How to: Stop the rotating skirt (& keep shirts tucked in)

Ah, the rotating skirt – who doesn’t love looking down to find that their side zipper has shifted into a “chic” asymmetrical front detail? When asked about a solution last year, I had to think hard because it hasn’t happened to me in a long time. After some analysis, I’ve come up with a few suggestions but would love to hear yours.

1. Tailor your skirts to fit your waist and hips properly
For me, this usually means taking in the waist so that the skirt sits properly at my natural waistline (I define this as where my belly button is). Ever since convincing myself that alteration costs are a fact of life, the rotating skirt problem has nearly disappeared. It only happens now to two skirts of mine – the Ann Taylor one pictured above which I left un-altered to wear lower at my hips (would be too short for work otherwise), and the J.Crew No. 2 pencil skirt which is notoriously rectangular-shaped and needs to be taken in at the waist.

Examining these two skirts that are guilty of rotating, I noticed that they’re cut fairly straight up and down – and therefore, almost perfectly cylindrical when slung low on the hips, and prime for a rotating spree. The skirts that I’ve had tailored to fit properly are noticeably tapered in at the top on both sides, which helps “anchor” them to my waist and hips. Angie of You Look Fab also agrees.

2. Add gripper patches or rubberized elastic
Of course, #1 may not work for everyone as body types differ, and some may prefer low-rise skirts. So another possible solution is adding non-skid agents inside the waistband. I read on a few mens’ forums that it’s not uncommon to have tailors add a “grip strip” inside pants waistbands to help shirts stay tucked in. This sounds like a lovely modern-day substitute for womens’ garter belts (who doesn’t love wearing those to work??), and could also work double duty to prevent shifting skirts. Here’s some options I found for a DIY fix:

Waist Gripper Patches: about $7 including ship for 12, sew-in patches that “keep shirts and blouses from pulling out of slacks or trousers.”
Clear rubberized elastic: $4 including ship for 10 yards. This resembles the clear rubber strips found inside some of my strapless garments and swimwear. It helps them stay put, so why not the same for skirts?
No-slip waistband elastic: $2 + $6.95 ship for 5 yards. “4 lines of rubberized stitching give this elastic its gripping power.”

Since your skirts already have a waistband, I imagine it should only be necessary to stitch in a few small pieces of the elastic for added grip. However, please note that I have not tried any of these products myself. If any sewers can share the proper names for these and more convenient places to purchase, that would be much appreciated! Also, if anyone knows of any stick-on solutions out there (vs. sew-in), that’d be even better!

3. Use safety pins or fashion tape
Temporary fixes include securing the inside of your skirt waistband to undies or a tucked-in blouse, simply using either safety pins or double-sided fashion tape (I have Hollywood brand tape and it works well). However, pins come undone may result in punctured hips (ouch!) and using tape every time is less cost effective. I also want to reiterate not to use regular double-sided tape, as I’ve learned from experience that it may leave behind permanent, sticky residue and damage clothing.

Readers – Please share any of your own solutions for either keeping skirts from turning, or keeping shirts neatly tucked in!
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  1. Anyone ever try beads of hot glue gun wax instead of silicone?

    Posted 4.22.16 Reply
  2. ccape8 wrote:

    You know how some higher-end blouses have those bra strap loops on the shoulders that allow you to snap in your bra strap so they don't fall down? What if we applied that concept to the sides of the skirt? Could make the loops a bit wider to accommodate panty sides. To prevent the spinning skirts. I HATE the spinning skirt. Just a thought.

    Posted 3.5.16 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I hear buying actual (clear) silicone from a hardware store is a great way to get the grip function without having to sew – you just open the tube and apply as dots or as a line. I'm going to try this to help a slippery pencil skirt stay down.

    Posted 8.9.15 Reply
  4. Skirt Grip wrote:

    You should try The skirt grip has grippy technology on both sides so your skirt won't shift, even when wearing spanx!

    Posted 5.1.14 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    I do a little hand stitch. There is more than enough space to take it off over my head. Hope this helps!

    Posted 1.4.14 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the encouragement, I'll give it a try!

    Posted 2.13.13 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    Custom made shirts are the answer.

    Posted 2.9.13 Reply
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    Once you start tailoring you'll never go back. Even inexpensive clothes look so much better, and the cost isn't too bad. My jackets especially look amazing because I have a good tailor. Plus my clothes wear better (and wrinkle less – especially skirts) because I have them cut to fit. It costs me about $40 for a jacket, and about $20-30 for a skirt or pants, depending on what I'm having done. I'll also have sleeves let down on a jacket (or taken up) to get that "just-right" fit. One time I picked up a suit on sale for $60 and spent about that on alterations, but that was 2 years ago, and I still love the suit and get compliments on it. Tailored clothes look much more expensive than just off the rack. It's worth the effort.

    Posted 2.8.13 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    I buy these clear pads that go on the back of the heel of the shoe – and sometimes I add in a padded liner to the shoe as well. I use cheap ones that I buy at Target, but I think a good shoemaker would be able to add things to make your shoes fit better.

    You might also try a slightly lower heel. I know I have a pair of gorgeous nude pumps that I almost always feel like I'm sliding out of, and they are 3" – but I have another pair very similar of black pumps that are 2 1/2" heels and are much easier to walk in.

