Does my bum look big in this? (I certainly hope so . . .)
Laura Butler puts the figure-enhancing 'bum booster' to the test
Forget about maximising cleavage or snipping in waists, the secret of sexy is all about boosting our backsides these days.
Everyone knows who Kim Kardashian is -- and most of the time it's not for her reality TV show -- it's for her legendary behind.
But let's face it: unless you're genetically gifted, it takes a lot of work to show off a booty worth being envious of.
But do women really want to sweat it out doing lunges or squats for hours on end to tone their tush?
I doubt it.
Society has been bombarded by images of size-zero women with bony bodies so small that they appear to be wasting away before us.
We live in an age that places emphasis on appearance, but fortunately for us, curvy has become trendy too.
So when I heard about a particular type of underwear that not only accentuates but boosts a particular area of a woman's body by two inches, I thought it would be either a novelty garment or something along the Wonderbra line.
But who'd have thought that the padded bra would be replaced by padded underwear?
The Invisible Shaping Bum Boosters have been selling like hot buns in the past 12 months and it seems that the buzz kicked off after last year's royal wedding.
Of course you know what I'll say next: having the ultimate derrière became a full-on craze after the world watched Pippa Middleton walk up the aisle at Westminster Abbey for her sister's nuptials.
She sparked off bum envy and from then on, women wanted to emulate her.
The result is a rather sizeable increase on vital statistics, as well as an extra 15-degree increase in overall curvature, to offer women a perfectly pert bum.
These seriously special undies are made from innovative shapewear material called polyamide elastane and their cheek-enhancing structures are built into the back of the lining to give extra bulk.
In short, they transform a flat bottom into a 'rear of the year' when worn underneath clothes.
Let's not forget, though, Ms Middleton was not totally revolutionary in her efforts.
There have been those championing the 'jello effect' for a while and they're among the most influential females on the planet.
The likes of Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Kim K have long been encouraging us to embrace our curvy behinds, rather than despise them.
The queen of the derrière is undoubtedly Kim, whose most famous asset has become a living marvel.
'Bootylicious' Beyoncé is all-woman both on and off the stage. We often see her shimmy and shake in daring outfits that seem to always show off her behind in the best light.
Then there's Latina singer Jennifer Lopez, the forerunner of this trend who's been hailed for her buxom body as much as for her music.
Naturally enough, I decided to investigate this phenomenon and made use of Debenhams' €28-a-pair for experimentation.
For a girl who is typically described as 'pear shaped', drawing attention to my behind is not something I'd like to do often, so I was apprehensive and awkward about the whole idea.
I'm relatively normal in the sense that black is one of my favourite colours purely for the fact that I feel slimmer in it and can hide what I don't like.
However, I can fully appreciate why many women would like to wear these boosters, especially those who are looking for a more voluptuous figure.
In my mind, there is an element of sexiness when you're dressed in an outfit that covers you up, but still clings to you in the right places.
Clearly, these 'Pippa pants' allow for subtle sexiness without being too obvious about it.
So I have to admit: when worn under a figure-hugging dress, the Invisible Shaping Bum Boosters no doubt draw the eye.
After joining a few friends for 'moral support' at 37 Dawson Street, I popped into the bathroom to slip the flesh-coloured beauties on.
When I dared to glance in the mirror my silhouette looked as if it had grown a booty Kim K could be proud of.
The reaction from both my female and male friends was immediate and a little unnerving.
It was decided that the change was very noticeable and they gave me such a "Nigella Lawson-like appearance" I'd definitely attract admirers should I so wish.
Oddly, I felt quite powerful in them; they sucked in my stomach but didn't draw me in all over -- evidently the point.
Perhaps it was also because I felt womanly wearing them and began to embrace my inner diva.
I would definitely wear them again, although not with jeans.
They are a night-time affair.
Forget about increasing your cup size, it's all about bum-boosting these days.
Luckily, these 'implants' do the trick without the hard slog in the gym.
They're an affordable item that reaches out to looking full, rather than flimsy.