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How To STOP Shorts From Riding Up (Permanently)

Shorts look cute when you are posing in front of the mirror and seem like a practical choice. But once you start moving, they start creeping into cracks and crevices that make them uncomfortable. Then they begin to rub that part, gape there, and bunch up. It’s all kinds of aggravating. So, how do you keep shorts staying where they belong?  

You can prevent shorts from riding up by adding polyester boning. Other tricks include using fabric or cornstarch paste, silicon caulk, adding elastic to the ends, or spraying your thighs with hairspray. When buying shorts, look for longer styles or select a size up and tailor them. 

Your weight often isn’t the reason for shorts riding up. Bodies have shape, regardless of their size, and shorts are not always made with materials that glide and flex over the curves. Also, the hems of shorts are lighter than a pants’ leg, making them more likely to defy gravity. Thus, we’re looking at ways to hack the problem that don’t involve diet and toning. 

7 Tips To Keep Shorts From Riding Up

shorts bunching up on the inside of the thighs
Shorts bunching up can be both annoying and embarrassing.

Having some DIY skills is an advantage when it comes to preventing shorts from creeping north. Also, one hack that might work on a pair of boyfriend shorts might be useless on a pair of mini yoga shorts. However, some fabrics and styles are harder to fix, no matter what you do. In these cases, it is either put up with it or give them away.  

Polyester Boning

Adding polyester boning to the inner seam of your shorts will keep the “leg” straight. These are not the whalebone or metal stays of bodices of yesteryear. This is a softer option with greater flexibility. Even so, ensure they are enclosed by a soft fabric to prevent chafing.

There are even boning options specifically made for shorts called NoRiders (Amazon paid link). These pre-covered stays come in iron-on, self-adhesive, and sew-in, along with a variety of sizes so you can purchase what works best for your skillset, fabric, and style. (Caution, some synthetic materials will melt if ironed.) 

You can also try using a flexible boning into the hem to add weight to the “leg.” This will be more comfortable in some styles of shorts than having a ridged seam in your inner thigh. However, in others, it will create rubbing. Experiment by pinning or taping first before committing. 

Paste

Applying some cornstarch into a paste or a fabric adhesive or paste to the inside hem of your shorts can add weight to your shorts to prevent them from riding up. In some tighter styles, like mini yoga and bicycle-style, this will also add grip.

For some, this works a treat. For others, it will be scratchy and an uncomfortable solution. 

Silicon

Silicon sealant, used in kitchens and bathrooms, can be a more comfortable option than paste for some people. You put it on the inside hem for grip or to add weight and stiffness. Some also try it on the inside seam, but this could cause chafing.

The stuff stinks when wet, so this is a great job to do outdoors or with the windows open. Also, make sure it is one hundred percent dry before putting the shorts on. Damp silicon can irritate the skin. 

Elastic

Sewing elastic on the hems can help prevent shorts from riding up. This can be done in two ways. First, use it as elastic is meant to be used, making the leg hole smaller. This can be great for people with very thin legs, especially when it comes to running shorts. However, it can also create a pantaloon effect, which not everyone desires.

The other option is to attach the elastic in the inside hem without stretch, so the hem doesn’t gather “in.” This won’t make them tighter but will add weight to the hem. If you can’t sew, consider something like Secure Stitch, which is essentially a fabric glue. 

Garment Weights

Garment weights were initially designed for dresses and outdoor tablecloths. They help prevent the fabric from flying up in the breeze. But they’ll add weight to shorts, too. However, this is a hack that works better on looser styles. They are also a bit bulky, so they might not suit some thigh shapes. 

Hemming Or Rolling

Rolling the ends of your shorts or hemming them up a few rolls can add bulk to the hem, thus keeping shorts weighted down. The issue with rolling is that you might have to roll it repeatedly, just like you are yanking the leg down every 5 minutes. This is why hemming or stitching the rolls on the inner thighs and the outer hem can help.

If there is no way you are touching a needle and thread, fabric glues and adhesive tapes can do the job with no sewing required.

This option looks adorable on some shorts. On others, however, it can look all kinds of wrong. 

3 Clever Ways to ROLL UP Pant Legs: Cuff, pin roll, and fast
Here’s a video I did on rolling up pants, a lot of the same principles apply for shorts as well.

Hairspray

Hair spraying your thighs is one of those hacks that work for some and make others want to scream and rush for the nearest shower. This works best for tighter styles of shorts, such as spandex or mini yoga shorts.

Also, some people actually hairspray the shorts to make them stiffer. Again, this will work a treat for some and make others want to burn their stiff shorts. It really depends on the style and your comfort level. 

I also have a guide on keeping your shirts from riding up that may interest you.

7 Tips To Buying Shorts That Won’t Ride Up

Understandably, you want to fix the shorts you own so they won’t ride up. But if you are buying new, why purchase another problematic pair? These seven tips will help you cut down on the great northern creep.  

Move Around While in the Testing Room

When trying on shorts in the dressing room, it is common to just look in the mirrors and asses how cute you look. Which is valid. However, that isn’t a good reflection of how the garment will move with you.

