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Even before it launched in September 2019, SKIMS was embroiled in controversy and cultural appropriation. The brand was originally dubbed KIMONO until the mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa, issued a statement asking Kim Kardashian to drop the trademark of “Kimono” for her new shapewear brand. Kardashian changed the name, but the brand has continued to draw ire for photoshopping Tyra Banks, a video editing fail explained away as a “glitch,” and the Kardashians’ culture vulture practices that show no sign of letting up. But even with abundant negative press and many critics, SKIMS is valued at $3.2B, and products sell out so frequently that restocks warrant their own headlines.
With all the buzz around SKIMS, you can almost lose sight of the fact that underneath all the hype and hate and commentary are … bodysuits. And robes. And lounge pants. While the discoursesurrounding SKIMS is fascinating, thoughtful, and perhaps the most worthwhile result of the brand, I was curious about the line itself. With this overload of context (don’t forget SKIMS prides itself on body positivity and size inclusivity) top of mind, I set out to test two of the most popular products and see if they actually do what they purport to.
We don't like
A Bodysuit with Its Own Fanbase
I was excited to try this internet-favorite bodysuit in flamingo (neon pink) because I had read a review that said it could be worn both as a layering piece and by itself as a cute top. I was prepared for how small it would appear out of the packaging because I had seen/read about other peoples’ reactions to the minuscule size.
Left: The bodysuit arrived in a box that had seen better days. Right: for size reference, one of my tightest T-shirts (size small from La Ligne) compared to the bodysuit, which is about the same length and expected to stretch the entire length of my torso and some.
It’s completely fine. But not worth the price (or the hype).
As shapewear, this bodysuit does its job adequately. It stretches easily and is fairly comfortable given its purpose. (I find shapewear to be inherently suffocating and uncomfortable, so when I say this bodysuit is ‘comfortable’ I mean within the confines of discomfort.) It sucks you in and eliminates bulges for a smooth surface, while the snap closure in the crotch makes it easy to use the bathroom. But it looks cheap, which is why I’m sad to report that I strongly disagree with the claim that it can hold its own as a top.
I love a strappy camisole type of shirt for going out, but if you wear this bodysuit without anything on top it looks like you forgot the final part of your look. We’re so accustomed to SKIMS imagery and touched-up shots of flawlessly worn shapewear that it seems not-crazy to wear it as clothes, but the grommets and adjustable straps give it an unintentionally-exposed-bra-strap look that renders it unworthy of going-outside status in my book.
The back view gives Maidenform. Or Hanes.
If you want a chic underwear-inspired top in this style, I’d go for the Rosie Bodysuit ($138) from Favorite Daughter with super delicate straps and a sophisticated twist.
The grommets and adjustable straps on this Favorite Daughter bodysuit might not hold you in as tightly as the hyper-functional SKIMS design, but they’re much easier on the eyes.
Do you want to be uncomfortable or slightly less uncomfortable?
A note about sizing: the site recommends ordering a size up “if you prefer more comfort for everyday wear.” This feels sort of misleading since my assumption would be that this is for everyday wear, so order your normal size only if you plan to wear the bodysuit for an event that’s a few hours long. My “normal size” is XS/S, but since SKIMS offers XXS/XS and S/M, I opted for the S/M which turned out to be a good choice. I wore it out to dinner with my brother where we indulged in a four-course Italian feast and despite how much I ate, my level of comfort/discomfort didn’t change. I snuck in an extra piece of focaccia that, had I not been wearing the bodysuit, my jeans would have prevented me from eating.
On my way to test the bodysuit against carpaccio, mussels, ziti, and limoncello.
Overall, I’d say this bodysuit does its job competently, but not exceedingly well, and the quality leaves something to be desired. There are no hideous flaws but the straps and the edges of the garment give away that the construction is not what you’d expect from a high-end brand.
What exactly is a “SOFT Lounge” slip dress?
I don’t want to bury the lede, so let me begin by saying that this slip dress is not a good slip (or dress), but it is a solid workout dress. Now that my thesis is established, let’s look at some definitions. The term ‘slip dress’ refers to a dress that is inspired by the look of the slinky undergarment. Ultimately, a slip dress is a capital D dress expected to be worn out of the house (in non-lounge contexts).
A slip is an undergarment worn beneath a sheer dress or skirt so your actual underwear doesn’t show—and it’s reasonable to expect no one will see it unless they’re watching you get dressed or undressed. You’re not lounging in your slip, it’s not a pajama hybrid piece. A slip is a functional piece of clothing with a fairly simple purpose. So then what is a lounge slip dress?
Does it pass for outside-the-house clothes? Not really.
When I first tried on the soft lounge slip dress, I was a little disappointed that it was much more underwear than dress. The photos on SKIMS’ Instagram made me think it’d be more of an outfit, but it turned out to be closer to PJs.
I’m all for free the nipple and it’s not that the dress exposed too much or would be ‘indecent’ if worn outside the home — it’s just not a real dress. I wouldn’t wear it to brunch or on a date or out dancing or to a friend’s birthday — which is pretty much all the places I’d like to be able to wear a slip dress. It’d be like wearing boy shorts (the underwear style) as shorts. You could do it, but it’s not a bold sartorial statement. You’re just wearing underwear as clothes. So I concluded the word ‘lounge’ in the name of the product is a hint that you won’t be wearing it beyond your living room.
What is it good for? Absolutely one thing
It’s comfy. I give it that. And it’s very opaque (so you won’t have Lululemon PTSD.) I realized I would wear it on a Sunday walk on the river when the weather heats up. This slip dress looks silly when paired with heels (the stretchy fabric makes nice heels look cheap), but it looks just right worn with sneakers. To test out my theory, I did a quick Sculpt Society workout and I was pleased to discover that my instincts were spot on. It was the perfect workout dress because the performance-like fabric felt like wearing nothing and it moves with you. Where the bodysuit compresses you, this slip dress clings but doesn’t confine. If you wear it to a workout class with mat work on the floor, you’ll want to wear bike shorts, but for a robust walk or doing a home workout, it doesn’t shift and dries super quickly.
Soft Lounge Slip Dress pairs well with Bala bangles and sock sneakers.
I also tried this lounge dress as a slip proper, but I wasn’t impressed because it wasn’t a discreet slip. Even if I were testing a skintone-colored version, the tightness (and opacity) doesn’t jibe with the types of dresses that need slips. Diaphanous fabrics with a lot of material (like this DÔEN style) need a slip that can blend into the silhouette without drawing attention to itself. The optimal slip is silky, filmy, and not visible—which are not qualities this SKIMS garment possesses. For an actual slip, I love this one from Montelle, which is extremely thin with sheer edges and pairs seamlessly with floaty dresses.
Final Verdict: Meh
Originally branded as solutionwear, SKIMS now describes itself as a “solutions-oriented brand creating the next generation of underwear, loungewear, and shapewear.” I suppose the original wording made it sound too much like my body is a problem and SKIMS is the solution. The revision lightens the accusatory tone, but I’m lukewarm about SKIMS after testing these two products.
While the bodysuit at least performed its primary function well, the lounge slip dress is just a sexy house dress. Neither blew me away (especially considering the steep prices) and I found the quality to be lacking. If the pieces were able to fulfill more than one purpose (shapewear that’s also a cute going-out top, a slip dress that works at the club and bottomless brunch) I might be more enthusiastic, but they were a strictly single function. I’d go with a brand that spends less on splashy campaigns (and has fewer photoshop scandals) and focuses more on craftsmanship.