I do not keep up with the Kardashians. I do, however, spend a significant amount of time scrolling through TikTok, which is populated by countless users who love Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS shapewear(opens in a new tab).
The clothing brand is everywhere on the app, its garments having won over numerous fans regardless of whether they’re able to recite the Kardashians’ deep lore. And it does this by making them look snatched.
Valued at over $3.2 billion(opens in a new tab) by Jan. 2022, SKIMS’ popularity has exploded in the short few years since the company was established. This success no doubt owes a great deal to the star power of its celebrity co-founder, but has been maintained partially due to SKIMS’ popularity on social media. A quick search for the brand on TikTok surfaces countless videos of creators unpacking ridiculously tiny-looking shapewear and unassuming dresses, before trying them on and gaping at their tucked, tight form in delight.
With so many ecstatic reviews, it’s hard not to get pulled into the SKIMS hype. If this shapewear is as effective as its TikTok fans claim, picking up a few pieces just seems like a good investment for anyone who feels even slightly self-conscious about the contours of their flesh. That is, any human woman raised on Hollywood’s beauty standards.
As such, I set out to test out three of SKIMS’ most TikTok-viral products myself: the $78 Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress(opens in a new tab), the $68 Sculpting Bodysuit Mid Thigh w. Open Gusset(opens in a new tab), and the $62 Sculpting Bodysuit w. Snaps(opens in a new tab).
SKIMS Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress: Slinky and snatched
Slip dresses are a perilous genre of clothing. In a society obsessively preoccupied with people’s body shapes, garments that mould so closely to the wearer’s frame seem like a perfect conduit for emotional damage. Yet despite this, countless TikTok creators have embraced the SKIMS Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress, claiming that it looks good on a wide spectrum of figures.
Going into this experiment, I was curious why so many people seemed to think Ms. Kardashian’s stretchy body tube was magically different from all other stretchy body tubes. I had assumed that, regardless of brand, all such dresses primarily relied on the elasticity of their fabric to cling to the wearer’s form. While Kardashian is no doubt a shrewd businesswoman, it was difficult to believe she had invented some new form of body contouring technology the world had not yet heard of.
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Regardless of what technology is used, it’s fair to say the garment does its job. The SKIMS Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress does indeed make use of its stretchy, lightly ribbed fabric to give its wearer shape (specifically, 91 percent modal and nine percent spandex). However, the dress is also cut in at the waist to define the figure, rather than offering a straight cylinder like you’re climbing into an inflatable tube man. This results in less unsightly excess fabric bunching around your midsection, and helps give you that coveted hourglass shape.
Slipping on the slinky dress, I felt like a femme fatale in a monochrome film noir, albeit one investigating a mysterious noise at midnight rather than one singing at a smokey jazz club.
While it certainly can casually be worn out of the house, and numerous TikTokers appear to have done so, the Long Slip Dress clearly isn’t intended as a formal outfit. For one, the undershirt-style ribbing isn’t exactly sexy. For another, the dress isn’t lined — not a fatal flaw, but worth noting.
None of these factors surprised me considering SKIMS originally intended this dress to be loungewear, and continues to label it as such. Indeed, the deliciously soft, breathable material was wonderfully comfortable, and I could easily envisage myself lounging in it just as God and Ms. Kardashian intended. But they’re worth taking into consideration if you’re hoping to wear SKIMS’ Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress to your next work event.
The SKIMS Long Slip Dress is also, in fact, long — too long for someone of my stature. If you shop in the petite section, this will probably be an issue for you as well. The dress was so long that I had to fold two inches of the garment in at my waist to prevent the pooling fabric from creating an OHS nightmare at my feet. Fortunately my amateur solution wasn’t too noticeable, and was largely kept in place by the dress’ elasticity. Unfortunately it did require occasional readjustment, and made the dress less effortlessly comfortable than it otherwise would have been. I might have been able to secure the dress in place with a thin belt under the fold, but that felt like defeating the easy throw-on appeal of the Lounge Dress. I am strongly considering getting it altered.
Aside from the length issue, overall I was largely content with the SKIMS Long Slip Dress. It was undeniably comfortable and flattering, and when paired with a bodysuit reportedly made me look “snatched.”
However, $78 still seems a little pricey for a dress that needs to be shortened before it’s secure enough to mindlessly throw on (unless you’re just wearing it to be a couch-bound house seal).
SKIMS Sculpting Bodysuits: Make me a sausage
In addition to the Long Slip Dress, I also tried two of SKIMS’ bodysuits in their small/medium sizing: the $62 Sculpting Bodysuit with Snaps, and the $68 Sculpting Bodysuit Mid Thigh with Open Gusset.
I came to SKIMS’ Sculpting Bodysuits as a novice in the ways of the bodysuit. My fashion sensibilities typically skew towards comfortable and vintage, so I’d yet to add a form-fitting bodysuit to my wardrobe. That isn’t to say I was opposed to bodysuits. They certainly looked good on people who were not me. But I was skeptical of how the fashion influencer favourite would translate to my unfiltered reality.
Through the power of SKIMS, the mere concept of being perceived did not cause me to recoil like a salted slug.
