Tights... are... too... tight!
August 21, 2014 8:49 PM   Subscribe

I have a major issue with tights fitting, how could this be so difficult? My tattooed and soon-to-be-dealing-with-cold-weather legs need your help!

I honestly don't get what I'm doing wrong with tights. I feel like I should know how to do this!

I'm a 24yr old woman. 5'4" I only weigh 106 but my hips/butt is 37" and I wear about a size 4 or 28 ish.

I cannot for the life of me find tights that fit. I even got an L/XL and they DIG into my sides. I mean they're rated for someone up to 200lbs - yeah right! I always grab the biggest size available. I like to wear my tights where I would wear my pants, on my hips. However, even if I pull my tights way up toward my belly they basically cut me in half! So no matter what I've tried, they dig into my skin and make huge red marks, not to mention making unsightly bumps. It's laughable when I put them on.

What the hell kind of tights to I need? Do I need to go into plus size? What do you wear? Why is this such a problem?

I've considered garters and stockings but that seems like a lot of fuss. (Just from my limited experience with lingerie type garters and stockings.) I also am aware of the trick of cutting the sides of the waistband, but even the butt area is wayyy too tight still.

I've tried Hue and some other normal brand tights. I desperately need opaque black and opaque gray (preferable a heather or charcoal) to cover tattoos for professional reasons and for cold weather. I'd also love some fun patterns and whatnot, but again, opaque.

The tights that have worked are sweater tights, but they aren't professional at all, not to mention they have a thicker waistband and are therefore not great under anything form fitting. I despise leggings without feet. (They're fine with boots but not much else.)

Please help hive! My butt and hips thank you.
posted by Crystalinne to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (27 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
They make thigh highs that don't require garters; as a booty lady they were my favorite back when I worked in an office and needed to be all properly tightsed up. I got mine online mostly, but it's been years so I'm hazy on source details...maybe check Stockingirl and Sock Dreams?
posted by ifjuly at 8:52 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sock Dreams does a good job of providing detailed fit information about their tights. Looking through their notes (or even emailing them to ask your question) may help.

Bonus -- 20% sale right now!
posted by gingerbeer at 8:54 PM on August 21, 2014 [6 favorites]

They make curvier tights, I think they are called Queen sized.t
posted by fshgrl at 8:55 PM on August 21, 2014

This is kind of the nature of tights. Think of how tiny they are in the package! Of course they will be small and, well, tight!

But, try several brands. As a lady with a large derrière I have found DKNY tights to be both a good fit and a long lasting bargain. I wash them with my clothes and it's great. They do not run much so even at full price it's worth it.
posted by littlewater at 9:05 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm 5'2" 115 lbs, athletic build, and I always buy L/XL tights. I do wear S Commando brand tights though--the thigh and hip are tight, but the waist (my tough spot, since I have an undefined waistline) is pretty soft.

I've never had much luck with Hue tights. Boden makes great sweater tights; I haven't tried their opaques. If Commando is too pricey for you--I recommend buying from Nordstrom because you can return them after opening the package, so you can actually try them on before deciding--I also have several pairs of Target opaque tights in L/Tall that I like. Also seconding Sock Dreams as a great resource for size fitting.
posted by serelliya at 9:16 PM on August 21, 2014

This is tights. I had this problem when I weighed 88 pounds and I have it now at 104. It's not about your body shape I don't think (although I do have large hips/butt).

I wear cotton leggings instead. They're not sheer but they work ok. I tried thigh highs but without a garter belt contraption I had the same problem, just on my thighs. Muffin-top thighs! No thanks!

I think thigh-high stockings without elastic and a garter belt may work.

I researched this awhile back and read that Victoria Secret carries comfortable non-control top hose I think in their Body line. Apparently Wolford also makes comfortable but pricey stockings. I haven't tried either brand, because I just gave up on tights or stockings altogether and wear leggings or nothing on my legs under a skirt.

Good luck.
posted by sockermom at 9:28 PM on August 21, 2014

I have an hourglass shape (curvy in ass/thighs with a small waist) and the only tights that have not dug in are these by commando. They are so comfortable-- you might have to try a couple of sizes to see which works best but the waistband design is life-changing. I haven't worn any other brand in like 2 years. Check out their other styles, they make ones that sit lower on the waist too. Good luck!
posted by DayTripper at 9:47 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

The top of tights functions like a friggin' rubber band tourniquet, more often than not. I've found that maternity tights are much more comfortable in the waist and stay up just fine. The downside is that there is not as much choice in colours or styles.
posted by stowaway at 10:02 PM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are the tights you're buying control top? I had to buy some emergency tights in the middle of the day because the ones I was wearing got a big obvious run, and the only ones in the store were control top.

Those were the worst things I have ever felt in my life, and I wear a lot of tights in the winter. I hated myself in them and felt terrible for the three hours I wore them. Oh god. Fuck that shit. Never, ever again.
posted by rhapsodie at 11:40 PM on August 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

I recently tried a couple of pairs of "Different" tights by Oroblu, and they're GREAT. This is a new range that is supposed to fit differently to all the tights you've worn in the past, and they really do.

