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Lawsuit Claims “Slimming” Shapewear Made False Promises

April 22, 2014

Ya think? Now, I’m not sure two women a class action lawsuit makes, but I’m sure more women will be signing on for this lawsuit. I have a problem with shapewear in general; I remember the days of dc1f5b70-c58d-11e3-9c0c-03bc94add777__7800545girdles worn to hold up stockings (I was not a fan of garter belts) and how squished they made me feel. I was overjoyed when I found pantyhose, even though I usually had to buy them a couple of sizes bigger than what the sizing on the package claimed I would wear (they were NOT made for a woman with a 32″ inseam, not back then anyway, don’t know if things are different now).

In the suit, the women claim that Wacoal’s $60 iPant and Maidenform’s $38 Flexees Instant Slimmer products mislead customers by promising to “permanently change women’s body shape and skin tone.” Both products are made with a nylon microfiber fabric called Novarel Slim, produced by a Spanish company called Nurel. Bellot and Stefani say they paid up to 50 percent premiums for this type of shapewear and were led on by false advertising. The iPant, for example claims it will “reshape your lower body in 28 days with lasting results,” according to the lawsuit, by releasing “ingredients into your skin while you move” including Vitamin E to prevent the effects of aging and caffeine to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

I have a lot of concerns about shapewear: the health aspects of them (Why Shapewear, Skinny Jeans, and Stilettos Will Be Our Demise), the fact that they don’t really make one look slimmer, and the fact that they’re advertised in a way that plays on our insecurities about our bodies — insecurities fanned by the fashion industry. My other problem with them is that even though they’re advertised to make you “look slimmer,” they only come in sizes to fit in-betweenies.

I’ve been looking for a garment that is knee-length, not because I want to look slimmer (nothing is going to make that happen), but because the compression offered would help with the swelling from my venous insufficiency (used to be just my lower legs that swelled, now my thighs are swelling). I thought a shapewear garment that went from waist to knee would be a good (and cheaper) alternative to having my doctor order a custom-made compression undergarment. I had custom-made compression stockings made for me 15 years ago and they were $125 a pair — imagine how much an undergarment like that would cost. But search as I might, short of having something custom-made, there is nothing out there for a woman my size.

As for shapewear made from fabric infused with vitamin E and caffeine working to make cellulite disappear and make one permanently thinner? Yeah, I don’t think so. How many ads for cellulite-removal creams have we seen? How many articles have we read debunking the claims that these creams work? If the creams don’t work, why on earth would anyone think that a garment infused with those ingredients would work? Hell, diets don’t even work for the majority of people, not to make them permanently thin anyway, so why would a garment have a better success rate?
Have we reached the point that we are so desperate to be thin, to fit in, that we’ll buy any hype for anything that is advertised to make us thinner?

“There are a lot of false claims about their weight loss products and we believe, as alleged in the complaint, that the Maidenform and Wacoal products are misrepresented,” Mathew Pawa, the attorney representing the two plaintiffs, told Yahoo Shine. “We’re doing this to change corporate behavior and avoid misleading claims in the marketplace.”

Well then, let’s bring on the class action lawsuits against Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and every other diet plan out there, along with all the diet drugs and bariatric surgeons. Because every one of them make unsubstantiated, inferred claims that if you “just follow our plan, you’ll lose weight and get your life back.” More people have had those diets/drugs/surgeries fail them than have been successful at getting, and staying, thin.

What? You say that a class action lawsuit against all those entities would fail because every one of them can say that it’s your fault because you didn’t use the product correctly? Well, all righty then, want to bet that Wacoal and Maidenform will use the same strategy? Their garments didn’t perform as advertised because you didn’t wear them properly (whatever that means).

