Reader H e-mailed me this request:
I’m writing to you today because I am FED UP with a fashion problem that has been plaguing me for years: tights. Pantyhose are The Devil, but I love skirts and I love wearing them in the winter, so tights are a necessity. I know that you’ve already covered your own struggles with the dreaded segmented worm syndrome, and the ways you’ve worked around it, but I still haven’t found a solution that works for me.
I’m 5’6″ and don’t have much waist definition. I usually take a 12 in pants and almost always opt for low rise styles since it’s easier to fit my hips than my [non]waist. I’m also extremely sensitive about anything being too tight around my mid-section. I have never found a pair of “regular” tights that don’t cut me in half. Painfully. I have on multiple occasions, examined size charts for specific brands/styles and bought one pair in the size that I “should” wear according to my height and weight, and one pair in the size recommended for a woman of the same height who is 50 to 100 pounds heavier than I am. I swear to God that the waistband is always exactly the same! Even across brands! It’s so baffling; why does every pair of tights in the world have that same evil strangulation waist? I’ve been 35 pounds thinner than I am now and even then I couldn’t find tights that didn’t make me insane.
Here are some solutions I have tried:
- Size up by at least 50 pounds (height held constant) – Waistband doesn’t get any bigger
- Go to plus size retailers and buy from the lower end of their size range – Same damn waistband!
- Try to buy “low rise” tights – Very hard to find. The last ones I did made me a segmented worm at my waist instead of my hips; it was a muffintop of epic proportions!
- Go to fancy department stores and ask the hosiery ladies if the know any brands with generous waists – They don’t. Also they apparently think I am crazy.
- Try thigh highs (with and without garter belt) – Realize that they are useless outside of bedroom dress-up.
- Cut slits in waistband – Spend all day trying to keep tights up.
- Try to buy high waist tights that aren’t control top [I hate control top and shape wear on principle] – Can’t seem to find any.
- Buy high waist tights that are control top but size up so that I’m not being strangled. This has been the closest to successful but still kind of sucks. I bought a pair by Assets and a pair by Hanes (both from Target). They were so much better than being strangled in the waist, but I basically had to get naked every time I needed to pee. (I was wearing a form-fitting dress and had to tuck the tights into my bra to keep them up.) In my two tests, the cheap Hanes were actually a lot better than the Assets.
I would greatly appreciate any advice that you can give. There must be someone out there who sizes tights according to waist measurement, right? I can’t be completely crazy in thinking that that would be a good idea, can I?
H tried just about every trick in my arsenal and a few I hadn’t thought of! For many of you, trying one or two of her eight techniques might alleviate pinching, bunching, and Segmented Worm Syndrome. But here are a few other possible suggestions:
- Commando brand tights: Expensive, but designed to not-dig. These feature a tall, flat raw-cut waistband that is mean to sit above your natural waist. I’ve got a pair and love them. Though the waist will occasionally roll a bit, it’s far comfier than most elasticized bands.
- Tall tights: This could totally backfire since they’ve got additional leg length, but they’ll also have a higher rise minus the shapewear aspect.
- Maternity tights: Could also be disastrous as there might be bagging around your midsection, but they probably won’t be as constricting as standard tights
- Express tights: These are a longtime fave of mine. They’re still a little squeezy, but NOTHING like most brands.
As you’ve probably gleaned, I’ve only sampled two of these four myself so I can’t guarantee results. But even if I had tried all four, it’d be relatively meaningless since all bodies and comfort levels are different. So consider these possible solutions, and do a bit of experimenting on your own!
- Toasty Legs: Recommendations for Warm Tights – focuses on warmth, but I find these brands to be comfy and less confining at the waist
- Insomniac Sale Picks: Quality Leggings – Since H mentioned leggings in passing, I’m throwing this on the fire, too. I size up in leggings to an L or XL. Also see comments here for other brands.
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Originally posted 2013-02-15 06:08:49.