Think about what you intend to be doing in the pair of shorts. Are they for casual days at the office? Then do lots of sitting and standing up.

Are you going to do lots of jogging and walking in these shorts? Then do a bit of both activities in part of the shop.

Are you going to be using these shorts at the gym? Then squat, kick, lunge, reach for the stars, do a jig, and make sure that the pair fits. 

Look for the Right Fabric

Thinner fabrics with no stretch are most likely to ride up. Thicker fabrics with some stretch are more likely to hold their shape. 

Thus, watch out when buying baggy athletic shorts, as many are thin and without any stretch. In fashion, watch out for fabrics like linen, which will just wrinkle and bunch. Denim and spandex cotton blends are more likely to keep their shape.

a pair of chino shorts that contains no stretch
Here’s a classic example of a pair of chino shorts with zero percent stretch that won’t ride up much at all.

Length Is Important to Consider

Short shorts are often in style and can be fun to take selfies in. However, they are also more likely to ride into areas where your shorts are not welcome. Bermuda-length shorts that fall right above the knee are more likely to stay where they belong. 

Short Styles Play a Big Role

Some styles are more likely to stay in place than others. Flowy styles or boyfriend shorts are often a good bet. So are denim Bermuda with a bit of stretch. 

Bring a Belt

Some shorts do better when they are belted in. If you want to do this, try a belt on in the dressing room before buying and make sure it will be comfortable to wear. 

Size Up When Buying Shorts

Sometimes buying a size up fixes the problem. Sure, you lose some contour to the cute curves by going bigger. But if you are comfortable and they don’t slide south, then you might be happier with a little extra space. 

Size Up & Tailor The Shorts

Having your clothes tailored is the best way to get an excellent fit. Even better is learning how to tailor your own clothes. But however you get it done, tailoring can help ensure your shorts fit you the way you want them to.

In general, you need to buy whatever you want to tailor, be it shorts, jacket, shirt, or dress, a size up. This will give the person doing the tailoring enough fabric to make darts, add seams, or hem. 

Some people are a whole range of sizes in one body. The thighs, the hips, the belly, the waist: they all need a different size. You need to buy the clothing in the largest size your body requires. You can bring in a waist; you can’t let it out for the hips.

However, it might be wiser to go up a size from the largest size necessary, depending on the style. If you are uncertain, keep the tags on the item and consult a person that is knowledgeable about tailoring about which size will be best to work with for your body.

Also, some clothes and fabrics are seamless or challenging to hem. Again, when in doubt, keep the tags on and consult before getting out any scissors.

I also wrote a guide on stopping your pants from riding up that may interest you.

4 Tips To Fix Other Irritating Shorts Problems

Let’s be honest, shorts riding up is only one of the many issues with shorts. Sure, we could give up and switch over to skirts. But there are some activities where that could be incredibly awkward. Thus, we’re tackling four common irritating problems with shorts.  

How to Avoid Schafing When Wearing Shorts

Chaffing has long been solved by deodorant and talcum powder. But not everyone is comfortable with those options these days. Also, while there are anti-chafing underwear shorts you can buy, you sometimes want a cooler option on hot-humid days.

Thus, there are now many anti-chafing gels and sticks on the market you can use. 

How to Avoid Underwear Lines When Wearing Shorts

Yes, yes, if you are buying tight-fitting clothing, it should be a thick fabric, so your underwear lines are hidden. That’s all well and good in the land of hindsight but unhelpful in the here and now.

The trick is to find laser-cut, seamless undergarments that suit your skin tone. 

Learn to fold your shorts here.

Tight Waisted Shorts

We know we shouldn’t buy shorts that are too small at the waist. But sometimes things happen, like a pandemic, and our bodies change. Thus, if your shorts are too tight, there are a few things you can try.

If they are elastic waisted, you can open the inside of the band and snip the elastic. If that makes them too big, just add an inch or so of new elastic to achieve the correct fit.

If they have a button, find a hair elastic that is a similar color to your shorts. Loop it over the button, thread it through the hole, and loop it back over the button.  

Shorts Becoming Too Big By Evening

A pair of shorts that fits perfectly at the start of the day might be ready to meet your ankles by dinner. This is annoying and, unfortunately, not something you’ll discover in the changing rooms. Nor is the suggestion of stretchy spandex blends always the answer. Some of these lose shape throughout the day, too.

Using a belt helps with the problem of them heading south at the end of the day.

They will also tend to regain shape by washing them.

You can try to make this a more permanent fix by tossing them in the dryer. However, this might only make them permanently shorter and not actually solve the widening waist issue.

If they are button shorts, you can try adding a second button. Then, when the shorts increase in girth, you slip the buttonhole over to the tighter setting. 

Conclusion

It is irritating when shorts don’t fit right. Ideally, you want to be choosier when buying shorts, paying close attention to fabric and how the garment moves with you, and learn how to tailor your clothing. However, minor DIY fixes such as adding boning can improve the shorts you already own. 

I have also created a comprehensive guide on stopping all your clothes from riding up that may interest you to read next.

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