Gee, aren’t we lucky to live in the age of elastic? I mean, really. Where would we be without our control top hose?
Yes, yes, the goal is to be hose free. But if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, then you know what a friend you have in Lycra.
I’m working on an upcoming piece about loose skin after significant weight loss, but in the meantime, let’s look at the more immediate solution: really good underwear.
Okay, so I know my dad is reading this post, and I just have to warn him right now that he might want to skip a reading day, because I’m going to get a little graphic about my own body. Okay?
There, now that my pop’s gone, I’ll tell you what my skin went through as I lost weight, what’s happened during the year since, and what great underwear I’ve found to help out along the way.
First of all, it happens. You lose weight, and your skin gets floppy. How floppy depends on how fast you’re losing the weight, how old you are, your skin type, how long you were overweight, a lot of factors. Again, I’ll share more about all of that as soon as I have all the resources I need. I want to say, though, that during the past 14 months my skin has tightened up quite a bit, so have hope and patience.
Me? The first things to go were my breasts. Honestly, I wasn’t very sorry to see them diminish in size, but I wasn’t thrilled with their relative height once I finished with my weight loss. Think of athletic socks filled with « cup of sand and stapled to your ribs. Like that. Low riders. Navel scrapers. Serious support for exercise became not only a good idea, but the only way to control body momentum.
Then came the flop layer above my natural waistline – probably the bit that bothered me most, which was especially annoying once I reached 20 lbs. of my goal weight, and lessened as I approached my ideal weight. It’s still there, and pops up over top when I wear anything that is even slightly snug around the waist. Like pantyhose. Today’s lower-waist styles in jeans and slacks really help me out a lot.
And then the butt-flop and thigh-flop of course.
And knee flop.
And of course upper arm flop, which I’ve noticed even thin women complain about as they get older.
What to do? Well, of course, investing in good underwear as you come down the scale is a great thing to do for your self esteem. You deserve every possible advantage, and you need to know that even the supermodels out there are wearing bump-smoothing underthings to maintain that airbrushed look on the runway.
Replace your Bra: If you’re large busted and likely to remain so after weight loss, then you already know how important great bras are. Get help with fittings at a proper foundation garment store in a good sized city. I recommend Paris or Milan. I recommend you buy me a ticket so I can accompany you. But you know, Chicago or Dublin will do. You’re looking for a tough little woman who will eyeball your body and breasts, shove you into a fitting room, pull out a tape, and then start fitting you into good underwear. Don’t be shy. Let her do her job. She will fit you into a bra that will help you avoid bra roll and shoulder creases and underwire bite, and basically find the right piece of hardware to help you with all the hazards and joys of breast ownership.
Consider a camisole: If you’re lucky and small chested, like me, you’ll do well to look at simple lycra-cotton blend camisoles fitted with shelf bras. Buy them a little snug, and you’ll have both the support you need for daily life and a roll-less look under most clothes. It’s a chest flattening look, but consider that a youthful profile. The trouble with floppy skin is that the slightest elastic will create deep seams in the loose sponge, so the fewer bands in your underwear, the better.
Thong or hose: Of course youngsters these days swear by thongs, but if you’re bumpy and saggy, then thongs won’t create that lovely seamless look for you. This is why Victoria’s Secret sells lightweight footless stockings. These pull you together and reshape your keester under those nice little Capri pants. And there are ones that end at the hip, to allow for low-riding styles.
Leotards: Especially if your tummy and back fat are the only real problems, and not your legs or thighs, then head for your nearest dancewear store and shop for a leotard or two. They’ll come in many styles from camisole to long sleeves. And many colors, too. In addition to more support and smoothing, they’ll reduce the look of any bra roll you might have if you’re wearing a bra. And they’ll help a lot with the shivers you’ll have as you lose weight, until your body acclimates to having less fat.
Body stockings: This is by far my favorite undergarment for close-fitting evening wear. Some smart manufacturer will figure out how to make these in a way that doesn’t require complete disrobing to use the restroom. At that point they’ll become good garments for day wear too. But except for that inconvenience, this little underlayer is a real savior under any fitted or knit dress. Buy them online or in dancewear shops. You can get them footed in black and they’ll serve as one complete underwear package. Or get footless ones to wear under a slinky pantsuit.
Unitards: This is my workout underlayer. I start with a camisole-top unitard, and add a t-shirt or sweatshirt. These eliminate belly flop during yoga and jiggles on the treadmill. It’s the best possible dancewear for a woman over 40. Especially if you’ve had kids but haven’t had a tummy tuck. I really love the two-toned ones by Mirella.
Arms. You know what? I don’t have a solution for arm flop. I’m considering brass slave cuffs to hold that skin in place, but they don’t really work with my feminist sensibility, somehow.
Of course there is the whole world of girdles and stronger underpinnings to explore, but I recommend taking the lighter approach while your body is changing. Lycra all over is just enough to keep you feeling fit and firm while your skin adjusts to the new you.