One day not long ago, stay-at-home mom (to four kids all under age 5!) Julie Kalimian was rummaging through her closet. She was on the quest for a button-down shirt that would fit smoothly under her favorite sweater. "Everything I tried made me feel bulky and messy," she recalled. "Suddenly, an idea came to me. What if I combined my favorite collared shirt with my favorite stretchy camisole? I could eliminate the bulky body, but still achieve the put-together look. It was so simple, but no one was producing it."
So, Kalimian decided she would produce it herself. There was only one concern: The former marketing, business development and sales executive at various publishing houses didn't have much experience in fashion. So she turned to and eventually teamed up with Alexandra Shuman, who worked for many years at Michael Kors as vice president of women's collection design.
The result is the SkinnyShirt, an undershirt that really does look like a full, button-down top from the outside. The collar and upper portion of the shirt are made of mostly cotton, with an added bit of spandex for comfort. The body of the top is made just like a camisole, in a stretchy knit that is all nylon and spandex.
"We have replaced the body of a traditional button-front shirt with a stretchy knit fabric," Kalimian explained. "So automatically you feel smoother and slimmer since you do not have the extra bulk around your middle. Since the body is made of a comfy, stretchy knit, it accommodates most chest and waist sizes."
The SkinnyShirt collection is broken up into four different lines: the Classic, which offers 11 different styles and color combos; Mama, maternity; Teen, for girls who have to wear a collared shirt as part of their school uniforms; and Shaper, which is made to hold you in around the middle. Priced from $68 to $78, the shirts are available now on SkinnyShirt.com as well as at select specialty stores nationwide.
In related news, this New York City "Housewife" will launch a shapewear label, set to rival her current go-to unmentionables, Spanx.