Designer Helps Flatter Figures with Secret Shapewear

She calls it "Botox to the body" and "the little black dress with the big secret inside."

Designer Shani Grosz can't resist the slogan-speak because she thinks she has a game-changer in her Nue by Shani line: body-flattering dresses with a layer of built-in shapewear.

Compression-undergarment companies including Spanx and Yummie Tummie offer a few basic dresses that marry inner- and outerwear, but the Nue designs come in multiple styles, colors and high-tech stretch fabrics.

Grosz, a Parsons grad who worked early in her career with Donna Karan and Nicole Miller, had her own upscale label for about a decade and also designed costumes for TV characters (including Sex & The City's Charlotte). When the economy tanked a few years ago, Grosz said, the market "demanded" something fresh.

"The first thing women ask when they try on a dress — whether they're a size 2 or a 24 - is, 'Does this make me look fat?' Then they say, 'I don't have the right undergarments for it.' This product was developed to address that."

She spent two years getting the concept to market, introducing the line last year. The dresses are made in Shanghai using special machines from Germany and Switzerland that spin yarns with a "drier" feel than other compression fabrics. The technology didn't exist two years ago, Grosz said, "and it's changing every day."

The shapewear layer, which contains silicone to help hold it in place, creates a smooth look from top to bottom. But Grosz also creates "optical illusions" with the outer shells to visually flatten stomachs and shape behinds. Tailoring techniques such as inventive seams, color-blocking and ruching draw the eye up and down rather than across bodies.

Perusing the line at Dillard's, we liked some of the black cocktail dresses and the cut-shoulder sheath. (Some of the sheaths have slightly flared backsides that won't ride up.)

A woman might wear shapewear undergarments to look sexy, but heaven forbid undressing in front of a mate; wiggling out of compression fabrics can require some seriously unsexy maneuvering. Grosz says her dresses solve that problem, too - "so you're not left holding your scuba gear."

We found dresses with back zippers the easiest to navigate because you can step into and out of that all-important underlayer.

That said, it's still compression fabric, and the layers add weight. These aren't sundresses.


Written by Molly Glentzer. Source:

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