Friday, September 14, 2012

No-chafing options for skirts: The pettipants search begins

Pantaloons!

I want to buy 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.
  • 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:

  • Classic Soft Cotton Pettipants: These ones are 50-50 cotton/polyester, 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.
  • 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.) I like that there's no lace, since 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 bloomers

In 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.


If you can find me something perfect and affordable elsewhere, please link!

Making do or making my own

However, 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:

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 photos are linked to their copyright owners
and credited within the text.

28 comments:

Jenna said...

Thank you for addressing this. I've struggled with it my while life. Like you, no matter what size I've been, my thighs touch. I have been at a loss for options and settle for not wearing skirts when its hot and ill be outside a lot. :( I just might be investing in some of the options you propose. You're awesome. Thanks!

organicpatchwork said...

I use Spanx. I was worried at first that my legs would get too hot and sweaty, but they've been fine, even on the hottest, most humid days.

Kara said...

I'd try lanolin or aquaphor. In Texas another clothing layer isn't an option for me! When I run I wear compression shorts under my running shorts to alleviate the problem. You can find them in a variety of materials and lengths. I am sweating just looking at all these undergarments!!

Laura said...

Gold bond powder. I used it when I had a skin infection and now I am in looooove. I feel cool and dry and smell like a boys locker room BUT- cool and dry, I tell ya!

Tara said...

Oh wow, some of those handmade bloomers are gorgeous. I want a pair now!

I also have this problem. I just cut off a pair of footless leggings...same as wearing bike shorts I guess!

anna @ melodic mockingbirds said...

I also have the same problem, even when a size 6, my thighs rub together!

2 other suggestions just in case you are interested...

- in terms of commercial anti chafe product, I love "Bodyglide" - I've used it running for years. And always on my thighs, although sometimes feet too, and neck, to stop wetsuit rub. I'm not sure about the ingredients, so you may not like it, but thought I'd get a name out there.

- If you are interested in running skirts that don't ride up, have a look at Skirt Sports. www.skirtsports.com. It's owned and run by an amazing woman based in Colorado, and I love their stuff. I have two running skirts, a shorter one and then their longest ("Happy Girl Skirt") and I haven't had any problem with either riding up, although the short one isn't as good as preventing chafing as the long one.

I have no experience with pettipants, but I hope your search is successful!!

Fresh and Feisty said...

I use the bike short type of deals. I also ride my bike to work so it works pretty well for me. I use the Champion brand. Found my first pair at Goodwill. Sorry, not too helpful!

Colleen said...

A friend calls it "chub rub" and I'm taking notes from your post and the comments.
Oh to be twelve years old again when this wasn't a problem.

Carrie said...

I love all of your Etsy finds! I didn't know there were commercial options. It's funny, I actually have a pair of the strumpets delight bloomers which I bought on sale as part-lounge pants, part-sleep shorts, and part-pirate costume and I love them! I do wish they had a longer rise but they don't chafe. It's funny because I never thought about wearing them under skirts! I usually either wear bike shorts or just skirts on days I'm not walking much. Great post!

Katie said...

Say it with me: it's NORMAL for our thighs to touch!

I tweeted this link to you, but it bears repeating: no need to buy a pattern when you can draft one in 10 minutes http://www.antipope.org/feorag/gosurori/bloomers-pattern.pdf Then they're your ideal length, open or closed, your preferred fabric, etc.

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

bike shorts for hot days or leggings for cold days are the only thing that work for me so far. I was so frustrated to find the other day that my brand new maternity leggings I've only worn twice already have pilling on the thighs. sigh.
when I used to run cross-country, I used to have a basically permanent assortment of scabs on my inner-thighs in September and October, because even at 125lbs running 40miles/week I just am a shape that includes rubbing-together-thighs. It was pretty painful. I'm a little surprised it never turned to a callus, lol.

Inder-ific said...

As soon as I saw the title of your post, I was like, "Oh, that would be so easy to sew!" And it seems like a light cotton lawn would be SO much more comfortable on a hot day than bike shorts, which are tight and hot. Also, better for the lady parts. Those Victorians knew what they were doing. :-)

alisha323 said...

I have the first pair you linked from Amazon. They work with knee length skirts. They are a little shorter than they appear on the model, but mine didn't ride up.

Janine said...

Bloomers are so cute! I especially love the first Victorian ones shown in this post - Too bad those are $100!

My legs rub together too, although I guess it doesn't bother me too much. I also don't walk around in skirts often. My thighs touched back when I was 115 pounds - Some people's legs are just designed to touch. I actually think it looks a little strange when someone's thighs don't touch. Makes them loo bow-legged or something.

Amy Rhime said...

I love that you wrote this article, Lauren! As you know, I have this trouble too, and I'm determined to find viable solutions so that I can wear dresses and skirts more often. (Aside from the chafing issue) I find them more comfortable than most pants, and I'm coming to realize that life is too short to be uncomfortable in my clothes all the time!

I think I'm going to try the men's boxer brief option first, then move on to making my own pettipants. Loving all the cute Etsy finds you came up with!

mamapoekie said...

