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 flat 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 fast becoming my faves. 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.
Do virtually all tights squeeze your midsection, no matter the size or brand? Have you tried either brand mentioned here? Think tall or maternity tights might help? Do tell!
Image via Madame Noir.
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