pettipants or bloomers or pantaloons or something similar: like divided slips or long-legged underwear. I feel like I've entered the nineteenth century admitting such.
You see, I have this problem where I want to throw on a light skirt or summery dress … but then my inner thighs rub together when I walk. I know I'm not the only one with this problem, but it's hard to find a solution!
Some ideas I've heard to halt the chafe:
- Let me just get this unhelpful one out of the way: Lose weight. Even assuming this was possible or sustainable, it's not a viable solution, because no matter what weight I've been as an adult, my thighs are just built to touch! I honestly didn't realize for many years that some women had thighs that didn't touch when they walked; it didn't seem anatomically possible to me. Secondly, I never think it's a useful idea to dress a body you don't have (even in your mind), when there's a perfectly good body you have that you could dress instead! Everyone deserves to have comfortable, appealing, and functional clothing, regardless of size or body shape.
- Wear pantyhose or tights. This is what I usually resort to, but (a) this is unpleasant and should be unnecessary in warm weather, (b) I have trouble finding tights and hose that fit my height plus weight (they often droop in the crotch, which doesn't help the problem at all!), (c) this does not make me want to wear skirts and dresses (quite the contrary).
- Wear pantyhose with the legs cut off. This was my go-to solution for years, but I still had to wear a slip because otherwise my skirts catch and ride up on the hose fabric, which means the idea of "throwing on" a skirt is nil since I now have a required four layers (counting undies). And as I've said, I've lately had trouble finding hose that fit. All the larger sizes seem to think you want to be as stuffed as a sausage in casing. Control top can go and die a fiery death.
- Wear bike shorts. This also requires wearing a slip over but is an option if you can find some that fit. I used to have a comfortable cotton pair and am not sure where they got to — though they probably don't fit anymore, anyway.
- Wear regular shorts. Too bulky.
- Wear boy-cut panties or boxers. I haven't found any women's styles that don't ride up, rendering them useless for chafing purposes.
- Wear men's boxers or boxer briefs if you can find a size that fits snugly on you. (If you were really petite, you could even try boys' sizes.) I might try this at some point by purloining a pair of Sam's. Men's undies tend to be cheaper than anything specialized I could buy, so there's a plus!
- Wear footless leggings. I endorse this for those who can carry it off. However, in the summer leggings are still hot, and my skirts catch and ride up on them. In the winter, I have to wear shoes (not sandals), and that means I have to wear substantial socks, for I have wuss feet. I don't think that really works with leggings. I can pull off the look with boots (and knee-highs) over leggings, but sometimes I want to wear shoes. UPDATED: Tara adds the idea of shortening a pair of footless leggings for summer wear.
- Wear a thigh-length girdle. I can't stand control-top pantyhose. I think a girdle is out. UPDATED: Organic Patchwork says Spanx are bearable.
- Wear a running skirt (which is actually a skort) underneath. Running skirts (which can serve a double purpose, obviously) are super cute and are a short skirt attached over a pair of tight-fitting bike shorts. I even found one in my closet that I forgot I bought because I figured it wouldn't fit, and I tried it on and it does fit — woo! So I wore it running and was so excited that it would become my clear solution to the chafing-under-skirts problem. Only: no. Because the inseam is short enough that the legs ride up, still, and I was tugging at them the whole run. I've determined if I wear shorts of whatever kind that they need to reach longer than the widest part of my thigh, or there's no way they won't just ride up as I walk or run. (Wait, don't Miss America contestants glue their swimsuits in place to prevent wedgies? Maybe that's what I need!) UPDATED: Anna recommends Skirt Sports and the Happy Girl Skirt ($70) in particular. I actually had been looking at this company a couple months ago and debating whether to order one of their skirts — they look wonderful.
- Rub antiperspirant on your inner thighs. Helps a little because of moisture control but doesn't eliminate the problem. Also troublesome to rub chemically laden product near sensitive areas.
- Use powder. Doesn't last. Also troublesome near lady parts, depending what it's made of. UPDATED: Shae recommends corn flour. Sounds nice and natural! Laura recommends Gold Bond Powder. I've heard good things about that brand in particular.
- Use diaper cream. Works to heal the irritation but not prevent it. UPDATED: Kara in the comments suggests trying lanolin or Aquaphor over adding layers in hot climates.
- Vaseline. Tried this. Ineffective and messy! If anything, it made the stickiness worse.
