Get in shape the easy way

Shapewear has proved to be a godsend for women wanting a flatter stomach, a bigger cleavage or slimmer thighs and now men are embracing control pants and tops in a bid to win the battle of the bulge. Emma Harrowing finds out how shapewear can give your body a makeover.

The dilemma faced by Bridget Jones over whether to wear big, stomach-holding-in pants or a skimpy thong sent a wave of recognition through the female population. There is nothing quite like the comfort and security of a pair of control pants if you want your stomach to look flatter and your bum to be more pert in your little black dress.

Sales of shapewear are on the increase, especially as now you can get an underwear solution to remedy most of the body hang-ups many women have, and the new generation of shapewear is sexier than the original big pants.

In fact high street stores such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer have launched a swimsuit with the benefits of shapewear lingerie after a national poll found that 92pc of women worried about how they looked in swimwear.

The benefits of shapewear as an instant body fixer are slowly starting to be recognised by men who are increasingly worried about their body image. Recent research by Debenhams revealed that concerns over moobs, love handles and flabby bums have got British men reaching for shapewear solutions. National sales of men's control pants are up 238pc and sculpting T-shirts are up 317pc.

Dominique Rock, spokesperson for Debenhams said, 'As the cost and effort of the gym kicks in, instantaneous figure fixers are proving immensely popular with men as a cheap fix alternative.

'Shaping T-shirts and pants also require a lot less willpower than a carefully controlled diet, something that women have long been wise to.

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'Gone are the days when the only way to fight the flab was confined to the gym. Canny blokes now have access to the tricks of the trade that women have been using for years.'

Online lingerie retailer Figleaves agrees after carrying out its own research into male shapewear. The research showed a 55pc sales increase in its men's FGL slimming shapewear range and in particular in the super tight T-shirts that when worn under clothes sculpt the waist and torso.

However, although national sales for men's shapewear is on the increase, here in Norwich it is a different story.

At John Lewis, Jarrold and the Norwich branch of Debenhams men's shapewear is nowhere to be seen.

Debenhams deputy store manager and menswear manager Ken Bunn believes that shapewear could become popular among Norfolk men, but for the moment customers are still sticking to the type of underwear they have worn for years.

'Unlike women, men tend to stick to just one brand or type of underwear. They are also less likely to ponder in the underwear section for too long and even get their wives or girlfriends to buy their underwear for them,' says Ken.

'Men's shapewear has been on the horizon for a while, but we haven't seen much of a demand for it in Norwich at the moment.

'However, the men's department has changed over the past few years. If you told me that we would stock bags for men a couple of years ago I would have not believed that we would have enough customer demand – but we have. The same could be said for men's shapewear in the future, although whether or not men will actually buy shapewear in store is another matter. It may be that this is a product that will be exclusively available online so that men feel some degree of anonymity.'