There is nothing more annoying than putting on a new pair of pants or shorts for the first time and 10 minutes later feeling them riding up your legs. It looks as awkward as it feels. Pants ride up for various reasons, but thankfully there are several solutions to this problem.
One can stop pants from riding up around your thighs by reinforcing the inner seam with plastic boning. Or keep your pants from riding up by applying silicone caulk to the hem or sewing in an elastic band. To stop pants from riding up when you sit, hitch them up slightly as you bend at the hips and knees.
There are many different ways to keep your pants from riding up. Once you figure out why your pants are misbehaving, you can choose the appropriate method. This article is all about determining why your pants are riding up and what you can do to stop them.
The Problem Of Pants Riding Up
It can be really embarrassing when you are out in public and constantly have to keep pulling your pants down because they are riding up uncomfortably.
There is also the issue of pants riding up your legs as you sit down. Your pants can look perfect on you when standing up, but as soon as you bend down to be seated, the length shrinks.
Worry not. There are solutions to these problems. But first, you need to know the root cause of the issue.
Why Do Pants Ride Up?
There are many different reasons that pants ride up. Remember that your body is not the problem here, and getting your clothing to fit properly for your comfort and style is nothing to be ashamed of.
When you are shopping for pants, try not to focus too much on the number. Buy garments based on how they fit your body, not the size.
Wrong Size & Fit
Finding the correct size and fit are key to keeping pants from riding up or looking awkward as we move. If pants are on the small side, they may ride up as you walk, but pants that are too large may also ride up and bunch at the crotch.
If the rise of your pants – the distance between the top of the waistband and the crotch seam between your legs – is too short, it causes pants to ride up, creating the dreaded wedgie.
Range Of Motion
Our bodies are generally a lot more flexible than the fabrics that pants are made from. Our range of motion is greater than that of our pants. This is one of the main reasons why pants tend to ride up when you sit down.
Have you ever noticed how men wearing suits will gently tug on their pants as they sit? There is a method to this seemingly insignificant action.
Pants are fitted to be the right length when we stand or walk, but when we sit, they get a bit shorter. This is because bending the fabric at the hips and knees takes up some of the pant’s length.
Hitching up your pants slightly as you sit creates space so that your body can bend properly. This keeps pants from riding up uncomfortably when we sit down.
Most pants are designed in the same way – the waist measures a little less than the hips. However, as you probably already know, humans are not all designed the same!
Some people’s hips are wider than their waist, others have an equal waist and hip measurement, while others have narrower hips than the waist. In these cases, people’s pants tend to ride up or bunch around the crotch area.
When it comes to shorts, the problem of riding up is very common. If your thighs touch when you walk, there is a good chance your shorts will ride up between your legs, especially shorts that are on the shorter side.
If you’re interested in some methods to keep your shorts from riding up, I wrote a dedicated guide you can check out.
Loose Shorts That Are Meant To Be Tight
Running shorts that are designed to fit your body tightly are not supposed to ride up. However, if the elastane in the fabric gets stretched out with wear, the shorts get looser and are more likely to ride up your legs.
Fabric Sticks To Your Skin
Certain fabrics cling to our skin when we perspire a little, or they get statically charged. This causes pants to ride up and bunch around the crotch. The usual offenders are polyester and acrylic fabrics, but natural textiles like rayon can also do this.
The Right Fit Is Key To Keeping Pants From Riding Up
When it comes to the issue of pants riding up, the best solution is to buy pants that fit your body well. It may be a bit late for this solution if you have already purchased and started wearing the pants, but at least you know for the future!
Look for pants that are slightly longer and looser but fit your waist and hips properly. This will prevent the problem of riding up. You can always buy one size bigger than you need and have the pants tailored to fit you perfectly.
Shorts that have a longer length and inner seam (around 4 inches) are far less likely to ride up than shorts with a short inner seam (around 2 inches). If you struggle with your shorts riding up as you walk, consider a longer style, like Bermuda or boyfriend shorts (Amazon paid links).
Running shorts are notorious for rolling or riding up the legs. The key to making sure your running shorts behave themselves is to get a pair that are as tight-fitting as possible while still being comfortable and practical for you.
My article on how to keep your pants from falling down may interest you too.
Some Fabrics Are More Prone To Riding Up
Certain textiles are more likely to cause the problem of riding up. Thinner, more flowy fabrics are notorious for causing pants to ride up.
If you have a problem with pants riding up, avoid acrylic, polycotton blends, and silk or satin.
More rigid, breathable fabrics, like linen, canvas, cotton, and denim, are far better at not riding up.
The stretch of the fabric is also something to consider. Stretchy pants or shorts are less likely to ride up than ones that are not stretchy. When it comes to running shorts, the stretchier, the better. Stretchy denim shorts are a great choice.
