The Busy Woman’s Guide To Excellent Posture

Photographed by Horst P Horst for Vogue September 1939

I have traditionally had great posture, thanks to 14 years with an eternally disappointed Russian ballet teacher whose frequent refrain was "Ugh Lydia, [author's note: my name is decidedly not Lydia, but Tatiana didn't like 'Lacey'] when will you stop jumping like an elephant? Hmmm? YOU WILL NEVER DANCE WITH BARYSHNIKOV."

These days though, I'm not under monomaniacal pressure to stand up straight, and things have quite literally gone into a slump. A slump that's become much more pronounced over the past few months because I lost my beloved standing desk and had to get a chair. (RIP, Standy—you disappeared my cellulite and made my butt look awesome.)

I needed to do something about my back, but I'm not the kinda girl who functions on willpower alone. Which is how I ended up trawling Amazon for posture aides during a dessert wine-fueled shopping spree. I Prime'd myself a collection of trusses, bras, shapewear, and "compression garments" designed to straighten me out, and while there were many beige, marginally stretchy options, only a few really did the trick. Here are my favorites, ranked in order of actually-does-something-ness:

Primal Squeem
Oh God, the Squeem. This is the posture-correcting vest to end all posture-correcting vests. Wearing it, I looked like a Victorian lady and felt like a burrito rolled into its tortilla too tightly—which is exactly what you want.

I definitely couldn't hunch forward, and not only was I somehow slightly taller when I had it on, I looked waaaaay curvier. My hips don't lie unless you stretch a weapons-grade piece of rubber across them, apparently. I looked amazing as long as I had clothes on, but when I showed my Squeemed midsection to coworkers—totally a normal thing to do—one of them told me I looked like Dan Aykroyd. So...maybe not a date night thing unless you're trying to seduce someone who gets turned on by The Blues Brothers.

Efficacy Rating: 6 Spanx

Cinch Yourself
If you want to sit up a little straighter but aren't really worried about your shoulders, a waist cincher will probably be more your jam. It's the same principle as a corset (and the Squeem), but it only covers from under your boobs to just below your hip bones, so there aren't industrial-strength shoulder straps.

This is also the sexiest-looking option of the lot; if you're into retro lingerie it'll be an absolute delight to wear, in addition to preventing you from slipping a disc.

Efficacy Rating: 4 old-fashioned corset stays

Way Cool, Bra
If shoulders are your main concern (or you just have bounce-prone mammaries and would like to find something you can jog in without wanting to die), allow me to introduce you to the IntelliSkin Empower Posture Cue sports bra. It looks like a cool zip-up bikini top Malibu Barbie would have worn in 1986, which is perhaps the highest compliment I have ever paid a piece of lingerie. It also really did push my shoulders back a little and made my whole chest area just look and feel exceptional, really.

A word of advice, though: It comes in front zip or pullover versions for your boob-justment convenience, and while I bought the zip for fashun-related reasons, I might recommend the pull-on instead. The Empower empowered itself to unzip a couple times while I had it on, and I prefer my foundation garments not make important cleavage visibility decisions without my consent.

Efficacy Rating: 2 jogs with Jessica Simpson

—Lacey Gattis

Photographed by Horst P. Horst for Vogue September 1939.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Heather P.

    Thank you for trying all these out! I'm excited about that last one, as I'm always on the hunt for a well-supported sports bra!

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I might consider the Squeem based on name alone!

  • Shea L.

    As soon as I read the title of your post I sat up straighter in my chair! Lol! Thanks for sharing! This was really helpful.

    XoXo Shea L.

  • Lidia

    ''I prefer my foundation garments not make important cleavage visibility decisions without my consent.'' That probably is the best sentence I've read in the last year.

  • Freedom and Me

    I always find how simply working on your posture can improve your confidence. Thanks for these tips!

  • melissa

    I'm totally getting the sports bra, it's a like crop top for Yoga.

  • Wear Eat Love

    Posture is soooo important! I would love to try all those things!

  • Anna Proffitt

    These are such a good idea, I keep having to stop slumping! so helpful x

  • Marine T.

    After 18 years of ballet I know how posture is important and I hate when I catch myself not standing straight!

  • Emily Trout

    So let's talk about the most important lesson from all this- that using a standing desk apparently helped with cellulite. Is that true? Because I just concocted myself a standing desk and am a week into it. Somehow (HOW?!?!) I started getting it on my thighs and swear it's because I sit at a desk all day.

    Did it actually help? Inquiring thighs want to know!

  • Mimi

    How long did you have to wear each garment to really see/feel the improvement in posture?


Jesper Office LLC
Jesper Sit & Stand Height Adjustable Standing Desk
Classic Shapewear
Squeem Cotton & Rubber Vest
Miraclesuit Shapewear
Miraclesuit Lovely in Lace Waist Cincher
Intelliskin Empower Posture Cue Sports Bra

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