Sunday, March 14, 2010

30 Days to 10 years younger--10 minute tips. Tip 13: Wear a camisole

I just realized something. There are probably kids out there who don't know what a girdle is. "What is this 'girdle' of which you speak, oh wise one?" asks the teenager of today.

But you probably remember girdles. And you know that they no longer exist, because it's all "shapewear" these days, right? You're hip to Spanx. Right?

Confession time: I have some Spanx in my shapewear drawer, but I don't wear them much. Mostly I wear jeans. And Spanx under jeans? Who would bother to do that? If you want to wear Spandex on the bottom half of your body, you can buy jeans with Spandex already in them. More would be redundant.

But I can't get enough camisoles.

Not the ones like a slip cut in half--the ones with up to 14 percent Spandex, like this:

I'm a late adapter. So sue me. When shapewear camisoles like Sassybax and Yummie Tummies first came out, they were being marketed to be worn instead of a bra. So I ignored them. I'm sorry, but my girls need more cantilevering than a camisole can provide.

Even if I didn't need more in the way of lift-and-separate, I wouldn't have gone near Sassybax, because they're fugly. They're the lingerie equivalent of an orthopedic shoe. Seriously, check it out:

You wouldn't catch me dead in a Sassybax camisole

My grandmother wore better looking underwear.

See, here's what I had to figure out all by myself: the manufacturers of Sassybax and Yummie Tummies forgot to mention that you can wear shapewear camisoles with a bra. It works fine--actually, the camisole helps your bra get the job done. And they're comfortable. Even with 14 percent Spandex, they're more like a tankini then a tourniquet.

And there are plenty of attractive ones out there. Some, like this one, are marketed to be worn instead a blouse, as well as under one.

Yes, the lightbulb finally went off over my head, and I'm now the proud owner of about ten camisoles. Some are merely frivolous, but many serve a serious function. Think of the problems they solve:

Midriff bulge/muffin top/back pudge Tops are cut very fitted these days, and nobody wants to look like the Pillsbury Dough Girl.

Yummie Tummie Freedom T is a great waist cincher and layering piece.

Yummie Tummies look kind of plain, but that disguises their amazing ability to whittle your middle. Slip into one of these and you won't believe your waist. I also highly recommend the Maidenform camisoles. They're amazingly comfortable and as for firming--these things are like a personal trainer you can hand-wash and drip dry.

Excessive see-through. Have you noticed how crazily see-through a lot of clothes have gotten? Even t-shirts. But wear a camisole as your first layer, and you can wear something pretty daring on top. And daring is younger and more fun than stodgy.

Excessive cleavage. If you've got a lot on your balcony (as the French would say, if they spoke English) you probably shy away from certain tops because they're inappropriate in broad daylight--or maybe at all.

I give all my tops the cleavage test by placing my hand at the base of my throat. I hold my pointer finger at the base of my throat and check to see whether my shirt reaches the outside of my little finger. If skin shows under my little finger, I wear a camisole. Again, it's easier, younger, and more fun to wear a camisole than shop and shop for something high-necked enough to cover up the girls.

Shopping for camisoles. OK, here's the bad news. The retail prices on these things are insane. It's easy to spend up to $70 on a single camisole, which is madness. This is where discount stores are your friend. I've got a Yummie Tummie I bought at Loehman's for $16.99. I picked up a black Flexees Lace Bodice camisole at Macy's for $9.99 at an after-Christmas sale. (I probably save a lot of money because I don't feel the need to have my camisole match the rest of my underwear.)

Don't forget the cute factor. I'm a big fan of nude bras and panties, but there's something kind of Ace bandage about nude camisoles. I prefer white, black, and colors. This is something you can have fun with, so why not splash out on cheetah-print chiffon with purple lace trim?


  1. black bird was totally right. you are gorgeous. I'm I dont need to look younger, but still your tips are good. I'll try to pass some to my mum. (she is 45 and looks really good for her age but sometime she really dresses like the "old queen" ;) )

    I have to thank black bird for the link^^

  2. Aah, for the days of layering again. If the hot flashes ever slow down, I will be all over these. I have two, black and white, that haven't seen much use yet.

  3. Elizabeth--Thanks! And thanks to blackbird for sending you by.

    MAW: Oh, those pesky hot flashes I hear so much about. Is this a good time to admit that I've never had one? (Or will that make me permanently unpopular, like when I revealed that I never had morning sickness?)

  4. "I haven't left the house without lycra on these thighs since I was 15."

    "You were raised right!"

  5. Wow! This is such a great series. I eagerly await the next tidbit of wisdom. Each day has been great.

  6. Wow! This is such a great series. I eagerly await the next tidbit of wisdom. Each day has been great.

  7. First of all - Imma need a picture of your cleavage test, because I can't for the life of me figure out how to place my hand and get the pointer finger and...I just don't get that. Possibly a diagram would help.

    BTW Rue La La has Yummie Tummie and Spanx as a boutiques from time to time. I have gotten YT's for about half price there.

    Love the series Ms. Poppy.

  8. again you are giving some great tips!

    i adopted the wear a cami under almost everything especially my button up work clothes (what was i doing before?!) and it is one of the best changes i have ever made. esp for us girls with "a balcony." modesty without looking old or wearing a turtleneck.

  9. I live in Florida. This is a non-starter. Last thing I need is an additional layer, especially one that doesn't "breathe."

  10. Thanks for trying the Sassybax Shapewear line, we certainly understand where you are coming from with the "orthopedic equivalent" comparison!

    We feel there is a place for products that put function over aesthetics, but the classic Sassybax collection is far from sexy.

    With this in mind will be releasing our new collection Sunday, April 11 that puts the sexy back into shapewear...

    Check it out at!

    Stay tuned!


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.