Tummy: good for resting heads upon. Not good for looking attractive in winter.
October 21, 2009 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Leggings & tights: Help me find varieties that won't cut into the flesh around my midsection!

I come to you, MeFi, to help solve one of my peskiest sartorial problems: Tights, leggings, whatever--they all cut into my soft tummy, dividing it into two tummies (or one ugly decision).

I regret having such a lame first-question, but I searched the archives & couldn't find anything speaking to my specific problem. Is this not common to many people? Am I one of the few who suffers this fate? I see lots of women, many bigger than I am, wearing tights or leggings with no obvious problem. I've seen the tights post on Fatshionista, but I didn't see much speaking specifically about waist fit.

My body is short & curvy; I don't have trouble finding jeans & dresses that skim, but apparently my flesh is quite soft & elastic waistbands like to cut me into visual pieces.

Are there special types of tights or leggings I should be looking for? Different waistbands? I tried buying larger sizes--I should be wearing a size small or, at most, medium, but I tried large and XL sizes with a noticeable reduction in tummydivision but still the obnoxious rolling-down effect.

I recently switched to the solution of thigh high stockings + body adhesive, but I don't know if the lack of fabric covering my rear will be problematic in winter winds.

I just want to be warm without looking roly-poly!
posted by opossumnus to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Look for tights with wide waistbands -- they're better at just laying flat against your skin rather than digging in.
posted by scody at 4:16 PM on October 21, 2009

I tend to buy tights or leggings a size up from what I'm probably meant to wear--it keeps the waistband from feeling too tight.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 4:19 PM on October 21, 2009

I also have the double tummy/rolling down effect and low rise tights can help a lot. Lots of suggestions here. Low rise plus wide waistbands as scody suggests are double plus good.
posted by shelleycat at 4:20 PM on October 21, 2009

I have this same problem! You need to look for tights that have "no waistband."

I love DKNY "Comfort Luxe Opaque" tights. The material is super-soft, and the waistband doesn't cut into the tummy. They're control top so they don't fall down. I have only been able to find them at Nordstrom - if there is no Nordies near you, you can order from them online. Totally worth it!
posted by radioamy at 4:20 PM on October 21, 2009

Spanx tights. Impossible to roly-poly.
posted by meerkatty at 4:21 PM on October 21, 2009

I like tights that come up way high... almost to my bra. There's less squishiness there, and it smooths my other tummy rolls. My staple tights are from the Avenue.
posted by kimdog at 4:22 PM on October 21, 2009

I'll second Spanx. Their tights help in so many ways.
posted by shesbookish at 4:24 PM on October 21, 2009

I avoid control-top or shaper tights--in my experience, and on my particular body anything (fancy or cheap) that tries to squeeze tummy fat into submission ends up cutting into my waist or hips. Instead, I tend to buy cheap, non-control-top tights. They don't flatten everything, but they smooth things out enough without creating rolls.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:53 PM on October 21, 2009

These are technically long underwear, not leggings or tights, but I have a pair and they're awesome. The waistband is low, and has an overlapping v-shape in front. There is no elastic in the waist, so no problems with it squashing my belly, but I don't have any trouble with them falling down. It seems like the black version might work as leggings?

Spanx don't work for me because I get an unpleasant ballooning effect where they end and the parts of my midsection that got squeezed up poof out the top. Plus, uncomfortable!
posted by periscope at 5:00 PM on October 21, 2009

I've got a pair of Spanx's high waist tights. They're the opposite solution to the low rise - instead, it comes up to just below the bra line. Thus, no binding at the waist.
posted by Karmakaze at 5:10 PM on October 21, 2009

I like the Spanx high waist tights too. They come all the way up to just under my bra and leave a smooth, single tummy underneath.

