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What are Spanx®?

By Holly Collins
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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Spanx® is the name of the company that makes hosiery-inspired body shaping garments designed to give a smooth and toned appearance to a woman’s figure. Mostly worn under clothes, Spanx® come in a wide variety of styles designed to deal with a multitude of common problem body areas and issues. Spanx® body shapers are seamless for comfort.

Bras, panties, tights, camisoles, and more are available from Spanx®. These body shapers are designed to be invisible under clothing, providing “smooth support” and “target shaping.” Visible panty lines are eliminated by Spanx® products. Some claims of customers being able to fit into a smaller size when wearing one have been reported.

Spanx® are thin so they don’t add bulk. They are stretchy with a feeling similar to pantyhose, and come in nude and black color options. With names like, “Power Panties,” “Super Spanx®,” and “Slim Cognito,” they are marketed with a light-hearted approach. The company slogan of “Don’t worry, we’ve got your butt covered,” is further evidence of this.

The brain child of Sara Blakely, Spanx® originated from her desire to look better in a pair of white pants that were showing panty lines. In an attempt to eliminate the panty lines, Blakely cut the bottoms off a pair of pantyhose. She got the desired effect under her white pants, but the legs of the hose she had cut kept rolling up. From this experience, her idea and commitment to it was born.

Starting with $5,000 US dollars (USD) and working out of her apartment, her idea did not immediately catch on. Operating on a shoestring budget, Blakely did the patent research and writing herself. Trying to find a manufacturer proved difficult, as many dismissed her idea as crazy. The mill owner who finally agreed to work with her did so after his two daughters told him they didn’t think the idea was crazy at all.

The prototype was two years in development, as Blakely was meticulous about comfort and fit. Wanting to stand out on the shelves, a bright red package was chosen. Neiman Marcus was the first department store to offer Spanx®, but they are now sold in many high end retailers.

Spanx® has since grown into a multi-million dollar company offering over 100 different styles. In addition to the original body shaping garments, hosiery, bras, and panties are now offered. Some outerwear is also available including limited styles of pants and tops.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon926839 — On Jan 21, 2014

Spanx bras are for persons with no stomach fat. If you do not have a flat waist and stomach then you must wear an all over. Enough said.

By anon355309 — On Nov 15, 2013

I just wanted to finish this research about spanx and this helped.

By Mykol — On Jan 18, 2012

Did you know they also have Spanx for men? My husband works out and always stays fit and trim. He also likes to wear some kind of shirt under his main shirt, and he loves these.

He has a white one and a black one and switches off depending on what he is wearing. They come in crew neck, v-neck and tank styles - the same styles that t-shirts come in.

Of course, I have my favorite Spanx products too. If I don't want to wear a high body shaper, I love the hide and sleek panty. These are the best when it comes to hiding the panty lines.

Many of there best selling products are under $30. They are easy to clean and last a long time, so I don't feel bad about spending the money on these fabulous products.

Compared to other underwear shapewear I have tried, I have found Spanx to be the most comfortable once you get them on.

By honeybees — On Jan 17, 2012

The first time I heard about Spanx was on TV, and I heard a lot of good reviews about them. I was somewhat reluctant to try them because they seemed expensive for my budget.

I had never worn women's shapewear before, so didn't know quite what to expect. They are light and comfortable and did make my body look slimmer, but I still had a problem with them rolling.

I am also quite short and felt like once I had them on they were too high on my abdomen. The bottoms are not supposed to roll on you, but I find that mine did when I sat down.

There are different styles available, but I don't think I will buy another pair to find out. When I want my stomach to look slimmer under a dress, I will just stick with the one I have.

By sunshined — On Jan 16, 2012

I have found wearing the Spanx shapewear for tummy control, and to avoid panty lines to be a lifesaver for me.

I see this as a 2-in-1 product and love the results. I can wear a tighter pair of jeans without wearing about my panty lines showing or my stomach bulging over the top of my jeans.

Wearing these when I have light colored skirts and pants on works well too. I have never found anything that works better for me.

It is inspiring to read about the commitment of Sara Blakely. She knew she had a good product that would benefit a lot of women and did not give up.

By wavy58 — On Jan 16, 2012

Spanx® body suits have helped me fit into my dresses that looked unflattering before. I have problems with bulges of fat around my waistline, and the suit smoothed them right out.

It doesn't have any restrictive bands around the legs, so my thighs don't stick out. Also, it has straps that I can attach to my bra, and it smooths everything perfectly in between my bra and upper thighs.

I had almost given up on wearing some of my favorite dresses because of my weight gain. I am so glad I discovered Spanx®. I would have hated to have to buy a bigger size.

By StarJo — On Jan 15, 2012

@OeKc05 – I love Spanx® bras, and I wear them all the time. Once I bought my first one, I had to have more. They are the only kind of bra that I can stand to wear all day long.

Besides the fact that they are incredibly comfortable, the best thing about them is that they have no lumpy parts that would show through your clothing. There are no plastic adjustment loops in the back, because the material is stretchy and accommodates the shape of your body on its own.

I used to hate having little bumps on my back where those loops were. They could ruin the fluidity of a lovely dress.

I have a Spanx® bra with no underwire, yet it provides plenty of support. I would recommend it to anyone.

By OeKc05 — On Jan 15, 2012

Does anybody here ever wear Spanx® bras? I have been very tempted to try one, but they cost around $60, and I would hate to spend that much on something that might not be comfortable.

I have seen photos of them, and they certainly appear comfy. Looks can be deceiving, though. I have ordered many bras online and found that they were so uncomfortable that I couldn't even wear them.

I would like to hear from someone who can vouch for their quality. I am looking for something that I can wear all day without pain and that will not show through my clothing.

By lighth0se33 — On Jan 14, 2012

I have always had problems with my panty lines showing. I had tried buying no-show panties, but it seemed that the thin edges always rolled up a bit, and when this happened, they would really show through.

I'm glad this lady was able to perfect her product. I have been wearing Spanx® for a year now, and I am incredibly happy with the results.

I have to wear skirts and dresses to work, and many of them are made of thin material. I absolutely cannot wear regular underwear with them. Spanx® is the best option for a career lady like myself who wants to look polished and presentable.

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