As a Latina, I am no stranger to shapewear — I even received Spanx as a Christmas gift once. I have worn every brand, type, and style of shapewear that you can think of... and quite frankly, I've never been a fan.
After learning to appreciate my body no matter size I am (or what clothes I had on), I decided to stop wearing extreme shapewear — until now.
Because it turns out that body-positive supermodel Ashley Graham has been wearing shapewear brand Squeem A LOT. As an Ashley Graham aficionado, I knew I had to give her favorite shapewear brand a try — and I enlisted my co-worker Lauren to come with me on my journey.
The first piece we tried was the Perfect Waist contouring cincher in a 3X.
Lauren gamely tried the waist cincher. At left you can see her natural shape, and at right you can see the cincher's effects.
"I went up a size because I couldn't wedge myself into the [2X], but even then it was horrifically uncomfortable," said Lauren. "Not that it wasn't to be expected — it's shapewear after all — but the ends started rolling up after just one hour in the thing."
At first sight, the shapewear didn't do much to Lauren's appearance. She could have gotten the same smoothing effect with a pair of underwear Spanx.
There was virtually no difference from the side view, either. And Lauren was seriously uncomfortable in more ways than one.
I decided to try an option with fuller body coverage. I tried on the Sensual Curves, which is an open bust, mid-thigh bodysuit.
It instantly gave me a much more noticeable hourglass shape, and surprisingly I didn't feel like I was dying.
I spent a great amount of my life as a teenage Latina wearing shapewear, and this had instantly become the most comfortable.
The roundness of my stomach had been smoothed out. I was really enjoying the new shape I had, and I secretly hated myself for it.
Coworkers who knew I was reviewing Squeem told me I looked great. At first I was flattered, but then I started to compare my body to the one I was pretending to have with the shapewear.
Having people say how great I looked with this on made me feel like maybe this was the way my body SHOULD be.
I loved how this Squeem piece actually enhanced my curves. The longer I wore it, the more I accepted the temporary body shape I had — but I couldn't help wondering if I SHOULD.
I worked so hard trying to become comfortable with my body that seeing my shape altered — and actually enjoying it — made me feel like I was taking two steps back.
But then I remembered that being body positive is not about just feeling comfortable with being fat. It's about learning to appreciate the body that I have no matter what. I am allowed to feel good about my body whether I wear a size 20 or 2!
Lauren had a hard time finding a Squeem piece that truly fit her body. The 2X in the waist cincher was too small, but the 3X was slightly too big. She seemed to have fallen into a sizing crack.
I, on the other hand, tried on the jumpsuit a few times, and every time it became easier to put on. I don't think I would wear this this every day, but I would definitely consider it for a special occasion. Wearing this was not as painful as the other ones I had tried before.
Squeem may not be a perfect shapewear brand, but it's pretty good — and can easily get better. Ashley Graham has good taste.