Spandex squeezes into jeans territory

Spanx has expanded from sleek, slimming underwear into the field of everyone’s favorite outerwear: jeans. The Atlanta-based company, whose foundation garments have been helping women fit smoothly into work and special occasion clothes since the year 2000, introduced jeans in two styles, several cuts and three washes this summer.The Signature, $148, has a wide panel, control-top midsection with a slimming waistband and it zips on the side. The Slim-X, also $148, has a regular waistband, but promises to “tame your tummy, trim your thighs and lift your rear.” We caught up with Spanx founder Sara Blakely to find out more.

Q: Why jeans, why now?

A: We’ve just learned so much about a woman’s body and fit, and our customers have been asking us for years for jeans. They were concerned about muffin tops and bunching in front at the thighs. We wanted a smooth front but with a jean look. You wouldn’t even notice the wide panel was there.

I like to wear tees and little cropped sweaters, and they look good with it.

Q: How are Spanx jeans different from other jeans that promise to smooth and shape?

A: The main difference, especially with the Signature, is a lot of other slimming jeans on the market didn’t have the wide waist panel and side zipper. And they didn’t look as hip; they didn’t have the washes.

And there’s our triple-thread technology. Most of the others have two threads - one regular and one stretch. Ours have two stretch threads for every regular thread.

We spent a significant amount of time on the back pocket - the size, the shape, how high up on the rear it should be. We had lots of women wearing them, walking up and down, and people with clipboards taking notes.

And we have the red rivet, one little red rivet on the back. That’s our wink and nod that we’re Spanx.

Q: Any thought to adding a boot cut?

A: Toward the end of September or early October, we plan to roll out a micro-boot, and more washes, a gray wash and some wax-coated.

We tested them, and our tester felt they were a bit high-waisted; are all the styles like that?

They are medium rise. The Signature - that’s the one to wear for a muffin top - (is) a little higher than that, but they give the illusion of being lower. We were very strategic about where we wanted it to stop. I don’t want to say “Mom jeans” - we didn’t want them to look like that.

Q: You’re planning to open a store in Santa Monica in September, right? (Spanx is in the process of moving its Atlanta headquarters to the Streets of Buckhead where the company is also opening a flagship store.)

A: We’re really excited about it. It’s our first stand-alone store on the West Coast. It will have our full range of products. The main feedback we get from customers in a store is, “I had no idea you made this range of products.”