I'm pretty sure my crotch isn't at my kneecaps.
January 19, 2010 6:31 PM   Subscribe

My tights won't stay up. Help! Is this a sizing issue? A quality issue?

I'm a 5'5", 135 lb female person who likes short skirts and tights underneath. Unfortunately almost every pair of tights I've owned seems to send the crotch in the direction of my kneecaps, taking my look from lean and leggy to waddling and mooning. I generally wear the second size in, in any brand of tights and I like opaque tights best. I've never bought super expensive tights, just the $20-ish ones.

This problem must have to do with the age of the tights, as the older they are, the quicker they fall, however despite hand washing my brand new pair of tights already wants to sit at mid thigh instead of my waist.

If it helps I have a really curvy figure, with huge hips and a shockingly narrow waist. (38" hips, 26" waist) Can anything be done or am I doomed to thigh highs and garter belts?

Do I need a size up? A size down? A special size? Got a good brand that doesn't do this? Any anwer is a good answer.
posted by Phalene to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Wear your panties on the outside.
posted by idiotfactory at 6:39 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]

I'm a serious fan of the DKNY tights I bought at Nordstrom last year. I am bigger than you, but similarly proportioned (giant hips, smallish waist), and they fit really nicely.

Although you sound slim, I would try going with a size up, despite how counterintuitive that sounds, on the theory that they're pulling down because there's not enough fabric to allow you to move comfortably.

Also, always control top, because girls with smaller waists can always use the extra help keeping your pants/tights up.

What brands do you currently wear?
posted by purpleclover at 6:41 PM on January 19, 2010

E.G. Smith stay up like whoa.

Something to think about is taking your tights in at the waist with a simple dart, so that you have to stretch them vigorously to get them over the hips.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:42 PM on January 19, 2010

I'd try a size up. If they're riding down when new, I'd credit that to a too-small size that means they are inclined to roll down the curve of your thigh every time you take a step (pth of least resistance as it were).
Also, when you put them on make sure they are right up against your ladybits, with the sides pulled well up so the threads running parallel to the panty area are at the same level as the panty or higher; if they start with a bit of air space, they will definitely fall.
posted by Billegible at 6:42 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Get a pair of these and wear them OVER your tights. Not only will your tights never fall down again, but you will look smooth and flat tummied!
posted by pazazygeek at 6:43 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Try buying a size up. Tights that are too small for me tend to do what you're describing.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:44 PM on January 19, 2010

Yes, panties on the outside. When you walk, the movement pulls the tights down. They fall quicker as the elastic ages. Or if you can find tights with a wide waist band, that might work.

If you know a cafe near where young women walk, you and friends can entertain yourself for hours having drinks and watching women in low-rise pants hitch them up. And then when you get up to go to the ladies, you're friends will point and laugh when you hitch up your own jeans. And from then on you'll never be able to notice how often girls are hitching up the jeans.... unless you wear sausage jeans, which have their own set of issues.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 6:45 PM on January 19, 2010

My $0.02 - as someone with a little (ok, quite a bit) extra in the hips & bum, I find that the only tights that stay up on me are the ones with one seam at the front of the panty-area and two at the back of the panty-area (in other words, an extra panel to accommodate the fact that your bum actually takes up some space and will - through the course of walking/sitting/dancing - wiggle around). Unsure of brands, but check the tights out before you buy. Good luck! And yay for curves!
posted by pammeke at 6:45 PM on January 19, 2010

I highly suggest Sock Dreams for all of your "clothing articles that go on limbs" needs. A lot of the tights that they carry have superior elasticity and they always give you very specific information about upkeep, recommended body shape for the product, and so-on. They also carry a wide variety of sock garters, some of which I own. You can get the longer sock garters and put them up at your thighs to help keep tights up.

I've had multiple email conversations with the people who run Sock Dreams, with really specific questions, about opacity and length and texture and so-on, and they always respond quickly with lots of good information and a bunch of product suggestions with pros and cons. Point them to this question and I bet they can answer it for you.
posted by Mizu at 6:46 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]

E. G. Smith are indeed fantastic in this regard. The very same pairs that fit me and stayed up all day when I was a narrow-waisted, curvy-hipped little thing last year still work now, when I am eight months pregnant. I love them.
posted by redfoxtail at 6:51 PM on January 19, 2010

seconding sockdreams. they're awesome.
posted by nadawi at 6:51 PM on January 19, 2010

Are you certain these aren't riding low because they're too big? If the smallest loss in elasticity is enough to send careening toward your ankles, I would try sizing down. My measurements and weight are the same as yours, though I'm a few inches taller, and the second size is sometimes too large for me.
posted by biggity at 7:02 PM on January 19, 2010

If you feel like splurging, Wolford hose are a DREAM. Mine have outlasted all my other hose (my mother's had some for 4 years!) with minimal sagging and they are soooo soft.
posted by Dukat at 7:09 PM on January 19, 2010

I am taller than you but have the same hip-waist ratio (or pretty close).

