With the onslaught of public interest in men’s shapewear and slimming undershirts over the last couple of months, I’ve learned about several companies who are offering Spanx-like undershirt products that help men in their quest to hide those unflattering stomach bulges and love handles.
Back in mid-January a reader posted a comment here and introduced me to Sculptees, a Houston-based company that is offering a collection of men’s shapewear/slimming undershirts (and underwear).
Now that I have a little bit more time, I wanted to provide some more thoughts of the product via my standard Fit, Feel, Function, and Affordability review process. So here we go.
While I normally provide information about an undershirt’s overall dimensions to give guys a feel for how it’s cut, it really isn’t relevant when looking at a slimming undershirt since they are designed to fit tight and form fitting and will stretch to accommodate nearly any body size or shape. As a point of reference, I took this picture of my medium/large sized T-Slim next to a medium sized regular undershirt from Kirkland so you can see what I mean.
Please excuse the sweat stain on the T-Slim — Mrs. Tug and I had just gotten done working out and I decided to pair up my Sculptees T-Slim with my LUMBARWEAR Fly Front American Boxer to see how they affected my training.
As you can see, the T-Slim is considerably smaller than a typical undershirt and my initial reaction was that it would never fit. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I had absolutely no problem fitting into this slimming undershirt. The only challenge was to get it on with out getting deodorant stains on it, which I was unsuccessful in doing.
The shirt fit snug, but comfortable overall and if you’ve read the post above where I jotted down some notes about my experience wearing the T-Slim for a day, you’ll know that I was cool and comfortable the majority of the day. I would say their were only two minor items about the fit that stood out to me. The first was the shirt fit a little more snug around the armpit area than I would have liked.
If you’re an average built guy (like me) but have bigger shoulders and arms, the snugness might be a little more noticeable. The other item was that shirt bottom rode up to my waistline over the course of a few hours and I had to tuck it back down around my hips a couple times during the day.
Because the shirt fits rather closely, it didn’t have same effect as when a regular undershirt comes untucked (bunching up), but it did not stay tucked the way I prefer my undershirts to be. That said, this undershirt’s mission is all about providing a slimming effect and it did that very nicely by slimming down my midsection about 1/2″. Overall, I give this undershirt good marks in the fit category.
The T-Slim is made out of 83% Nylon and 17% Spandex and has a slight mesh look to it. Because of the amount of Spandex it contains, the shirt literally stretches to easily 2x-3x its original size and has an ever so subtle rubbery feel to it. But, because of the shirt’s nylon content, it feels soft and comfortable on the skin and breathes rather well overall.
I wore it during my workout today and was pleasantly surprised on how it kept me reasonably cool and feeling dry. Although, even though it’s supposed to be a moisture wicking product, I will say that the shirt seemed to absorb the moisture more than it did wick it away to the outer surface.
It is now about 5 hours since I completed my work out and the shirt is still wet (I’ve seen other moisture wicking undershirts dry considerably faster). To be completely fair, this shirt isn’t marketed as something you wear for working out, so under normal wearing conditions I also give this shirt good marks in the feel category.
The best way to rate the function of this undershirt is to compare how it is marketed to how it performs in those areas. Straight from the T-Slim product page:
The T-Slim makes you feel big and muscular by hugging your body, pulling up your pecs, and enhancing your back posture. Lightweight, mesh knit allows moisture to wick away from your body keeping you cool. The T-Slim gives you a pump like you just left the gym.
Mesh Knit – Breathable knit moves moisture from the skin to the outer layer of fabric.
Raglan Sleeves – Raglan construction prevents sleeves from riding up on arms.
Shape Retention – Seamless knit retains shape wear after wear. Unworn garment may look short, but when worn stretches to fit your specific torso length.
Control & Support – Moderate control lifts pecs, supports back, and enhances posture.
In my opinion, the Sculptees T-Slim perfomed pretty well on all the above items with one minor exception. I can’t honestly say that I felt how the shirt enhanced my back posture. I do think that it does help you more psychologically than it does physically because I did “feel” a little more in shape and confident when wearing it.
At $78 a pop plus shipping, I wouldn’t say this is an affordable undershirt. However, I also wouldn’t go as far as saying that it is over priced. There are other slimming undershirts on the market that are priced higher and some that are priced lower.
Prices on slimming undershirts range from around $25 to over $100 per undershirt and it’s hard to comment honestly on whether or not it would be practical to spend $78 on a single undershirt.
I will say, however, that if you’re someone who is looking for this type of product to help reduce the effects of gynecomastia or puffy nipples, looking for an undershirt that will help reduce the appearance of your love handles, or want to hide those unwanted bulges for a special occasion, I think it’s a completely reasonable price to pay for a piece of mind.
I do want to comment on one common theme I see with the marketing of slimming undershirts that troubles me a bit. Most of the websites selling compression or slimming undershirts show their product on men who are fit, in shape, have six-pack abs, and no love handles.
In my opinion, these are NOT the kind of guys who actually need or would likely wear this type of product. What I would love to see (and would greatly respect) is for one of these companies to show before and after pictures of average guys wearing their undershirts to demonstrate how effective their products really are.
In Sculptees defense, they do include a hang tag (pictured here) that has such an illustration and they do have a “before and after” picture on their website, but I would really like to see photos of real guys on their main product pages (or at least provide a link to the before and after pictures from their main product pages).