We’ve all seen them on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Modernized corsets designed to create or emphasize the much sought after hourglass figure. While shape-wear has always been a staple in women’s fashion, the “waist cincher” or “waist trainer” was made popular in the past couple of years. With celebrities like Amber Rose, Jessica Alba, and the entire Kardashian clan, waist trainers have become a staple in Instagram Vixen Couture™.
How do they work?
Essentially, you wrap the trainer around your torso. There are three rows of hooks on one of the ends and a single row of hooks on the other. The wearer is supposed to connect the single row of hooks to one of the three rows. Each one of the three rows represents an inch. You’re supposed to start from the first row of hooks and through time and “training,” work your way to the third row.
There are two main types of cinchers: a latex and one for exercising. Yes, you can exercise in a waist cincher. The first is the hardest to put on, as the latex is a more rigid material. This one is meant to be worn for just 4-6 hours a day underneath clothing; however if you’re a first-time wearer, start with 1-2 hours and work your way up. This cincher is optimal for dramatic results and is best work underneath a garment for an event. It is very tight due to the construction of the fabric (think Elizabeth Swan fainting in Pirates of the Caribbean).
The second waist cincher is made for exercising. This trainer is made from a more pliable, flexible fabric and is worn over clothing (like a tank top or T-shirt). The idea is that while exercising, the waist trainer will cause you to sweat more around your torso and therefore burn belly fat (more on that nonsense later).
These cinchers can cost anywhere from $50-300; the latex ones are the most expensive.
Putting it on: my journey as an Instagram Vixen
So through a friend of a friend of mine, I purchased an exercise waist trainer. It came in a cute purple/black leopard print. I struggled with the first row of hooks, and after shouting ‘fuck’ for the umpteenth time, I’d finished. Now came the hardest part.
Keep in mind, this was the more flexible waist trainer and I was already extremely uncomfortable. My only two consolations were that my posture was perfectly upright and my breasts were now pushed up. I mean, they were perched and sitting up at attention. After taking a few selfies that I will never share with the general public, I got dressed. Admittedly, my stomach was flatter and my waist was, well, cinched. I did notice that the hooks and the boning of the waist trainer were visible through my grey dress, so I opted for my black one instead.
I spent the 30 minute bus ride doing yoga breaths and praying that my red face wouldn’t affect the color of my contour (I didn’t beat this mug just to have my work go unnoticed). I felt like my lungs and my gastro-intestinal tract had been put into an air-tight Ziploc bag and then shoved up into my chest. But I looked, as the kids say, “snatched.”
After a few more minutes, I got used to it and was able to go about my day. Surprisingly, eating wasn’t very difficult as long as I didn’t consume anything too heavy. I even tried to do my usual 4K run in it, but after 3 minutes, I had to run to the bathroom to take it off before I killed any more brain cells.
Final thoughts: Do waist cinchers work?
Yes and no.
If you’re looking for something to wear for an event and you want a svelte figure quickly (as long as you’re okay with being unable to participate in mundane activities like breathing or eating), they’re a go. Just make sure that you practice for a few hours; perhaps wear it around the house.
While I did notice that my waist had gone down about an inch, the results were short-lived. I wore the trainer for a month and had gone down to the final row of hooks. After two weeks of discontinued wear (my diet remained clean and I still exercised), I went back to “normal.” However, I did notice a sort of placebo effect it had on how I perceived my body image. When I wore it, I walked taller and admired how I looked in the mirror. Without it, I felt bloated and self-conscious.
As for wearing it during exercise, PLEASE DON’T DO THIS! It is very dangerous to wear anything that makes breathing difficult during exercise. Spot reduction (the belief that you can target and get rid of fat in only a specific area) is a myth and as appealing as these wraps and cinchers are, the results they yield are temporary. Any weight or noticeable difference can be attributed to the loss of water weight. That weight will be gained back after re-hydration. If you still wish to wear a waist cincher, you have every right to do so, but please know that you are just as beautiful with or without one.
Featured image via WaistQueen