I cannot survive without control top. If you aren't getting control top, try that. I also have legs that no thigh-highs will ever stay up on, no matter how no-slip they are. Garter belts are pretty excellent for when you want to wear long socks or thigh-high stockings.
posted by that girl at 7:25 PM on January 19, 2010

I have hips that are about the same size as yours, and even when I weighed 117 pounds in high school, only "plus" or "queen sized" tights have ever really stayed up on me. There are some other things that help--footless tights, stockings instead of pantyhose, undies over the tights if its a really crappy pair, but I really suspect you need to go a size up. Why not try a two dollar pair of bigger, cheap L'eggs to see if it does the job?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:30 PM on January 19, 2010

- If your bra rides up in the back, the band is too large.
- If the crotch of your tights dives for the ground while restricting your gait, the tights are too small.
- If the crotch of your tights dives for the ground and the waistband falls off your waist and your legs look as ringed as an elephant's, your tights are too large.

I have a bunch of old tights that used to hobble me badly, but after I lost some weight, they stopped that nonsense and fit me perfectly.

If your proportions make tights that fit you properly from the hips down too loose in the waist, you can pin them or just resew the seams. Or you can try stay up stockings and/or stockings that require a garter belt. You can find these in the same weight as winter tights. Combine these with longline panties or tap pants if having a few inches of thigh exposed to winter air is too much for you.
posted by maudlin at 7:55 PM on January 19, 2010

Tights, in my experience, seem to perpetually run small. And annoyingly, you can't try them on or (usually) return them!

What you describe happens to me a lot and it seems to be a matter of sizing up. I'm the same height but a bit heavier. My legs are long and with my thighs and hips sometimes they just don't go up correctly. A larger size usually helps.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:57 PM on January 19, 2010

Dear Spanx people: I actually have a smooth tummy already, thanks. Pretty much all my weight is on my pelvis. ^_^

So I'm either wearing them too small OR too big. I guess I'll have to dicker around with different brands some more.

I regret I'll only try panties on the outside with long skirts- I'm wearing these tights because I don't want the world to see the little bunnies on my cotton undies when I go up stairs. Sounds like a neat trick though!
posted by Phalene at 8:02 PM on January 19, 2010

I am almost the exact same weight, height, and measurements as you. I used to have the saggy crotch problem, but now I just buy my tights a size larger than it says I'll need (so usually I'm buying as though I were around 5'9" and 150 pounds). I don't buy expensive tights at all. One thing- "tights", the kind that look almost like leggings or little sweaters- they still sag, I think it's innate. But hosiery is fine one size up.

The panties on the outside thing works, but then your panties show. So sometimes I wear little black boy shorts (like this) over my tights for extra security with a short skirt- they look more utilitarian/sporty than panties, so not as weird if a little flash shows.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 8:16 PM on January 19, 2010

You need control-top tights. They make them in all sizes, not just for larger people.

purpleclover beat me to the DKNY Comfort Luxe Opaque link. I wore those today actually! They are really comfortable, and they have a control-top without a tight waistband. They're worth the price, I promise.
posted by radioamy at 8:17 PM on January 19, 2010

Thirding DKNY tights. I also love the deluxe tights at Target ( not sure what they're called, but the cost $10 while the regular kind are only $5/pair.) and sockdreams is truly great as well.
posted by vespabelle at 9:16 PM on January 19, 2010

I think people are recommending Spanx for its extra tights-holding power, and not because they think you need a little trimming.

I recommend you go up a size. I'm short and, uh, callipygian, and always go up at least one size from what the chart on the back recommends. Also, tights with a wide waistband and control top tend to stay up better, as do ones that are generally thicker and more opaque.
posted by apricot at 9:30 PM on January 19, 2010

Yep, I buy up a size, even thought it seems ridiculous at 5'2 to be buying things labelled as tall.
posted by AnnaRat at 10:06 PM on January 19, 2010

I just put control briefs on the outside.
posted by tamitang at 10:24 PM on January 19, 2010

Of the tights I mean, not the skirt.
posted by tamitang at 10:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

Wearing ordinary panties on the outside of tights is so not a good idea. I tried this 20 odd years ago and still come out in a cold sweat when I remember trying to run the length of the high street to the public toilets, hand down skirt holding my knickers AND tights up as they raced for my ankles.
posted by ceri richard at 4:45 AM on January 20, 2010

Yes, the spanx were suggested not so much because I made an assumption you needed 'em because of having a belly, but because your regular panties outside your tights will simply not work, they're not designed to hold much in place, and your tights will eventually win the battle. Uncomfy. Spanx over tights works very, very well.
posted by pazazygeek at 4:51 AM on January 20, 2010

I have a pair of We Love Colors tights that are fab-u-lous. They have that extra seam in the back that pammeke was talking about and they're designed to sit really high up on your stomach if you want them to, rather than on your hips.
posted by muddgirl at 6:23 AM on January 20, 2010

I always but a size up. The larger sizes seem to increase more in leg length than they do in pelvis area size. I find that a larger size just has a longer leg allowing me to pull the crotch all the way up and have the top edge of the tights around my belly button, which lets my hip bones act as a natural roll-down stop.

Oh, women problems....
posted by WeekendJen at 7:32 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go ahead and repeat that Spanx tights are awesome - regardless of whether your tummy needs to be trimmed. I'm 5'11'' and about 170, and they are the best tights I have ever, ever worn. You don't have to get the ones with the control panel in the front, the version called tight end tights are just regular, but awesome, tights. And they last forever. And they come in a lot of colors and patterns.
posted by CharlieSue at 7:36 AM on January 20, 2010

Sounds like you're my twin measurement wise. I always go a size up since it seems we're on the border of an A or B. Vera Wang fits pretty good at Kohls.
posted by stormpooper at 10:01 AM on January 20, 2010

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