The Fat Girl's Guide to Minimizing Body Jiggle
Posted by Angela in Loving Our Bodies,Plus-Size Fashion
Sacrifice for Beauty by JamieBates

Confidence comes from all different sources. Some girls draw strength from a personal mantra, a morning pep talk in the mirror, or a favorite song. Others feel their best when they know they've had a great cut and color, or when they've slipped on a favorite pair of shoes and a great lipstick color. And some of us find our confidence surging when our curves are shapely and smooth, letting our clothes drape perfectly.

In other words, some of us would like our fat to stay put when we move, so we're free to focus on other things -- like following all the steps in salsa dancing class or debating which World Cup team has the nicest-looking. . . uniforms. For our full-figured readers looking to keep the jiggle in check, this Guide's for you.

Less body movement underneath your clothes

Love 'em or hate 'em, the fact is that Spanx offers possibly the largest selection of body-shaping apparel out there. From shorts and panties in styles that cover varying portions of thigh and tummy to full-body slimming suits and a line of powerful compression gear, Spanx does a good job of offering something for almost everyone. And while nothing can sugarcoat the fact that Spanx = shapewear, plain and simple, there are things to love about them: The fat-girl-friendly sizing extends to 3X (equivalent of 26W-28W) on many of its clothing pieces and its hosiery is sized to accommodate heights of 6'0 and weights as high as 325. Plus, we love that locating plus-size products on the site is one-click easy.

Despite Spanx's saturation in the shapewear marketplace, there are a ton of other options for all-over body compression or targeted support. Girls looking to minimize belly bounce might consider a waist cincher like this Rago Waist Nipper (available at in sizes up to 8X), or a high-waisted, plus-size panty (available in sizes 1X-3X from All-over torso control can be found via a full-length bodysuit (you'll want to shop around for the right fit in the torso, chest and butt) or by layering over a shaping camisole or tank.

If you're a DD-cup or under, consider giving the Unbelievabra a whirl -- and then report back immediately! Users (and Oprah) have raved about the all-over smoothing effect of this one-piece, band-less bra/shaping garment. The only downsides seem to be the unorthodox sizing procedure (though the site includes helpful videos), and the fact that larger girls in our readership might fall outside the size ranges offered.

Slimmer silhouettes in "problem" areas

While there are seemingly endless shapewear options for the belly, butt, hips and thighs, it's a little trickier to find solutions that give a firmer appearance to upper arms or a smoother look to the sides and back. Because "back fat" and side rolls are often pinched and emphasized by regular bras, some women may feel more sleek in a bra that covers more of these areas, even if they aren't into full-torso shapewear. Several lines now offer "smoothing" bras that claim to eliminate visible bra lines while smoothing back fat: Slimpressions' Comfy Bralette comes in sizes up to 4X, the LycraŽ-enhanced Back Smoothing Bra (of Lane Bryant's Cacique collection) is available in sizes 36C-46DDD, and Woman Within offers a Comfort ChoiceŽ model that comes in a whopping size range of 36B-54G.

When it comes to arm jiggle, the options are usually embrace it (let your bat wings fly), hide it (under baggy sleeves or by avoiding sleeveless tops even in the hottest weather), or work like mad to tone it. Personally, I bought into the shame of waggly upper arms for many years -- something I'm sure my mother's well-intentioned "let's cover those up" admonitions only reinforced. At some point, it clicked with me that sleeves can be cumbersome and too hot in the dead of a muggy Chicago summer, and that I was tired of confining my shopping choices even further than by size; waggly, oddly creased or not, my arms were going to see the light of day (and night)!

My route isn't for everyone. I know plenty of girls who don't feel comfortable even with many short-sleeved shirts because of where the sleeves hits their arms. If you're not down with the "eh, whatever" approach and are looking for ways to tighten the appearance of those upper arms, try wearing a sleeve that extends well past the areas where you feel the least confidence -- and see what you think about a tighter sleeve than you might ordinarily choose, and in a material a little thicker (i.e. nothing floaty or wispy). Before you panic, remember: a little tighter, not circulation threatening. You may be surprised to see the thicker material and closer fit working together to reign in errant ripples or jiggling. If you want more arm control and are willing to dress to accommodate, shapewear for arms (said to "reduce arm circumference by 1"-3") does exist, in both short- and long-sleeve formats.

Physical activity: shake it without shaking everything

Whether you're working it on the dance floor or breaking a sweat on the gym's elliptical machine, the first rule of "less jiggle" when you're on the move is a good sports bra. Our fitness experts and readers have all raved about the support and comfort provided by Enell bras, but readers have also championed the bounce prevention provided by the Maia bra from Moving Comfort and The Last Resort Bra from Title Nine. GlamoriseŽ also offers a wireless, moisture-wicking sports bra that is designed to eliminate strap bounce and ride-up in back.

For the bottom half of your workout gear, consider skipping the loose-fitting shorts/capris and instead choosing more form-fitting bottoms like plus-size bike shorts. They help reduce the jiggle factor as you move, and you can always layer them under your favorite sweats (or buy pre-layered garments) if the idea of spandex makes you twitchy.

Finally, for a night out, and possibly some dancing, why not add some "WOW!" to your look while also keeping your midriff area from shaking every time you do? A dramatic, high-voltage corset (with either steel boning or plastic) will not only play to your sexy strengths from beneath an over-shirt or on its own, it will also help create a more defined waist and ensure that your midsection stays put while you move. For more examples of fun, sexy corsets, check out our recent Fat Girl's Guide to Lingerie.

As with any apparel you purchase, be sure to check sizing carefully, as it almost always varies by retailer. And don't hesitate to mix and match  different shapewear options until you find the combination of freedom and form that works for you. Because whether you choose to rein in the flesh or let it move au natural, the most important thing to remember about your skin is that you need to feel comfortable in it.

Have any feedback on these suggestions or other tips we couldn't squeeze in here? Or experiences with shaping techniques you'd like to share? We're all ears for your thoughts and theories on body jiggle -- to tame or not to tame.

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