No. Those Clothes Don’t Make You Look Thin

I’ve been saving this for a day when we need some comic relief.  Seems like this might be one.

About a month ago, the FTC cracked down on a product I had no hint could possibly exist. (Get offa my lawn!)

That would be caffeinated underpants.

No.  Really.

“The revolutionary new anti-cellulite iPant from Wacoal. …embedded microcapsules combine the best selection of active ingredients: caffeine, retinol, ceramides, vitamin E, fatty acids and aloe vera. Caffeine is a renowned active slimming agent that promotes fat destruction.”

The Norm Thompson online catalog has already been expunged of all claims of weight loss, but from the FTC documents:

Take up to 2” off hips and 1” off thighs in just weeks. The shapewear’s secret?  Caffeine. . . . Caffeine helps break down fat; botanicals flush out toxins.


Alas.  Obama’s jackbooted thugs over at the Federal Trade Commission have no respect for the genius of the free market:

The FTC…ruled that the trials relied upon to make these claims were faulty: they were unblinded, had no controls, and even then didn’t produce the results claimed.  After 28 days of wearing caffeinated britches, the average hip circumference reduction was less than 0.166 of an inch; the average reported thigh reduction was 0.125 of an inch.

Or, in blunter terms:

“Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said. “If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear.”

Words to live by.*

The two companies cited in the FTC complaint are paying smallish fines and ceasing and desisting.  As the Wired article linked above notes, however, there are other companies cockroaches out there selling this same scam.  There will be suckers.

With that, this thread — it is open.

*Not unlike this advice: If some Republican tells you they can raise revenue by cutting taxes, steer clear.

What — you thought I could avoid all politics today?

Image:  Gustave Courbet, The Wrestlers,  1853


40 replies
  1. 1
    sparrow says:

    Wacoal does make nice bras though.

    My mom got me some socks last year that supposedly had “lotion” in them or something. I basically just rejected that idea because it made no sense — they were soft, for sure, but I have no idea what they were trying to claim there.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    And yet you can still buy moisturizers with caffeine in them. I guess rubbing caffeine on your thighs is okay, but wearing it is a no-no.

  3. 3
    Bobby B. says:

    Caffeine is not a controlled substance unliess you put it in alcohol (Four Loko). Then you got trouble in River City with a capitol T and that rhymes with C…

  4. 4
    PurpleGirl says:

    On NY1 this morning, a story about Bloomberg’s attorneys recent activity — registering domain names. Some, such as Bloomberg Family Foundation, are serious. Then there are the others, which may not be permanent but they are registered for now: Bloomberg is a dwerb and Bloomberg is too rich. I like Bloomberg is a dwerb.

  5. 5
    Seanly says:

    Hmm, I look forward to working with folks who smell like they pooped out their Starbucks.

    I still see folks wearing those copper or magnet bracelets so I would imagine that the coffee underwear will be a big seller too.

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, to add to the oddity, it’s not uncommon to find clothes (partially) made from used coffee grounds, though they don’t seem to make any weight-loss claims. It’s a “look at the cool recycling we can do now!” claim.

  7. 7
    kindness says:

    Election coverage overload. It’s so morose. I went over to Funny or Die to try and get a little levity. What happened over there? It wasn’t funny. Thank god for Obamacare, I didn’t die.

  8. 8
    Buddy H says:

    I see magnetic cure-all bracelets sold every year at our local craft fairs. Old man with xeroxed pamphlet extolling health benefits of magnets for arthritis, gout and anything else you can think of. He makes some good money off the desperate old folks.

    Here’s an election day question: On my ballot, I saw some judges running unopposed. They were on the conservative, the republican and also the independence party line. I wanted to leave them blank, but I was afraid if I left any choices blank, someone would negate my whole ballot. Can they do that? If a conservative republican runs unopposed, can I skip over him? Pardon my ignorance on this subject.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    I have heard of Waist Training but that is no different than corsets and isn’t so much about weight loss as it is about making people miserable so they won’t eat and possibly change the body shape like corsets did.

  10. 10
    Mike J says:

    The dumb ass copper infused knee/arm braces annoy me even more. Yes, a compression bandage can really help joints feel better, no putting copper in doesn’t matter.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Warren Terra says:

    If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear.”

    Oh, I can think of a few clothing items that would work. A helmet, with sealed visor, so you can’t eat. Or weighted trousers (assuming sitting around isn’t an option).

  13. 13
    Trollhattan says:

    “Mah pants make me wanna get up and dance. Literally.”

  14. 14
    Cervantes says:

    How long before someone starts selling decaffeinated underpants?

  15. 15
    Origuy says:

    @Buddy H: You don’t have to vote for every position or proposition. I left most of the judges blank; I’ve never heard of them and have no idea whether or not to retain them. Same with most of the school board positions. Since I don’t have kids, I don’t follow the school issues. I did vote in one school board election because the paper had made endorsements. I figure they at least weed out the crazies.
    I skipped a proposition about Indian casinos, too. I hadn’t read anything about it.