Even so, I love dressing up and trying new things, and what could be more novel than squeezing myself into a giant human sausage casing? As such, I pulled on my first ever bodysuit with hopeful optimism and a spirit of adventure.
Unready for this jelly
My biggest complaint about both of SKIMS’ Sculpting Bodysuits was the chest support on their upper halves, with the word “support” in aggressively inverted commas. I’ve spoken to others who are evangelical about SKIMS’ bras, but if they’re anything like their shapewear I’d advise caution to all aspiring smokeshows that measure above a D. Unless your chest is small enough that you’re happy with practically no assistance at all, this is not a bodysuit that permits a brisk walk. Personally, I felt the suits were most appropriate for reclining, as just sitting at my laptop for a day left me feeling uneasily unsupported.
I was also baffled at how anyone is wearing these SKIMS Bodysuits as tops. Granted, the TikTokers doing so tend to opt for the black variation, which presumably provides more coverage than the light flesh-toned Clay colour I tried. Yet even then, I can’t imagine the different shade would do enough to mitigate the slight translucency of the thin fabric, which failed to conceal certain tone and textural details generally considered inappropriate to display in polite society.
I will say this for the Sculpting Bodysuit though — it did a shockingly good job of flattening my chest. Though certainly not its intent, the upper half of the garment was inadvertently the best minimiser I’ve ever tried.
In fact, SKIMS’ Bodysuit did me enough of a disservice that my mother was comfortable with me taking public transportation in the form-fitting SKIMS Slip Dress without bringing a large jacket to hide in. This was not at all what I expected from shapewear spruiked by a celebrity known for her curves, and I can only assume Kardashian is trying to cut down on the competition.
Difficult crotch snaps vs. Scary Pee Hole
The bottom of SKIMS’ Bodysuits were much better, firmly supporting me without squeezing the life from me. Both provided enough shaping around my midsection that I didn’t feel too self-conscious in form-fitting clothes. On the contrary, I actually felt confident, which is an unusual emotion for me. As a general rule, I try to forget that humans have bodies and encourage everyone I interact with to do the same — yet through the power of SKIMS, the mere concept of being perceived did not cause me to recoil like a salted slug.
The Bodysuits helped suppress my socially unacceptable flesh and with it the constant low hum of learned shame, so I didn’t have to spend precious mental energy railing against the shackles of patriarchy and diet culture whenever I recalled my physical form. However, the Bodysuit with Snaps did introduce me to a Hot Girl struggle previously unknown to me as a onesie rookie. Namely, the difficulty of doing up the crotch snaps.
The SKIMS Bodysuit with Snaps is held together at the gusset by two press studs, which makes relieving yourself much less of a struggle than it might have been. Certainly, I was delighted by the convenience when I first tried it.
However, this delight soon turned to distress as I strained to redo the fastenings in an amateur reenactment of Cirque du Soleil. Rather than a latte-drinking Instagram model, I felt like a feral raccoon tangled in a shower curtain. It was one of the most undignified experiences I’ve had in recent memory, and it easily reclaimed the time I’d saved by not having to remove my bodysuit entirely.
Even so, I was willing to struggle through it in order to obtain a slightly smoother midsection. I looked undeniably good, and the bodysuit was comfortable enough that I was able to wear it all day without any issues. A minute or two struggling with snaps seemed like a fine sacrifice to make, and was certainly preferable to peeling myself out of the entire garment whenever nature called.
The Sculpting Bodysuit Mid Thigh with Open Gusset didn’t share this issue, but still offered its own challenges. Rather than enabling you to completely retract it in a bathroom situation, this SKIMS Bodysuit has a gap in the fabric that you are to hold open while you do your business. I have dubbed this the Scary Pee Hole™.
The prospect of pulling open the SKIMS Bodysuit’s gusset fills me with deep dread. This setup has the potential to get very messy very quickly, with one wrong move having the potential to ruin your entire night. Still, the convenience of pulling open said hole may be a siren call to those who would rather not spend precious minutes contorting with snaps in a bathroom stall. I’d suggest investing in a pee funnel for peace of mind.
Personally, I’ll stick with the snaps. The Pee Hole bodysuit does give you a slightly smoother pelvic area than its Snap counterpart, as it runs all the way to the thighs rather than cutting down your bikini line. However, the fear and apprehension it introduces to bathroom breaks is enough to offset this small benefit for me.
So are SKIMS actually worth it?
I’ll admit that I was slightly disappointed to discover SKIMS garments(opens in a new tab) aren’t magical wizard robes that will instantly transfigure my proportions into that of Jessica Rabbit. But I’m also willing to pin that on elevated expectations from the brand’s loud and rapturous TikTok reception.
SKIMS’ Soft Lounge Long Slip Dress is a flattering and convenient outfit to throw on for casual outings, while SKIMS’ bodysuits are serviceable, surprisingly comfortable shapewear options (though probably best suited to people with smaller chests).
Even so, you’d do well to remember that regardless of how snatched some garments can make you appear, it will never match the unrealistic body standard that’s been drilled into your head. Only self-reflection and therapy can help with that.