How to keep skirts from "walking up" tights when I'm walking
April 10, 2012 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I enjoy wearing straight/pencil skirts with tights. If I walk more than a few steps though, the skirt fabric sort of gets caught on the tights (around my knees or quads), causing it to slowly creep up the front of my legs, and eventually bulge out at the crotch. Very...ungraceful. This seems to be true regardless of skirt length (above or below knee does the same), and regardless of skirt/tights fabric combinations. It doesn't happen if I go bare-legged. I've tried a variety of lengths of slips, and anti-static spray, but nothing has helped. What am I doing wrong?
posted by unknowncommand to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Slips ought to fix this problem- that's basically why they exist. How slick are the ones you've been using? You need one that's so slippery that it's difficult to even hold in your hands.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:01 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Honestly, it sounds like your skirts are too small. Go up a size (take them in at the waist) and see if you still have the same issue.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:10 AM on April 10, 2012 [17 favorites]

Agreed with Sidhedevil. I have the issue of crazy-muscular thighs, and pretty much always have to buy a bigger skirt than fits my waste to avoid this issue.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 11:15 AM on April 10, 2012

I am voting for slips, because this doesn't happen if you go bare-legged. Friction between tights and skirts needs a slippy buffer.
posted by kellyblah at 11:40 AM on April 10, 2012

Will a slip really work? I also have this problem, even with dresses with a built-in liner. Seems like the fabric just wants to cling to the tights.
posted by vivzan at 11:47 AM on April 10, 2012

What Sidhedevil said. Fabric migrates to the area of least resistance, which means your skirts are not fitting you properly around your hips. You can also have this problem dues to friction, but if slips aren't fixing the issue, then it is the fit of the skirt.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:49 AM on April 10, 2012

I have this issue with skirts too, but because I have a bubble butt and very slim straight up and down hips. Its definitely not because the skirt is too small in my case, just that the average cut is for a woman with my hip measurement with wider hips and a smaller butt and it doesn't fit right. The tights probably help that extra hip fabric migrate to the front while you walk. Either that cut of skirt may not work for you, or you could take them in to be tailored to your body.
posted by cakebatter at 11:50 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks all. If I were to try to use slips again, what fabric should they be made from? Links to specific items would be much appreciated.

I don't believe the skirts are too small, but I can try a larger size? Even when the skirt is loose around my thighs, and seems to offer plenty of room around my knees, it can still get stuck on the tights. Maybe I should take smaller steps :(
posted by unknowncommand at 11:55 AM on April 10, 2012

cakebatter makes a good point--perhaps the skirts are too large, rather than too small. Or have extra fabric at the hips.

Usually pencil skirts ride up when they don't fit properly, and that's usually because people need to go up a size from their usual, but sometimes they need to go down a size or just attend more to matching the cut of the skirt with their bodies.

Another possible culprit, if you're sure the fit is correct, is cheap lining material. If the lining isn't tacked at the bottom hem, it might help to tack it with French tack stitch.

If you're super handy, you might consider weighting the hem with drapery braid or seam weights or even a chain in the hem.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:10 PM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Acetate is a good slip or lining material.

Even when the skirt is loose around my thighs, and seems to offer plenty of room around my knees, it can still get stuck on the tights.

a properly fitting skirt should hang from the waist. You might have room around your thighs, but if you don't have enough ease in the hips the skirt will ride up. You may have to fit skirts to your hips and have them taken in at the waist (if you do this, make sure the tailor takes in the waist using the darts. Darts are what shapes the fabric to fit the dual curve of your hip, and taking in only the side seam at the waist won't achieve this).

Other things that may cause issues: fabrics that have stretch, because stretch allows fabric to move in ways that garments are no longer "self-correcting" by their construction. One example would be stretch in an otherwise-well fitting waist that allows the skirt to slip down from the natural waist just enough for the hip area to cling. Sometimes a too-high vent in back can be an issue as well, because you can take fairly long strides, but the constriction hits higher on the thigh and bumps your skirt up.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:16 PM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it's not static (and occasionally I get the "Your Mother Didn't Use Downy!" effect) then nthing that your skirt isn't fitting right. My thighs are quite, er, sizable and I've had to go a size up in narrow skirts because of this. I've known a few women with the opposite body type - straight up and down and a large-ish waist - that have had the same problem. Sometimes it's a matter of finding the right brand, not just size or cut.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:26 PM on April 10, 2012

This only happens to me when I wear un-lined skirts that are made of spring/summer materials (cotton, for example). Most of my wool pencil skirts are lined (like this one) and I've noticed that they never bunch when I wear tights, but if I forget and accidentally wear my stretch cotton pencil skirt with tights I find myself ripping my tights off in the bathroom by the end of the day.
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 1:11 PM on April 10, 2012

Yep, these are all unlined cotton skirts (twill, denim, corduroy, etc.)
posted by unknowncommand at 1:39 PM on April 10, 2012

Sounds like a combo of problems. Yes, try going up a skirt size; yes, a good slick slip will help. Another thing you can do is carry along with you (preferably in something like a ziplock bag, so it doesn't get on your other stuff) a single DRYER FABRIC SOFTENER SHEET, and whenever you notice your skirt riding up on the tights, rub the dryer sheet ON THE TIGHTS on the front of your thighs. Heck, maybe give your legs a pre-emptive quick swipe when you get dressed.
posted by easily confused at 1:51 PM on April 10, 2012

You're not doing anything wrong, it's that mass produced clothing can't possibly fit every body correctly and pencil skirts are notoriously tricky to fit. Buy skirts to fit the widest part of your body and have them altered to hang correctly.

Also, if this doesn't happen when you go bare-legged, maybe consider stockings and garters or OTK socks?

I swear when I've made my fortune, I'll never wear untailored clothing again.
posted by Space Kitty at 3:16 PM on April 10, 2012

I would say it's the weight rather than size. It's weird that you mentioned denim does it, cause I've always found this happens with things like cotton and lighter fabrics.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 3:37 PM on April 10, 2012

Yeah, this is why I only wear lined skirts, so I suspect a very silky slip might work, too. Definitely no to cotton or linen slips, yes to silk or synthetic super silky material.
posted by echo0720 at 6:02 PM on April 10, 2012

I had two stretch cotton pencil skirts in different colors that always caused this problem for me. I paid a tailor to have one lined (it cost about $20-30) and I no longer have the problem. I only wear the unlined skirt with bare legs.
posted by jrichards at 9:43 AM on April 11, 2012

Tights are made from a matte-finish yarn, and they have more surface friction than stockings. Since the unlined skirts also have friction, the tights and skirts together are performing a ratcheting action so the skirt climbs your legs.

I agree with easily confused, you can rub a dry fabric softener sheet on the front of your thighs [while wearing stockings.]

Lined skirts or slips will also reduce the mechanical action of the friction. Slips made from acetate or nylon would be most helpful, while cotton slip would be useless. You might look into a "culotte slip" which has divided legs [like pants]. The divided legs won't ride up your legs. Available from matronly establishments like Vermont Country Store and Old Pueblo Traders, as well as Amazon and JCP. There is a costy item called the Commando Slip which has a weighted hem.
posted by ohshenandoah at 12:35 PM on April 11, 2012

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