  16. 16
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, for the fellas, when Wacoal talks about “fat destruction,” they’re talking about a very specific kind of fat, namely the dreaded “cellulite.” I’m guessing they didn’t use that word because it’s not at all scientific, just a marketing name attached to “thigh and butt fat.”

  17. 17
    skerry says:

    @Botsplainer: I saw that. Let’s hope lots of voters share the sentiment.

  18. 18
    Origuy says:

    Crap. I mentioned places of financial risk-taking operated by Native Americans.

  19. 19
    MomSense says:

    @Bobby B.: and that stands for cool (not).

  20. 20
    cmorenc says:

    I wish caffeine was anywhere near as effective for taking off a few unwanted pounds as the product promoters originally claimed it was – if so, I’d have to worry about crossing over the other way into anorexia, with my daily 5+ cup-a-day habit of drinking home-brewed, home-ground coffee (I fill the grinder with fresh beans nearly up to the brim before grinding, so it’s a bit on the strong side).

  21. 21
    MomSense says:

    Speaking of inappropriate medical attire. Saw a guy at my polling station wearing a paper mask and yellow rubber kitchen gloves. He was talking about “Obola”.

  22. 22
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @MomSense: All I had at my polling place was a Browns fan directing traffic. I was voter number 616 just before noon, and I’ve only seen all the voting stands full once before, in 2008. I’m usually in the high 400s late in the afternoon. Let’s hope it’s a good sign.

  23. 23

    Clothes won’t make you thin, but you can certainly wear mumus that make you look bigger than you are.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    Caffeinated Underwear. Hmm. Not a band name, maybe, but I could see it as an album title.

    There might be a bigger market potential in the intimate-apparel space for gluten-free product.

  25. 25
    Trollhattan says:

    Tried to get sciency and find out whether caffeine can be dermally absorbed. NIOSH and the MSDS give only ingestion and inhalation pathways, so no help there. One article noted it can be absorbed “in solution” so by extension, only wet caffeinated underwear would actually dose you with caffeine (the quantitative analysis is a whole other kettle of wide-awake fish).

    “Are your soggy coffee pants keeping you awake nights? Call this 800 number to speak to our legal staff.”

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    There might be a bigger market potential in the intimate-apparel space for gluten-free product.

    I have already seen such things advertised. I wish I were joking.

  27. 27
    Elizabelle says:


    I love it. Would love to see it on some newspaper front pages.

    Right next to their breathless coverage of how unpopular President Obama is.

  28. 28
    MomSense says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    We had really high turnout today too. Usually we have very high early voting rates but I predicted that Dems and left leaning independents would wait because they didn’t want to end up with LePage again.

  29. 29
  30. 30
  31. 31
    Cervantes says:


    Tried to get sciency and find out whether caffeine can be dermally absorbed.

    Yes, it can.

  32. 32

    @MomSense: I was surprised that Mainers voted for him in the first place.

  33. 33
    Helen says:

    @Buddy H: Yes you can leave any race blank and the rest of your votes will count. I left the top of the ticket blank this morning; the governor’s race here in NY because I cannot cannot cannot vote for Cuomo, just as much as I cannot vote Republican. I also left the State Assembly vote blank (it’s a Hevasi; I know two of the Hevasis’ personally – one is in jail and the other is an asshole). My other votes will count.

  34. 34
    MomSense says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Only 39%. Sadly I think he will get more of the vote this time around.

  35. 35
    Beatrice says:

    @Buddy H: Buddy, it is fine to leave a blank in your ballot. As long as you fill in at least one office, it is completely OK to leave others blank.

  36. 36
    Mandalay says:

    The desperate:

    Kmart will be open from 6 a.m. on Thursday Nov. 27 until midnight on Friday Nov. 28, giving shoppers 42 hours to buy goods…Walmart will also be open all day, while Kohl’s and Macy’s will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

    The voice of reason:

    Big box giant Costco will not be opening on Thanksgiving. A company spokesperson said, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

  37. 37
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Mandalay: We need an “I will not shop on Thanksgiving” movement to convince stores to stop exploiting their workers like this.

    I’m tempted to spend Thanksgiving morning picketing my local WallyWorld.

  38. 38
    catclub says:

    I still see folks wearing those copper or magnet bracelets so I would imagine that the coffee underwear will be a big seller too.


    In the latest world series, some of the Giants pitchers still had the braided necklaces. That fad has lasted 4 or 5 years now.

  39. 39
    Shakezula says:

    @sparrow: Yeah, I was going to say this is very disappointing because they make bras that actually work and aren’t fuggly.

  40. 40
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I don’t care what they say, I’m putting coffee in my drawers tomorrow. Getting rid of this fat ass is hard work.

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