For as long as women have been wearing clothes, we have been pushing and prodding, sucking in and squeezing, lacing up and stuffing in, and basically forcing our bodies into unnatural shapes to entice the opposite sex. This is nothing new. However, nowadays we have state-of-the-art knitting machines, microfibers, and well… Spanx! So, yes we are still trying to cheat nature, but at least we can accomplish this task without whale boning, corsets and circulation-killing girdles. Are we still slaves to the patriarchy?

Of course, but now it’s so easy! And why not take that little bit of an edge that modern science can now afford us? It sure beats doing sit-ups.

“Really, why not pay 30 or 40 bucks to look 10 pounds lighter?” asks Heather Gross, buyer for, the popular online intimate apparel retailer. “Shapewear can be a good investment,” she explains, “It can help you fit into items in your closet that you could not otherwise fit into.”

For me personally, it’s going to take a lot more than a swath of peach-colored spandex to get me into my Dolce and Gabbana jeans from 1998, but I get the picture. And I’ll take all the help I can get.

These days, shapewear is a lot more than just girdles and corsets. Shapewear is an industry term that refers to any garment that forms the way your body fits under clothes. And business is booming. According to Gross, sales of shapewear have soared in recent years. She attributes this in part to the popularity of the Spanx brand. Spanx first hit the scene in a 2000 when Oprah raved about them on her show. And, of course, wide-scale adoption followed. Now even celebs cop to wearing Spanx with their red carpet dresses, making it completely socially acceptable for mass consumption.

So I did a little scouring to find Shapewear solutions to some common problems. Here are 8 solutions I found to common body problems.

1. Get rid of the gut

Some of the most popular shapewer items of this year are the Yummy Tummy tank tops. These are sort of a hybrid girdle and camisole. They seem to be perfect for layering. Also, these tanks won’t ride up, so they are great with the lower-waisted slacks and skirts.

2. Take inches off

Ok, this one speaks to me. Many of us have parts of our bodies that we are unhappy with. Mine is backrolls. Many of you do not have backrolls, and can therefore not be unhappy with them and I am envious of each and every one of you. Anyhow, the Flexees Take Inches Off Singlet purports to smooth your stubborn back fat, support your breasts and work with your own bra. Of course, the sexiest bra in the world won’t make up for wearing undies that look like something your grandpa would have worn to the beach, but I’ll get to that later.

3. Wear a better slip

This Cass Luxury Shapewear Skinny Scoop Neck Dress does the usual duty of protecting against sheer and light dresses, but it also pulls you in, taming the wobbly bits and creating a smooth line. It should look like you are wearing nothing at all. It also contains moisture-wick, so you won’t sweat all over your nice silk dresses.

4. Flatten that belly

Oprah approved Spanx Higher Power with Tummy Control. These are heavy duty Spanx, designed for maximum control and zeroing in on the waist, tummy and thigh problem areas. They boast no seams, so you have a perfect fit with even the sheerest of items.

5. Tell the muffin top to get lost

These granny panties are almost like normal underwear, but with a super-high band. These undies provide protection against the unsightly gut spillover known as ‘muffin top’, a word that I personally find disgusting. Accurate, but disgusting.

6. Control your tummy

I think this garment proves once and for all that thongs are not just meant to be sexy. They do the noble job of protecting against visible panty lines. With this one, you can let it all hang out in the back, while keeping your tummy sucked in.

7. Don’t forget your arms

Yes, there is shapewear for your arms! This Sexy Bax Armed and Dangerous T-shirt uses compression to create the look of slimmer arms. The entire t-shirt acts as a kind of a girdle for the entire body and can be worn alone as outerwear.

8. Remember it’s not only about being slimmer

This Brazilian Bump Panty adds that junk that you have always wanted in your trunk. Granted, this one you probably won’t find at the mainstream lingerie retailers, but I have to be honest: I kind of want to give them a try.

So there you have it. This is the new generation of shapewear.

But let’s not forget, the work of shapewear is a behind-the-scenes kind of job. It is meant to make you look beautiful in clothes, but its appearance can often be quite boring, even comical sometimes. The cruel, cruel irony of this stuff is, that while it is the perfect undergarment to wear on a hot date, it is also the last thing you want to be wearing on a hot date. That’s just the nature of the beast. So my advice is this: Wear the Spanx for yourself.

If you want your clothes to fit differently or if you feel self-conscious about underwear or strap lines, then try some of these garments. Just don’t stuff yourself in sausage casing to please someone else. That said, if you do find yourself in a situation where you think you will be confronted with a Bridget Jones style type scenario- and are worried about your date seeing your granny panties at the end of a fantastic evening, I have a couple of suggestions.

1. Keep him waiting. If it was such a great date, then there will be another one. Plus, it will be hotter with all the built up sexual tension.

2. As the night rolls on, excuse yourself to the ladies and do the Spanx shimmy. Leave some room in your bag, bring a thong, do what it takes.

3. Just let him see the granny panties. Trust me, he will still be into it, after all, you are about to be naked. Geez!