Stop Pants From Riding Up As You Walk
It is impossible to feel 100% confident in a great pair of pants if they are constantly riding up. Nobody wants to be fixing a wedgie in public every 5 minutes.
Thankfully, there are many different tips and tricks to keep pants from riding up and looking weird:
- Folding the ends over. This simple solution does not require any sewing, and it may just do the trick if you are struggling with your pants riding up. The fold reinforces the hem, making it more rigid and less likely to ride up.
- Apply polyester boning. Plastic boning is designed to be sewed in or ironed onto fabric. By applying it to the inner seam of your pants, you make the legs of the pants stay straight, preventing them from riding up uncomfortably. Polyester boning is available in a range of lengths from 2 to 5 inches, and they are very cheap to buy, usually between 5 and 10 dollars.
- Sew in elastic bands. If your pants have a tight fit around your thigh, you can sew elastic into the hems to make them tighter help them hold onto your legs a bit better. If your thighs are thin and your running pants legs are too loose, this is a very effective trick.
- Silicone caulk around the inner hem. Clear silicone caulk is a little rubbery and tacky when it dries. Applying it to the inner hems of your pants will prevent the issue of riding up because the pants will grip onto your thighs. This trick is super cheap – silicone caulk only costs around $5 – and it is very quick and easy to do. Work in a well-ventilated space when you apply the caulk, as it releases some stinky fumes. Allow the silicone caulk to dry thoroughly before you wear your pants. Otherwise, your skin might get irritated.
- Hairspray on your thighs. Another way to make pants grip onto your thighs better is by spraying hairspray on your legs. Many women who play volleyball use this trick to keep their pants from riding up.
- Buy a bigger size and have them tailored. This is not really a quick fix if your pants are riding up, but if you really want your pants to fit the way you want, you should go to the effort of having them tailored. A professional will know exactly what they need to adjust in order to stop your pants from riding up.
Stop Pants From Riding Up When You Sit
The most common trick to stopping your pants from riding up high when you sit is pulling them up just a little as you sit. The small tug will keep the pants from feeling like they are a lot shorter when you sit down.
For women, it is a great idea to wear pantyhose underpants that are prone to riding up. They reduce the friction of your skin against the fabric, so they will help pants not to ride up when you sit down.
Wearing the right type of underwear is also a must. Cotton underwear, while comfortable and breathable, are very likely to cause your pants to rise up when you sit. Smoother, silkier feeling undies are much better as they allow the pants material to move as you sit.
Not only is the fabric of underwear important, but so is the cut. Longer-length boxer briefs help to prevent pants from riding up when you sit.
I also wrote a guide specifically on how to stop underwear from riding up. Check it out next.
Have Pants Tailored To Prevent Them From Riding Up
The most reliable way to fix the problem of pants rising up is by visiting a good tailor. Someone who understands how clothes are designed to fit and move with your body will be able to alter your pants so that they do not ride up as your walk or sit.
The length and depth of the crotch have a massive influence on how pants fit you when you are seated. If the measurement is too short, the pants legs will rise up to accommodate your behind. If the measurement is too long, the fabric will ride up and bunch around the leg crease above your thighs when you sit.
Another factor that is very important is the rise of the pants. If the rise is too long, the pants will not only be uncomfortable to wear, but they will look strange, and the extra fabric will bunch in front of your crotch.
If the rise is too short, your pants will almost certainly ride up, and you may even get a wedgie, or worse, the dreaded camel toe!
Remember, tailors can always shorten, but it is much more difficult to add length. It is advisable to buy a slightly larger size and have them altered to fit you right.
Buy pants that fit you well at the hips. It doesn’t matter if the waist is too loose. It is very easy to take in.
When visiting the tailor, take them the pair of pants you want to have altered, as well as a pair of pants that fit you well and don’t ride up when you wear them. If you turn both pairs inside-out and push one leg into the other one, you can flatten both pairs and see the differences in the crotch measurements.
This will give the tailor a clear idea of how they need to adjust the pants for you.
If you struggle with pants riding up as you walk or sit, there is always a solution to the problem. If you cannot overcome it with a quick fix like folding the hem over, applying plastic boning, or some silicone caulk, you can always take them to a tailor and have the pants adjusted to your body shape.
Worrying about bunched-up fabric at your crotch or pants legs shooting up your legs when you sit can be a thing of the past!
I have also created a comprehensive guide on stopping all your clothes from riding up that may interest you to read next.
I’m an expert organizer and a big laundry enthusiast. I’ve created this website and Organizing TV on YouTube to share practical guides about some of my favorite subjects; making clothes fit well, doing laundry and folding clothes effectively, and organizing wardrobes with a focus on saving space since I live in a home with limited space myself. You can learn more about me here.