actually "magic". Slips ride up or make walking difficult while bodysuits can only really be worn with very specific outfits and are still horrific torture devices.
No matter what type of control underwear you wear, you won't get amazing results. Instead of attempting to hide your body and allowing yourself to be physically uncomfortable in the process, you should look at it as it is, accept every bump - even those you really don't like - and realise that nothing is ever as bad as you think.
Most importantly, you should remember that if someone has an issue with the way you look or an outfit you're wearing, it's just that: their problem. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them so don't let it get you down. Keep being fabulous, throw your awful control underwear in the bin and enjoy a greater sense of freedom.