- Use a commercial anti-chafe product, such as hard-core cyclists and runners use. Haven't tried this but can't buy it this month! Not convinced they'll work as well for thighs, since most of the reviews mention feet (blister prevention) and nipples (for male runners; I just use a bra, yo), and since I had a bad experience with the Vaseline. I worry also about questionable ingredients and that it will rub off on and ruin my clothes. UPDATED: Anna recommends Bodyglide and says she loves it.
Wear Chafe Shield Anti-Chafing Underwear — bwa ha ha ha ha! I seriously can't imagine how uncomfortable and embarrassing I would find these.[Edited: Apparently, everyone agreed, because I can't find them any longer!]
- Then someone online suggested: Try pettipants! And bloomers! So I've been wanting to try some, but I can't decide (a) what fabric to get (slippery nylon? breathable cotton? a mix? and what can I find, anyway?), (b) what length I should choose (my skirts vary in length and include knee-length options, so I'd rather have shorter if possible, but not at the expense of having them ride up and allow continued chafing), and (c) which brand (the reviews of the commercial ones are all over the map, and not everyone is buying them for anti-chafing purposes, which means I have to read the reviews carefully).
The other problem is, I also wear some skorts (scooters?) in the summer months where I'm having the same problem. I guess the inner legs of the shorts are too gappy/flappy or just too short an inseam. I don't know if there's anything I could wear under those that wouldn't show? Or any way I could alter the shorts legs to be more form-fitting?
Since I'm not spending money on the above possibilities, anyone who wants to test drive a solution, go for it and then send me in your report for a follow-up post!
Some options for pettipants I was considering buying:
- Ilusion Cotton/Polyester Lace Pettipant Slip: These ones are a cotton/polyester blend, which might be a good compromise of breathability but slipperiness. These aren't very expensive. They look long, so shorter skirts would be out unless I hemmed a pair. Sizing goes from S through XXL.
- Under Moments Women's Cotton Pettipants Pant Slip: These ones are cotton, which should be breathable, though some reviews say the ones they got were a 50/50 blend. These are affordable. They look knee length in the picture, but reviews said they were shorter in real life so could work even with short skirts. Sizing is a generous S through XXXXL (3X).
- Velrose Snip-it Pettipants (3362): These are nylon, which means at least they should act like a slip under a skirt and not stick to it. Unfortunately, they might ride up on my thighs. I like the snip-it feature where you can cut it to the length you prefer. Plus sizes available (S up to 6X).
- Underworks Woven Cotton Culotte Slips Pettipants 3-Pack: My biggest concern with these is feeling like I belong to a fundamentalist cult. Ok, not really. But they don't scream sexy, huh? And they'd peek out beneath shorter skirts, so hemming would be involved. The description says these are 100% cotton; a review says 97% cotton with 3% spandex. Either way, far more cotton than most other offerings, which should be nice and breathable and could be worn as underpants as well. (With nylon or similar, I'd wear cotton undies underneath.) There's a small lace trim, and many reviews said the (cheap) lace trim on a lot of these was scratchy. What I like the least is they're available in 3-packs for $55, which means I'd really have to commit to them, before even trying them on. Sizing S to 6X.
- Underworks Pettipants Nylon Culotte Slip Bloomers Split Skirt 4-inch Inseam: Nylon. Kind of cute and sassy for once, like something from the Flapper era. I like that the short length would be undetectable under all skirt and might even work under skorts! However, the short length also means they're likely to ride up during wear and therefore expose the parts I'm trying to keep covered. This might be a short-skirt-only buy, with a longer version for other skirts. Inexpensive. Sizing S to XXXX-large.
- Underworks Womens 100% Cotton Cuff Leg Bloomers 3-Pack: These look like they'd be perfect — combed cotton knit, discreet, comfy-looking — but reviews say the inseam is too short and the fabric rides up. I'd love to find something like this, though, that's more snug-fitting than the pettipants. Sizing S to 9X.
- Malco Modes N21 Ruffled Lace Pettipant Bloomers Polyester/Cotton Mid-Thigh Length: Ok, these? Just totally made me laugh, but in a good way. I just love the thought of pretending I'm Scarlett O'Hara underneath it all. I have concerns it would be bulky, however, and that Sam might think I've flipped. 65% poly/35% cotton isn't ideal but is doable. Sizing S to XL only, so I'd have to check the size chart.