I am a similar size and shape to you, and I hate waistbands that dig in. These don't really dig in at all, and they're really comfortable (and durable) too.
posted by RubyScarlet at 2:56 AM on August 22, 2014

In my experience lace top tights (brand doesn't seem to matter much) are much less pinchy/tight/uncomfortable in the hip/butt area.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 5:11 AM on August 22, 2014 [4 favorites]

Try the non-control top tights from a dance supply website / store.
posted by WeekendJen at 6:20 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Leggings with the same colour socks may be not quite so despicable?
posted by glasseyes at 6:46 AM on August 22, 2014

Oh, oh, let me recommend some tights I just tried last week for the first time. Sara Blakely opaque tights

These were so good for the non-pinching of stomach and sides, and I was so happy to find them. I'm usually seriously uncomfortable by the time I get home from work, but these were amazingly kind to wear. Unfortunately, the color selection is brown and black only, at least on Amazon.
posted by feste at 7:21 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

And I am a medium, but I bought the large for comfort.
posted by feste at 7:22 AM on August 22, 2014

Cotton leggings!!! My favorite are by lands end. I can also recommend spanx tight end if you really want tights. They pull up super high-high enough that I can actually tuck them into my bra-which stops the pinching and rolling.

I bought a pair of maternity tights when I was pregnant and I loved the superwide waistband.
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 7:24 AM on August 22, 2014

Tights are big interest of mine. I wear black opaque tights almost daily, so it is imperative I'm wearing the comfiest versions I can find. I'm 5'7, hips are about 38" and waist is 26", so I have big-ish waist to hip ratio (and a lot of this is because I have a pretty big butt for my frame). I'm about a size 6 in dresses, so bigger than you are.

Time and time again I've come back to the opinion that American Apparel tights are my favourite - the fit, the comfort, the lack of sagging; everything about them. I hate most other tights that I've just bought to fill in while I could get AA tights on sale/with a discount code.

So with my conclusion that AA tights are the most comfy, I tried to figure out what it is about them that makes them different than all the other stiff, horrible saggy tights. I finally figured out after a super shitty pair of tights that it's the fact that AA tights aren't 100% nylon; they're a Nylon Blend with 89% Nylon / 11% Elastane. I think that inclusion of Elastane is what really makes the difference. I don't find that most "normal" brands of tights include much in the way of elastic, and that is what makes them go out of shape and be super uncomfortable.

I wear the M/L size in AA tights.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:31 AM on August 22, 2014

I also notice that the tights feste recommends above have an identical nylon/spandex ratio - 89%/11%. I swear this is the key to comfy tights!

(I apologise for my passion about tights)
posted by urbanlenny at 8:33 AM on August 22, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've had this problem too with all types of tights and at all weights. My two current solutions:

1. Maternity tights. I seriously don't understand why all tights aren't built like this. Sooooo comfortable.

2. Make a few little cuts on just the inside layer of the waistband of the pair of tights. I only do this with the super cheap ones I buy from Target, but it actually works pretty well and lasts a long time without the tights falling apart. It gives the waistband some more stretch without destroying it's integrity.
posted by MsMolly at 8:36 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding MsMolly. Cut. Your. Tights. Nobody will know but you, and whoever sees your clothes when they're off you.
posted by serena15221 at 9:29 AM on August 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can even cut down past the waistband. Worked on every pair of tights I tried it on.
posted by serena15221 at 9:30 AM on August 22, 2014

yea, I hate when tights dig in. Never buy anything with control top - they are awful. My trick is to cut the waistband almost off - just leave maybe a centimeter or less of the waistband at the top to prevent the tights from rolling or fraying, and then wear your underwear over the tights to keep them in place. And if you have pretty undies that are the same colour as the tights, it looks quite nice too, so you get the additional bonus of knowing you are secretly wearing sexy underthings.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2014

I also make little cuts on the waistband and it works perfectly for this problem.
posted by bizzyb at 12:13 PM on August 22, 2014

Indeed, it sounds like you are buying "control top," which like so many womens' fashions feels like some kind of massive practical joke. Some tights also just have absurdly strong elastic in the waistband. Avoid control top and buy a size or three up from what the marketing fantasy chart on the back of the box says.
posted by zennie at 12:45 PM on August 22, 2014

(I tried cutting them but couldn't make it work for me.)
posted by zennie at 12:47 PM on August 22, 2014

Hold-up stockings! They seriously revolutionized my winter wardrobe because they are so comfortable and they don't slip at all. I hate tights for all the reasons you list and was wearing cotton leggings for awhile, but I don't like their thickness and sometimes I wanted to wear sheers. I'm dating a man who loves the look of stockings and bought me a pair to try and I was an instant convert--not just for the sexiness but for the total comfort and practicality of them. I've been able to wear all my favorite skirts and dresses during the colder months cause I don't have to deal with pinching waistbands and dropping crotches anymore!

I wear Levante brand. For reference, I'm 5'4", wear 4-6 size pants, and buy medium Levante's. I'm sure you can find other brands that work just as well, but I only have experience with this kind and can definitely vouch for them.
posted by E3 at 3:09 PM on August 22, 2014

Response by poster: God, I'm so glad this isn't only my problem! (I just always see people on Modcloth and whatnot rocking cute tights, and I'm like HOW?)

I don't have a "best" answer as I'll need to see what works for me. For now I'm going to try to find some hold up thigh highs. I did trim the sides of some of my new cheap tights and they're tolerable with that, but still kinda dig in.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:37 PM on August 22, 2014

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