Putting brands of shape wear to the test

February 19, 2009 3:25:48 PM PST
When it comes to a big event like the Oscars, we all know the stars will look fabulous in their designer duds. But it may take some hidden help. We are talking about shape wear -- you know, "a girdle." While each lady will have her own unique look, according to image consultants shape wear is probably the one thing that the ladies on the red carpet will all have in common. So we decided to test out several brands of shape wear. From Target to Spanx, does price matter?

It may be the stars' secret weapon to looking fabulous. And while some celebrities may not admit it, many wouldn't be caught dead on the red carpet without shape wear.

Image consultant Cathy Fitzpatrick said, "We want that smooth beautiful look, no matter what clothing we have on."

Fitzpatrick says whether you are a size 4 or a 14, shape wear can improve your silhouette.

"I don't care how lean you are, we want that slender appearance," she said.

But is all shape wear created equal? We decided to test three high-waisted mid-thigh shapers. The first is Spanx, a popular pick among celebrities. It's also the priciest at $36 a pair. Our second pair is from Target called Assets. It's designed by the maker of Spanx. Finally, the least expensive pair is $16 from JC Penney called Take Shape.

Tester Shannon Owens instantly sees results when she tries each brand of shape wear. But Owens prefers the Spanx brand over the others because it was more comfortable and she doesn't mind paying more.

"It's about the quality," said tester Araceli Herrera. "Sixteen dollars is not that much of a difference if I am going to see a difference in the mirror."

Herrera's trouble spot is her mid-section. After trying on different brands, Herrera prefers the least expensive girdle.

"It was more comfortable," she said.

But even if you don't have any trouble spots, like Page Parkes model Raliat Akinlolu, Fitzpatrick says the shaper made a difference. But after trying on all three shapers, Akinlolu had a favorite.

She said, "The Spanx was definitely the best one because it held me in and I can still breathe."

During our test, we found that most women preferred the least expensive $16 JC Penney shaper over all the others. Spanx came in second and Target's version was last.

Consumer Blog | SuperSaver Blog | Consumer @twitter | Consumer Channel | Headlines at a glance