- Wickers Performance Underwear - Women's Boxer: Polyester, which is odd, because they look like they should be cotton. However, reviewers claim the synthetic helps wick away sweat, which I could understand from my running wear. I'd still wear cotton undies underneath. Made in the USA. I think this is my favorite commercial option right now, because they look like they'd fit a variety of skirt lengths and be discreet if my skirt flipped up (whereas with the ruffled ones…). A little pricey for one pair of undies but not terrible. Sizing S to XXL. [Edited: I bought these & was pretty happy with them. I don't know why, but both their site and their Amazon listings seem to be currently down for maintenance, but I'll keep this up for when they come back online. I didn't like the tighter band around the bottom and the very unsexy balloon-butt look, and the price was a bit high, but I wore the heck out of them until they wore out then switched to the Danskin shorts and Bandelettes as mentioned below.]
- Skimmies Slipshort: 85% Nylon Microfiber / 12% Spandex / 3% cotton. "A cotton gusset runs down inner thighs to help alleviate chafing and maintain breathability." The reviews sound like this one's perfect, except for one person who says her clothes stick to it like hook-and-loop tape. If that's so, then it's back to slips. I'd like to try it, because otherwise it looks great, except for that review and the price of $20. Sizing S to XXL.
- Danskin Now - Women's Bike Shorts, 2 pack: On the one hand: bike shorts. On the other hand, I've heard good things about the comfort of these since they're cotton jersey. And the price is right, at 2 for $13. Cheapest at Walmart but available at Amazon as well. Sizing S to XXL, and plus sizes also available. [Edited: I bought these & lurve them! The price is definitely right, and in basic black, they're not embarrassing to look at. They don't constrict my rolls, but they do offer a basic smoothing, and I find the cotton jersey breathable enough even in summer weather. And, most importantly, my thighs are happy!]
- Calida Comfort Stretch Cotton Long Leg Panties (26024): These look like pretty much exactly what I want (for longer skirts, at least, and a reviewer says they have a shorter length as well): 95% cotton with what looks like a cotton crotch. But the sizing runs only S through L, and they're $32.
I'm not even going into whether the cotton and other materials are sustainably produced (I highly doubt it) or if the items are manufactured under fair labor conditions (likewise for many, though one at least said it was made in New Hampshire).
Handmade pettipants and bloomersIn that vein, here are some handmade Etsy options, though many are more expensive. (Some are absolutely breathtaking, though!) I've avoided listing any here that are one-of-a-kind in a certain size and am concentrating on items that can be custom sized, because I don't want anyone (including me) to be disappointed.
victorian edwardian women's cotton bloomers — early bloomers: These are precious and would definitely make me feel like I had on something special underneath. Made of sustainable cotton and vintage lace, and custom sewn, so props for all that. The price tag is an ouchy $100.[Edited: Appears the shop is now offline.]
- linen bloomer pant with scalloped ruffle in sand with roses — linenclothing: This looks looser and longer than I'd need, but it sounds like you can convo with the shop owner to customize it. I like the idea of washable linen as a natural, breathable fabric, and they look comfy. You could wear them as lounge pants or out-and-about pants. $110.
Saloon Bloomers — Folk: These I LOVE. I might really have to order these once I can spend money. They're only $32 (I say "only," because the value of handmade clothing is undoubtedly higher), and aren't they fabulous? I love them, love them, love them. They wouldn't hide under short skirts, but I think they'd be adorable peeping out as well! Cotton muslin.[Edited: Appears the shop is now offline.]
- Bloomers — Scoundrelle's Keep: I like the idea of these ones, too, because they'd look cute on the outside as well. They come in fun prints and colors. Plus, they're only $25! My one concern is that they might be too short (and possibly loose) in the inseam to do any good, chafing-wise. (P.S. I like that top, too.)
- Ladies Cream Ruffled Bloomers — mimirob: I like the simplicity of these cotton bloomers, and they're only $25 as well. Does it look like the crotch is too long, or do you think it's fine once it's on? I wish there were a view on a model.
- Yoga Bloomers — Moonseats: These comfortable-looking $25 yoga bloomers look like something I'd never want to take off. I like the cuffs that would keep them a little trimmer on the leg, though I worry the roll-over waistband might be too bulky under a skirt, and the length could be too long. Maybe that can be solved in a custom order, though?
- CUSTOM Victorian Gothic Pantaloons or Bloomers — Joyful by Design: I haven't looked through everything in this store yet, but it looks like she'll custom-make either pantaloons (hanging straight down) or bloomers (drawstring gathers at the cuffs) in black or white cottons, in regular and plus sizes, and with various lengths available. $27.99-$34.99 (this model). A nice touch is her offering of Frugal Frills bloomers with elastic and without lace in sizes S to XL for only $21.99.
