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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Shape shift

The shapewear market in Singapore has ballooned to match demand
The Straits Times - April 13, 2012
By: Gladys Chung
| More
Shape shift Want to wear a snug Victoria Beckham dress? Put on some shapewear first. -- PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Once thought of as something that only middle-aged women wore to hold in their bulges, body-contouring underwear is now big business.

Women as young as in their early 20s count shapewear as a must-have in their wardrobes these days.

This is not surprising when young celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Blake Lively, who are in their late teens or early 20s, have admitted to wearing Spanx, the famous brand of compression underwear.

Plus, with unforgivingly tight dresses from brands like Victoria Beckham (right), Roland Mouret and Herve Leger being all the rage, shapewear is now indispensable to many.

A quick check by Urban found that shapewear now makes up at least 30 per cent of the offerings at the lingerie departments of Takashimaya Department Store, Metro in Paragon, Robinsons in Raffles City Shopping Centre and Tangs Orchard.

There are currently at least 20 brands of shapewear available here, up from about 10 brands six years ago.

And they are no longer confined to control pants.

From sculpting tank tops for men to shapewear swimsuits, there is now a compression undergarment for every need and occasion.

Mr Richard Wang, managing director of Vizon, which distributes underwear brands such as Parisian label Chantelle, Wonderbra from the United States and Spanx here, estimates the shapewear business in Singapore to be worth about $5 million.

The shapewear pie has grown 80 per cent year-on-year in the past three years and has 'huge potential and room for growth', he says.

Department store Tangs saw a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in shapewear sales, says its spokesman.

German lingerie maker Triumph says its shapewear sales here have more than tripled in the last three years.

And while Chinese luxury underwear brand Aimer made its Singapore debut just two years ago, it has already seen a 55 per cent jump in shapewear sales between 2010 and last year.

Read our guide to the most popular brands of shapewear that are available here.

WHERE TO GET SHAPEWEAR

AIMER

The Chinese lingerie maker is one of the biggest players in the China market and Gong Li is one of its ambassadors. Remember her ample assets in the Zhang Yimou movie, Curse Of The Golden Flower? Well, they were well supported by an Aimer corset that was created for the movie.

From $129.90, available at B2-107 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

MAIDENFORM

The American brand is synonymous with shapewear; its iconic Flexees body-contouring underwear range is one of the pioneers of modern compression underwear.

From $89.90, available at Tangs Orchard.

MARKS & SPENCER

The British label stands out with its innovative shapewear, such as the new Ultimate Magic Body Define range which provides targeted contouring.

From $89, available at 02-50 The Centrepoint.

SPANX

This American label is a favourite of A-list stars such as Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow. Besides the basics, swimwear and a lacy couture range, a collection of activewear will be launched next Thursday in Singapore.

From $69, available at Takashimaya Department Store.

WACOAL

Based in Kyoto, this underwear maker's girdles and waist-nippers are known for their heavy-duty but breathable fabrics, and hook-and-eye closures. Not for the faint-hearted.

From $85, available at Robinsons Raffles City.

TRIUMPH 

This German brand has done in-depth research on Asian women's bodies to find out more about their needs and proportions. So the shapewear sold here caters to the Asian frame, which is a rarity.

From $79.90, available at Triumph Boutique, B3-08 Ion Orchard.

WOLFORD

This Austrian label is famous for its luxuriously sexy and comfortable control-top stockings and shapewear.

From $101, available at B1-13 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

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