Looking for pants that don't irritate my crotch
April 19, 2017 10:15 PM   Subscribe

I having some weird bladder and belly sensitivities that are making my jeans/pants feel uncomfortable. I've gone to the gyn for testing and plan on going to see a gastroenterologist in the near future. These issues are making my pants and underwear very uncomfortable.

The problem is that I basically wear jeans everyday for work and stretch pants at home. I love to wear form fitting pants but have switched over to more comfortable legging pants from Uniqlo. They look like jeans but are more comfortable. Yay elastic waistband! Unfortunately now even those are bothering me. Skirts and dresses are the obvious choice but they have never been a part of my wardrobe/style and I'm extremely insecure about my bony legs so they've never been an option for me. Even less so in the summer when I can't wear thick tights and tall boots.

I've been wanting to update my wardrobe but was moving towards what I would call edgy but casual equestrian punk. I just made that up I think. This means fitted jeans/pants with jackets/blazers, and boots for as long as the season allow and chucks in the summer.

I'm interested in recommendations on changing my current wardrobe to accommodate my crotchety crotch but maintaining my overall style. I don't want to end up just having to wear baggy, shapeless clothing. I'm also not sure where to start since I've been dressing more or less the same with minor changes since forever.

I'm 36, female, slim but with a gut (my never ending struggle since it's the only place I gain weight). My job is mostly casual. I very rarely "dress up". Here are some pics to give you an idea.
posted by mokeydraws to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Photo album in the 'here' link doesn't work.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:31 PM on April 19, 2017

You could try some joggers which tend to be looser around the crotch. Also, try maxi skirts (which come down to your ankles). I have a few that are a stretchy material and form fitting and don't look baggy or shapeless. I am have having bladder issues, too. Here's hoping you are feeling better soon!
posted by shalom at 11:31 PM on April 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wonder -- would cycling shorts that have a chamois in them help? If you wore them under whatever else you are wearing, maybe they'd give you some relief? They might actually make things worse, since they are relatively tight and bulky, but they're padded and meant to be comfortable, and they keep rubby seams away from your sensitive bits, so they might make things better.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:43 AM on April 20, 2017

Maybe you could try a fashionable pair of overalls? They generally are fairly free around the relevant parts and seem to be popular this season. Or a jumpsuit like this one which I own and can vouch is loose where you need it to be. Stretchy jumpsuits could be dressed up with blazers,
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 3:34 AM on April 20, 2017

You may want to consider maternity jeans. They have an elastic waistband and tend to be loose at the crotch.

Outside of your aesthetic, linen pants might be a good alternative for the summer.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 4:28 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Joggers/harem pants. Have you tried bamboo underwear? They're the softest.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:30 AM on April 20, 2017

Hopefully these work

posted by mokeydraws at 5:13 AM on April 20, 2017

I know you said no dresses, but have you considered maxi dresses/skirts? They are usually very comfortable, and if you're self conscious about your legs, they make that a non issue. They can be a little formal, but there are plenty of casual ones. Also, I've gotten some cute ones from Target for cheap. Maybe pick up some cheap ones just for while you get this sorted out?
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:30 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to tweak your style a little bit (at least until the discomfort gets figured out), you might try a longer skirt that would cover your legs and work for your preppy/equestrian look. I think the key would be to look for slim-fitting maxi skirts (rather than retro/girly skirts with lots of fabric and volume). Slim-fit preppy maxi skirt examples: 1, 2, 3, 4. If you want to try it out, you can find some cheap options at Old Navy.
posted by ourobouros at 5:42 AM on April 20, 2017

I have vulvodynia, which is pain at the opening of the vagina, and I have not been able to wear tight fitting bottoms for six years. I'm not sure if that's the same spot where you're getting irritated or if your problem is with the waistband, but here are some things that work for me.

-I basically never wear underwear. My doctor recommended wearing dermasilk underwear while out and nothing at home and while those worked pretty well, I ended up just using nothing most of the time and high quality sports underwear, like Patagonia, for exercising. I can't find a link for buying dermasilk underwear in the US anyways.
- I usually wear skirts with tights with the crotch cut out. This only works for tights with gussets. Would tights be enough cover to make you comfortable about your legs? They come in lots of fun colors and patterns like your pants in your photos.
- If I wear pants, the key word is boyfriend/girlfriend. I have not figured out a non-baggy solution.
- When I wear pants, I use these Go Commandos patches to cover up the crotch seam so it doesn't irritate me. They're expensive for single use items though.