I have this too! I used to wear jersey shorts under skirts, or mens boxers, but as Ì've gotten a bit heavier after the babe, they ride up, so now I just don't wear dresses or skirts when I know I'll be walking! I once went out not thinking i'd go for a walk, walked for two hours and was literally bleeding!!
Now I want those cute expensive ones :( ... to the sewing machine!

Vicky Charles said...

Thank you! This is the first time I've seen this issue addressed; I thought I was the only one! In the UK we have a product called HPA Lanolin, made by Lansinoh - no idea if you can get it in the US though. It's made for sore nipples when breastfeeding, but it's AMAZING MAGICAL MIRACLE CREAM and I've yet to find anything it can't help with. It's Autumn here now, but I'll be experimenting with it next Summer...

ATML said...

The Candida cotton option is good, I have some... Get the long ones though, the short ones ride up. You could also look at undersummers.... Made for this exact issue, but pricey. Finding the candida ones changed my life & wardrobe!

Mrs.WJAA said...

I know this is an older post, but I just found these and thought of this post..

Snip-A-Length Pettipants in Plus Sizes
Style 8495 (20-22-24 inch)
Color: White
Size - fits hips: 1x 45-47" / 2x 48-50" / 3x 51-53"
Price $12.99 / 3 for 34.99

http://www.underworks.com/pettipants/

Didn't know if you'd found the perfect match yet :)

CarrieRae Adorna said...

Ladies I made a solution to your problem...The Anti-Chafe Shortlette. Please visit my website at www.carrierae.com to see the very cute and ultra comfy Shortlettes that I created!

David Wogen said...

My fiance wears the Illusion cotton pettipants under her skirts (she only wears skirts.) They are comfy and cool and sometimes, when she rides her bike or it's windy, I get a peek at the pretty lace hems! (I know, I'm living in the wrong century.)

Freolla Co said...

Hello, I would like to suggest new product for chafing problem - Bandelettes. lace stretchy non slip thigh bands - they protect skin from chafing and look sexy. Non slip silicone prevent bands from slipping and moving.
please check our website: www.bandelettes.com and our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bandelettes/499841066695305

kim said...

I own two pair of the cotton petticoats that are after your list. $8. on amazon. I LOVE them. They are a bit long with some of my around knee length dresses and skirts but anything below the knee and they are perfect. I am between a size 6 & 8 and my thighs touch. We live in S. E. Asia so HOT weather is almost a constant. I wanted them more to keep my legs from sticking together than from chaffing. They definitely solved my problem so they may help with chaffing as well. I am considering buying more and just shortening them, a lot less trouble than making the whole thing (here anyway).

Stormfeather said...

I wear cotton/lycra bike shorts when it's a clingy dress and fancy bloomers with ruffles with a full skirt.

Make your own bloomers by cutting off linen drawstring pants from a thrift store and adding elastic and ruffles- easy peasy. Some even have pockets!

Other than that there are plenty of patterns and ETSY bloomer makers. I can personally recommend both "Strumpets Delight" AND "Seams Unusual" -- both from the Portland Oregon area.

If you buy cotton, make sure you get quality cotton made for for clothing- not quilt fabric (not as sturdy) and will wear out quickly where your thighs meet!

Cherries Jubilee said...

I too have always had this problem, even when I was a size 6. I also wear skirts almost exclusively. For cycling, I wear bike shorts under my skirts, no slip. I make bloomers out of cotton sheeting and old linens. I can wear these as underwear or as outerwear.

The simplicity pattern is for split drawers. They are flat fronted with a drawstring back, but it is easy to sew up the crotch and put elastic in the back. I use it all the time because it isn't bulky.

Last month I indulged and bought a pair of silk pantaloons off ebay for $30. Love them, but I hesitate to wear them for riding. They are soft, they breathe and they are long enough to stop chafing.

Amy Requier said...

I googled "how to keep thighs from rubbing tonight for new ideas aside from my spanx type bike shorts I always wear with skirts/dresses, and now I wonder how I never thought of making petti pants!? The bike shorts do the job of keeping chafing away (and from flashing people while playing with small kids) but sure get sweaty in the summer. I went for a long walk/bus ride around town with my kids last week and forgot to put them on under my skirt and was so uncomfortable for a few days! Now I'll whip up a few pairs of these and hopefully things will be breezy, lol!

Amy Requier said...

I googled "how to keep thighs from rubbing tonight for new ideas aside from my spanx type bike shorts I always wear with skirts/dresses, and now I wonder how I never thought of making petti pants!? The bike shorts do the job of keeping chafing away (and from flashing people while playing with small kids) but sure get sweaty in the summer. I went for a long walk/bus ride around town with my kids last week and forgot to put them on under my skirt and was so uncomfortable for a few days! Now I'll whip up a few pairs of these and hopefully things will be breezy, lol!

CarrieRae Adorna said...

Undersummers shortlettes are panty shorts to wear under dresses and skirts. They are super comfy, don't ride up, and most importantly provide antichafe protection. They come in regular and petite lengths and two styles, with or with our lace. Available at www.undersummers.com.

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