Women's Custom sized Ruffled leg Bloomers/Pantaloons — Peanut's Boutique: These look like a great option, too, at $30 for S to 3X (larger sizes available at an additional cost). The cotton comes in a range of vibrant colors.[Edited: Appears the shop is now offline.]
- cream linen bloomers — bloomersandbows: Pretty, 100% linen, $65. "One size fits most" always makes me wary, though. [Edited: Shop is on an extended vacation.]
- Chocolate Brown Bloomers with teal Ruffles and Lace — AuraMatic : Adorbs at $30, and knee-length styles are available for $36.
- Organic cotton bloomers with hip buttons, embroidery and lace detail — THREADBEAThandmade: At $85, these do look really well made. Custom sizes, delightful details, and different dyes available.
- Bloomers Pantaloons Ruffles Capri Black Double Ruffle Knickers — StrumpetsDelight: Available to be made in any fabric or with contrasting ruffles. The size is adjustable. $45. [Edited: The shop is on a break.]
- short white cotton bloomers — Vilicious Clothing: Lots of styles, sizes, and COLORS available! All very steampunk. Made to order in your exact size for $29.50.
elastic waist bloomers, made to order in your choice of colors — littlemisscrow: I like the pretty and the color selection. The price is steep: $88 for XS-XL, with plus sizes at additional cost of fabric.[Edited: There seem to be no bloomers left in the shop.]
- Bitchin' Bloomers — Xochiquetzal Clothing: The photo's from a Flickr user, and it looks like the company doesn't sell bloomers quite as often anymore. Still, they're pretty cute! $28 for the linked Etsy pair in a size S.
UPDATED: Thighsavers — TAV Creations: This came to me via Twitter and looks ideal. Made by Halyma from quick drying stretch nylon, with a mesh crotch and thigh area to keep the thighs from chafing. $20, fits sizes 12-28 and can be custom adjusted for different body shapes.[Edited: I no longer see these on the site.]
Another option is Bandelettes, and I did a review of these thigh-high chafe-reducing bands. Conclusion: Sultry & comfy, and good for even short skirts & shorts! Available at their site or Amazon.
Please see the comments for lots of other great ideas & reviews!
If you can find me something perfect and affordable elsewhere, please link!
Making do or making my ownHowever, since it's a continuing Low-Spend Time for me, I can't buy any of the above just yet. So…my options for the month include:
- Find the least binding pair of hose I have and cut off the legs and suck it up with wearing a slip.
- Continue wearing pants instead. This would be the cheapest and easiest route, though don't you think it would be cool if I could design my own pettipants or bloomers out of material I already have? I have some old sheets that I think would be workable…
- Sew my own pettipants from a pattern. For not a lot of moolah I could buy one like these:
- UPDATED from Katie: Bloomers Pattern — Antipope: Free and customizable to YOU.
Bloomers - 3 Versions — Modest Handmaidens: Pattern includes sizing from a child's small to a women's XL, and it's on sale for $7.37![Edited: Appears to be out of the catalog.] Tights & Leggings — Modest Handmaidens: I could design my own shorter length leggings from this pattern for $12 and some stretchy fabric. (Despite the name of the site, it truly does specify that shortening is okie-dokie: "Can also be made knee or mid-calf for use instead of bloomers." See?)[Edited: Appears to be out of the catalog.]
- Civil War reenactment costume pattern undergarments Simplicity 9769: I have no idea how authentic this is, but who cares if no one will see mine! $10 here, and I wonder if I can still find it or something like it in fabric stores.
— BAM! Here it is, $3.99.
- Butterick 6884 Camisole Pantaloons and Hoop Petticoat Pattern: This doesn't include my size, but it's another pattern option to look for. Besides, who doesn't need another pattern for a hoop skirt? Rather pricey since it's OOP.
- Misses' Early American Costume by McCall's as adapted by knitting iris: $10.17 for an even more old-school-looking pattern. Also includes sunbonnet!
- Misses Drawers, Chemise and Corset — Simplicity: $3.99 and a pretty pattern to have around. I can make a corset if I get ambitious!
Do you have the all-annoying chafing issue? What have you tried to get around it?
Remember, if you can spend a teensy bit (or heaping lot) of money this month or have some items already around the home, I'd love to hear a report of any of the above solutions you try out for a follow-up post!
All other photos are linked to their copyright owners
and credited within the text.