Sorry, I don't have a good solution for you. I'm interested to see what other answers you get.
posted by carolr at 5:43 AM on April 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Oh, one other idea. Another woman I know with vulvodynia replaces the part of the synthetic lining of her work pants near the crotch with silk.
posted by carolr at 5:45 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you sew, or can find someone who does alterations, you can have a gusset put in existing jeans. Basically, it's a diamond shaped piece of fabric that replaces the wad of seams that is the crotch of most jeans. Ideally, if you can color match a piece of stretch denim, and have the gusset made large enough to cover your complete vulval/perineal area, you should see a significant improvement in comfort. Depending on your sitting habits, the alteration shouldn't be too noticeable, and the easy fix if you want to be most discreet is tunic or hip length tops. It shouldn't be an expensive alteration. Maybe try it with an old pair of pants, see if it works for you, then have it done on new purchases so you can build a comfortable collection of pants for all occasions.
You have my sincere sympathy.
posted by LaBellaStella at 6:08 AM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

For this question, I'm combining my experience with recurrent UTIs and post-laparoscopic surgery for ovarian cysts. UTIs made me averse to tight, structured pants (especially in the crotch), and the surgery meant basically no waistbands that hit at the hip (incision site) or tight waistbands at all. Hopefully it'll give me a close enough reference point.

With respect to your desired style, I think your pants options are going to fall to joggers, which depending on the fabric, lean more casual/less form fitting, but are comfy, or leggings-style pants. I've seen people rock joggers with a fitted top and blazer, and some cool sneakers, or ankle boots. That first fit there looks in tune with your style, possible. If you find a pair of leggings that aren't see-through at all, are comfy and structured enough to work as pants with a non-tunic length top, for the love of god, message me. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect ones.

The best option that worked for me, was skirts or dresses. While they might not be a big part of your wardrobe now, I think it's totally possible to find ones that will work within your chosen style. I'm thinking t-shirt dresses (I personally wear these with knee boots or Chucks, or sandals in summer). Here's a great take on that, with a fitted jacket.

The thing about dresses (vs. pants) is that they can be fairly form-fitting in the bust/waist, and even around the sides of the hips if you want, and not constrict the crotch at all. If you don't want them tight around your hips, go for an A-line or just slightly looser cut in the skirt.

Best of luck, and I hope you are feeling better soon!
posted by rachaelfaith at 6:38 AM on April 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Cycling jeans (whether bikes or motorcycles) are often made with gusset crotches or offset seams. I don't own any but The Google pulls up a couple brands: Diamond Gusset, Ligne8, Rapha (offset seam), Victor & Liberty (built in chamois)

But bike trousers (with appropriate crotches) for women are hard to find and generally don't remain offered by the company for very long.
posted by crush at 7:48 AM on April 20, 2017

If you are open to considering dresses or skirts, check out maxi skirts or maxi dresses. I have fatter swollen knees and I have started wearing longer skirts to hide them. They are extremely comfortable.
posted by bessiemae at 8:57 AM on April 20, 2017

I have these ponte leggings (thicker than normal leggings, not at all see through) and I love them: Vince Camuto Moto Leggings
They are ridiculously comfortable, feel more like real pants than leggings, but are pull-on. I find them much more structured and roomy than normal leggings. (I think they might hit rachaelfaith's needs too)
posted by rmless at 2:05 PM on April 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

They aren't exactly a "soft" fabric, but I also have some waistband issues, and I recently got a pair of the "treggings" (ridiculous) from H&M and I really like them. They have a similar fit to the pants in your first photo, with the skinny leg, I feel like they look totally badass, and they were only $18 (not on sale!) I love them and am going to get more.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 2:29 PM on April 20, 2017

Uniqlo wide leg pants - especially the drape ones, or any of the drape pants actually. Some of them have elastic waist bands. I have three pairs, it's ruined me for normal pants. Their long pleated skirts are great too.
posted by Sar at 3:16 PM on April 20, 2017

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