Shapewear Swimsuits: Would You Wear Spanx to the Pool?

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Swimsuit season officially starts this weekend, which means that it's time to get out your suit and assess the fit. Roxanna made a persuasive case for the one-piece suit recently, but I have to admit that I need more than just coverage at this point in my life.

I need Spanx. Or the bathing suit equivalent.

I love my shapewear; I'm a huge fan of the gel bra and the slimmer tank and of those bike shorts things that smooth everything from your ribs to your knees. At 42, I'm never going to have the super-flat stomach I had before my children were born, but I can still feel comfortable in a slim dress or sweater with my magical shaper shorts underneath. I would never consider plastic surgery, but I will happily shell out for the right undergarments.

Even for the pool.

Spanx Swimwear

Spanx One-Shoulder One-Piece suit, $178

I have a very basic Lands' End swimsuit with a "all over control" -- it smooths out the bits that I'm self conscious about, but doesn't crush my internal organs. The suit is beautifully made and comfortable enough to wear all day; it's also totally appropriate for my age and my lifestyle, without looking old or mom-ish.

I love that suit, which is good because I spend a lot of the summer wearing it.

Lands' End isn't the only brand making shapewear for the pool: Shape FX has some really beautiful shaper suits  at great prices (many are under $60). I'm a little put off by their tag line, though: "Has your body betrayed you?" I may not want my poochy stomach to show when I'm at the pool, but that doesn't mean I feel betrayed by my body. In fact, I'm pretty darn happy with what my body is able to do, and I'm looking for a way to be comfortable in my skin and my swimsuit. But that's perhaps neither here nor there.

When we talk about shapewear, it's hard not to wind up mentioning Spanx; they've become the generic point of reference for every brand of shapewear on the market. And now they've put their iconic label on a line of swimwear. The Spanx suits are really cute, and if they're anything like the shapewear, they will be well-made and able to hold everything in place. If you're looking to bring out the Big Guns at the pool this summer, this is the way to go.

What's the point of shapewear at the pool? It's not, as my friend Rita says, to dramatically change the shape of your body; instead, a swimsuit with a little extra something smooths out the lumpy parts and makes everything look a little better. I agree, and that small boost is what makes pool season so much fun for me.

What about you -- would you wear a suit with shapewear? Or is that just too much for the pool?

Susan Wagner writes about pragmatic fashion at The Working Closet and chic suburban living at Friday Playdate.

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