I’m not saying you shouldn’t use shapewear at all, ever. What I am saying is that if you decide shapewear is something you want to use, get the correct size (don’t try to squeeze into something a size or two smaller than your measurements just so you’ll “look thinner”), don’t wear it all day/every day, and for Maude’s sake, don’t believe the hype that it’s going to make you thinner, improve your skin tone, or any other outrageous claim that seems too good to be true. In other words, quit buying the lies that say you have to have this one type of body in order to be “accepted,” in order to be thought beautiful, worthwhile, and to have a life.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2014 12:37 pm

    Shouldn’t these women be too ashamed to bring a lawsuit against these companies for even believing these claims?! Or have we become so desperate, so gullible that anything sounds feasible as long as we will reach Skinny!? I don’t know whether to laugh or shake my head in disbelief…

    • Twistie permalink
      April 23, 2014 9:07 am

      They were lied to. They spent more money than they would have because of those lies. Should they be embarrassed that they believed the lies they were told? Probably. But in a world where small children tell pollsters they would rather lose a limb than be fat, where we are daily bombarded with messages that being fat is worse than being dead, how can we blame them for being desperate to avoid/fix something that they are told is literally worse than death?

      The fault is not with them for being panicked and vulnerable, but with the company that used that panic and vulnerability to sell them ‘magic’ beans they knew would never work.

  2. lifeonfats permalink
    April 22, 2014 4:58 pm

    Shapewear is good when you have dresses that are made of clingy material and you want to look smoothed down and even. I have two of the ones similar in the picture I bought from Avenue. But since I wear anywhere from a size 24-32 depending on the cut, no amount of shapewear is going to make me look slimmer and I don’t expect it to.

    It’s also the same problem when you buy those “tummy tamer” jeans Lane Bryant, Woman Within and Roaman’s offer. I have three pair. I didn’t buy them for that, but because of the look. One pair was so loose fitting I occasionally wash and dry them to shrink them because the waist keeps falling off me. But so many will do anything to look smaller than they are, they buy into these false senses of security.

  3. Dizzyd permalink
    April 22, 2014 8:12 pm

    I hope they win, to be honest. Maybe, others will be inspired to start calling out all the diet companies, and Big Pharma, and bariatric surgeons – especially who botch the job after pressing you into it with how SAFE it is and how SKINNY you’ll be afterwords! It probably won’t happen, but one can dream, can’t they?

  4. April 23, 2014 11:03 am

    I am totally bent out of shape by this. I am curious if these items would have had to pass muster with the FDA if they were made in USA? Caffeine and Vitamin E….really??? And Susie, I agree with you, that there is a certain disbelief that someone would be gullible enough to believe the claims…my fantasy is that they knew they were being lied to and decided to file the claim to expose the company as the scam artist it clearly is!
    I can dream can’t I? 😉

  5. April 24, 2014 12:05 pm

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    I don’t buy shapewear, but I do hate shopping, so I tend to buy clothes, including swimsuits, off the rack. 99 percent of the time I end up finding I’ve purchased shapewear in the guise of a swimsuit. Look, Catalina Swimwear, there is no way that my nearly 300 pound body is going to look slim–either suddenly or otherwise–when I stuff it into a tight, Lycra sausage casing. I want a swimsuit that supports my boobs. I don’t want to swim in a girdle.
    i can’t afford the pricier swimwear, so I put up with this bullcrap. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find it annoying. “Suddenly Slim,” my fat ass.
    Here’s the thing. If one was to become “suddenly slim” overnight, it would probably indicate a serious health problem. “Suddenly Slim” is not actually a good thing.

  6. April 24, 2014 1:07 pm

    I posted on this on Lefty Pop last week. It’s sad how so many are prepared to completely disregard common sense for the hope of easier, quicker results. I’m nervous about raising a daughter in this body image nightmare. It’s definitely a lot harder now than when I was a teen.

  7. Dizzyd permalink
    April 29, 2014 4:03 pm

    I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if they brought back the old-style Victorian corset as a way for ladies to get that “lovely desirable hourglass figure!”.

    • April 30, 2014 11:10 am

      My old roommate was a passionate defender of the corset. She made her own for use with vintage costumes (which she also made) and kept it displayed on her dress form in our combo sewing room/TV room. No matter how articulately she defended the damn things, I still winced inwardly every time I had to walk by it. Hell, I don’t even like pantyhose or stockings. Most of my skirts and dresses graze my ankles, not because I want to feel superior in my “modesty,” but so I don’t have to mess with yet one more wardrobe component when I’m getting dressed. :/

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