I just got some of these Gap leggings and they have a wide waistband, so they don't cut in to my belly as much as some others do. They also seem to have a little higher rise than some of my other leggings, so they sit in a more comfy spot on my waist. And they're really, really soft.
posted by bedhead at 5:46 PM on October 21, 2009

Some leggings that have a wide waistband can be modified to make them more comfortable. Look at the inside of the waistband, some will have the woven fabric folded over and attached with a fine zigzag stitch. If you very carefully cut that stitch (making sure that you're not unraveling the fabric) so that the folded down section of the waistband can be unfolded, you end up with an extra- high waist that is a bit stretchier and won't dig in. I have 2 pairs that I bought at urban planet which are now super comfy, and don't mess up the lines on my clothing.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:10 PM on October 21, 2009

First, you are not the only one. Second, I just wanted to let you know that even as a non-pregnant woman, I loooove maternity leggings from Target. I store all of my extra weight around my belly, so the small size feels made for me.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 6:15 PM on October 21, 2009

I'm a part-time professional belly dancer. When I perform, I wear stockings and I have to roll them down to mid-hip to keep them out of sight of some of my costumes. This creates an ugly gouge across my hips unless I cut the waist band--just a few snips around the "hem" at the top allows enough give to roll down and not create that unsightly band. If I leave them at my natural waist, it also prevents that double-tummy thing.

My stockings are pretty cheap because between sequins, beads, and floorwork, they don't last long. I've done this successfully with some more expensive stockings as well, but it was a little more nerve-wracking. If you go this route, try very small snips in areas that look very durable and not likely to run all the way down the leg.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:43 PM on October 21, 2009

That happens to me, too. I buy a size larger than I need (this has the added benefit of making the tights look more opaque, too) and I just hide the rolls under a belt- this kind of look.
posted by twistofrhyme at 7:18 PM on October 21, 2009

i wear spanx hide and seek girl shorts for just this problem.
posted by anthropomorphic at 7:40 PM on October 21, 2009

High waisted spankity Spanks work great for me because I have a short torso so I don't get the "balloning" effect, in fact I could probably tuck the high waist band into my bra :/ If you're short-torso'd you should try them. They even have reversible brown/black ones! You could also give thigh highs a whirl by making your own from your old uncomfy tights. I've done this by cutting off the waist, leaving the legs as long as you want, and just folding over the top to make a hem using some anti-fray sticky stuff. Don't know how to keep your butt warm but the trade-off is stealthier peeing without having to basically undress!
posted by Juicy Avenger at 8:25 PM on October 21, 2009

I swear by the Target version of Spanx. Just as good and half the price!
posted by kidsleepy at 8:37 PM on October 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Steer clear of control top, for one thing.

Instead of regular tights, try the textured fishnet types, where there are actual "holes" in the pattern. They are looser by design. Look for a pair that feels loose even on the rack in the store. TJ Maxx or Marshalls are good places to look, or Kohl's. or JCPenney.
The smaller the netting, the more work-appropriate the fishnet. If you can find tights in this kind of "open-weave" in a non-fishnet design, so much the better for looking professional without looking like a professional, if you get my drift.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 7:03 AM on October 22, 2009

I finally got so fed up with that sensation that I started taking a pair of scissors to the top of my tights, and cutting right along the center front seam an inch or two or three-- usually focusing on the thickest part of the waistband to avoid any running. So far, I haven't run into any problems, and am wearing all my old tights, which I used to avoid like the plague.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 2:05 PM on October 22, 2009

fleecircus, your suggestion of at the waistband sounds like a fantastic suggestion, actually. They sound like periscope's v-waist leggings, except thinner, & easier on the college budget.

I tried turning a pair into thigh-highs but the tendency of cut stockings to roll over on themselves was hard to get around; I hadn't thought of liquid hemming product, though.

Thank you all so much for your suggestions! Hopefully I'll be able to step pretty in my new knee boots without freezing my ass off...literally. (& with that, I fill my pun quota for the day.)
posted by opossumnus at 5:00 PM on October 22, 2009

By the way, for anyone who reads this in the future, I bought a pair of Hue sweater-tights (S/M) from Nordstrom, and they fit wonderfully, no constricting.
posted by opossumnus at 4:20 PM on November 4, 2009

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