Outfit Post: Magical weight-loss leggings are just screwing with you

If you are a child of the eighties like I am, you might remember a delightfully fun winter clothing accessory called Freaky Freezies. These "gloves of the future!" changed color in cold weather to reveal designs and patterns - elementary things like rainbows and race cars and the solar system. I have fond memories of tugging them on after a morning watching The Smurfs and eating Captain Crunch, bundling up for a day of cavorting in the snow. In my little social circle, wearing Freaky Freezies elevated me from "that shy girl who, like, waves her hand frantically in class to be called on, you know her, she's so annoying" to someone close to cool. At the time, Freaky Freezies were the closest thing to high-tech one could get. But then again, these were the days before the Internet, cell phones, and cable television.

Last week, “Good Morning America” showed a hysterically skeptical segment on leggings that are laced with caffeine, supposedly to help slim down your thighs. Lytess, the makers of these magical leggings, claim that wearing them for three weeks will take two inches off your hips, and one inch off your thighs. Becky Worley, the correspondent in the ABC segment, held them up to her nose and said: “They don’t smell like coffee. They actually smell a little fruity.”

Manipulating technology to create functional clothing is nothing new. Spandex, invented in 1959, revolutionized the clothing world, and is currently found in pants, wetsuits, bathing suits, underwear, hosiery, activewear and shapewear. Athletes who need form-fitting clothes that do not constrict their movements rely on this material. Uniquo recently introduced clothing with "wearable sunscreen" which supposedly blocks UV light. And Eastern Mountain Sports offers polo shirts made of a polyester fabric that wicks away perspiration, dries quickly, resists odor and has a UPF factor of 30+.

"Functional" fashion has become something of a buzzword in the apparel industry in recent years, partly the result of marketing aimed at keeping consumers engaged with clothing that is designed to be disposable. It is also the result of a need to justify higher prices caused by the rising cost of raw materials like cotton and wool.

It was only a matter of time before marketers realized the potential profits to be gained by utilizing technology to create garments suggesting weight loss. The makers of "toning shoes" claim they can help give wearers more shapely butts, legs and abs, often without the need for gym workouts. This footwear - which often has a rounded sole like a rocking chair, to stretch the wearer's leg muscles with each stride - represent the fastest-growing segment of the $17 billion-a-year athletic footwear industry. It's a market driven by a customer base that is 90% women, according to sneaker analyst Matt Powell of SportsOneSource. However, claims that toning shoes can significantly contribute to a person's fitness are "utter nonsense," says Barbara de Lateur, distinguished service professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine in Baltimore.

So what's the verdict on caffeine leggings and weight loss? (SPOILER ALERT!) Zero scientific data exists to support the idea that caffeine rubbed against your skin will hep you slim down. Your body can't spot-reduce the areas of your body that the leggings are touching, and you can't even get those kind of results from frequent exercise. Lytess, the company behind the magic leggings, still claims "you can lose inches," but don't say that they'll assist with any actual weight loss — just "temporary size reduction and smoother skin."

Companies attempting to profit from the insecurities of women are nothing new - think of every quick-fix diet pill, diet program, and exercise equipment sold via infomercial. But the merge of technology and apparel to manipulate women seems to be a growing trend. Would you be intrigued to purchase a garment that purportedly encouraged weight loss?  Have you ever tried any fashion, beauty, or fitness products that turned out to be a scam? Or even better - have you tried any that you are convinced really work?

Vintage thrifted silk blouse; thrifted H&M skirt; H&M sandals; vintage estate sale clutch; Charming Charlie bracelets; Michael Kors watch


  1. Love the tangerine and hot pink combo. I'll tell you what magic worked to shape my thighs- a little magickal secret called walking. amazingly it's FREE!

  2. I totally remember those gloves! I LOVED them!

    You look beautiful in this color-blocked outfit. I really adore these bright colors.

    I've done Medi-Weightloss Clinics (NOT Medi-fast, that's a different company) and it worked for me - but only because I exercised and worked hard with it.

    Come take a look inside A Working Mom's Closet

  3. It surprised me that I already see the butt shoe's in thrift stores. Evidently they are hallmarked to be the new fondu set in the thrift world. Can't imagine why, being uncomfortable, painful and obscenely ugly. These tights sound like I will be sifting through soon enough. But thank goodness for sound technology, as someone who wears athletic gear everyday. Under Armour is my very best friend. I'll happily pay the price. It lasts forever and makes a big difference having to be on a bike in Arizona weather. Fantastic post!

  4. I agree with Citizen Rosebud. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can replace the results you can get from exercise. Plus, you get an amazing post exercise high. Love that feeling!

    I also love your look today. The color combo is gorgeous from your head down to your toes.
    No Guilt Fashion

  5. I like to believe that I'm scam-proof, as much as I secretly love the idea of rubbing caffeine all over my body. (Hell, I'd administer coffee intravenously if I could). I think those toning shoes are especially scandalous -- anything that alters your natural gait while exercising is usually bad news! Those gloves sound like fun, though.

  6. Other than the occasional cellulite cream that probably does nothing more than plump the skin, I don't fall for cheap tricks like that. As a plus size girl I've learned to invest in quality foundation garments and that's basically it. There are no shortcuts in life.

  7. I'm still giggling about the honesty of your headline. I read that headline and thought - yep, I'm gonna like this woman! :)

  8. One thing that doesn't work? Wearing butt-shaper shoes and then taking the elevator from the 1st to the 2nd floor...it's weird how often I see this in my office building. Unfortunately I don't have any shortcuts that do work...daily exercise and watching my diet does work, though, unfun as it is. :-)

    I love today's sherbety-delicious colors, by the way!

  9. Well, I did fall for a pair of the Shape-ups, but thus far have not bought caffeine leggings!

  10. Hello! Just so you know...I'm #250. Glad I found a link to your blog because you are super cute in you bright outfit. And your post is insightful and intelligently written. Glad to be a follower!

  11. First..LOVE the orange and hot pink combo on you! Gorgeous and super vibrant.

    As for the skinny on the leggings...I think it is silly that Good Morning America even featured this? Slow moving "news" week, I suppose...like really? This is about as silly as the shape ups.
    Hit the gym people...

  12. You look so gorgeous in these colors, especially with your red hair! Love, love! Thanks for the nice things you said on Twitter, I'm following you there.

  13. I LOVE this outfit! It looks amazing on you. I had totally forgotten about Freaky Freezies! My mom never bought them for me but I remember the commercials!

    Mo / stufffast.blogspot.com

  14. you are looking marvelous !
    what a great color combination :)

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