    Posted 2.8.13 Reply
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    I have a very thin bra that is not very flattering to my bust but is in a nude color and somewhat mashes in "the girls." I have to wear it when I wear my Banana Republic no-iron button down blouses, which I love, but are cut for nearly flat chested women. Choose a neutral bra that is more "flattening" or wear a spanx-like cami that keeps the girls a little flatter. You'll get a smoother line, especially with a suit jacket.

    Posted 2.8.13 Reply
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    I do the same, but I worry about the waistband of my hose showing when I bend over or sit. Sometimes I wear spanx over hose to get a cleaner line, and will tuck into the spanx. This is a big issue with button-down shirts and skirts. Must be a better solution. What do military women do with skirt uniforms?

    Posted 2.8.13 Reply
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Me too! I thought I was weird! But it works great.

    Posted 2.8.13 Reply
  13. Cool tips. I always have a problem of keeping my shirts tucked in. When the shirt is not properly tucked in, it can really look untidy. Now I will look tidy throughout the whole day.

    Posted 2.7.13 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    Thank you! I guess I will just have to start embracing the idea of clothes alterations – historically I always settled for the best available fit, which almost never was good enough. As I grew older, I started to realise that a even started to care. Step 3 to follow – act on your advise. OK, up a size and alterations it is.
    Thanks for the tip.

    Posted 2.6.13 Reply
  15. lorrwill wrote:

    Sounds like a cling problem. I know slips are some kind of weird evil thing from the dark ages, but this is exactly what they are for. Google "half slip" – there are a bunch of different options.

    Otherwise if you have a tailor, bring the problem to their attention and they can suggest a static free lining they could put in for you.

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  16. lorrwill wrote:

    Not stupid! But the skirts that ride up do not have enough fabric at the bottom so they are riding up to where you are smaller. Yes, you need to go up a size and have the waist taken in. Been there, done that, know the drill.

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  17. lorrwill wrote:

    My skirts just started doing this since I lost a little weight. I have a boatload of clear elastic on hand so I will try that before I do major alterations. Thanks for the tips!

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  18. The grip patches sound like a fantastic idea – thanks for sharing these tips!

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  19. I love the elastic-add-in tip at the waist. Prolly easy to do as well. And the velvet tip by another reader. Would love the hear some advice on feet not slipping out of shoes when wearing tights too.

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    I never had the rotation problem and I rarely tuck in as it doesn't look good on my bodytype, however, almost every single skirt I have rides up. Am I so stupid to constantly choose the wrong size/style/fit or is this a common problem?

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    Does anyone have a solution for a skirt that rides up in the middle (between legs) while walking? I only seem to have this problem when wearing tights. It seems that as I walk my leg pushes the skirt material up and in. Its kind of embarrassing and definitely causes my skirt to ride up as I walk.

    Posted 2.5.13 Reply
  22. Cinz wrote:

    WOW…i just happened to stumble upon your blog and i'm so glad i did! I'm petite myself and i know the pain of shopping and styling, lol…I really like your blog and the concept behind it, super useful for petites out there! This post is useful too cuz lets face it,we all hate those moments when we look down and the detailing of our skirts have moved around and about!!!lol

    By the way, you look really pretty:) I was going thru your other previous posts and i love your style, somewhere for me to get styling inspirations from for sure;)I will definitely be checking out your blog again!!:D


    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  23. Giovanna wrote:

    Fun ideas! Love the waistband grippers! I need to try that!


    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote: have a Tailoring ready to wear course that shows you how to do the most common alterations. Definitely sign up and then wait to receive an email with cheaper pricing. The courses are listed at around $48.00 but if you wait they go as low as $14.95 for the same course.


    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  25. Christie wrote:

    These are such lovely advice in not making skirts shift. I am always having a hard time with skirts being fitted!


    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  26. aliami wrote:

    Great tips! Luckily it's not something I have to deal with as yet, but I'm sure once I start wearing more skirts it'll become more of an issue with me. Do you have tips for walking in heels while wearing stockings? It's not that my feet slip out of the shoes, it's just that I feel very 'unstable' as if I'll slide out of my shoes at any moment. I think it has to do with the material of the stocking against the sole of the shoe? Any advice would be much appreciated 🙂

    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    I am rarely inspired to comment on blogs, but yours rises so far above so many others with practical, useful inspiraton. Thank you!

    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  28. caroline wrote:

    My solution, when I'm wearing a skirt that's rotating, is to put it next to my sewing machine when I get home so I remember it needs the waist taken in. Another good thing about taking in a rotating skirt is that it pulls the whole thing up and makes the length better (in most cases).

    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

    Great solution!

    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  30. Carla Krae wrote:

    A blouse fits properly and has properly placed buttons if the button sits between your breasts instead of a button above and button below. Then there's no gap problem. If you like a shirt enough to keep it, then tape is your best option for the gap.

    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  31. good tips—i am always so impressed with how well you articulate these odd little trouble-shoot details and the ideas that you have to help solve them. pencil skirts definitely always go adrift on me and it makes total sense that it is probably a result of not having it fitted correctly at the waistline. my solution is to generally ditch skirts and go with pants though 🙂

    Posted 2.4.13 Reply
  32. Vivien wrote:

    I would love a post on tips to keep your feet inside your heels when you're wearing tights! (like in your photo above) Mine always slip out of my heels (my heels fit well without tights) because the tights are slippery!

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  33. Any suggestions for that annoying gap between buttons of a blouse so that your bra is NOT visible to those standing at your side. Fashion tape? Safety pins? Cami underneath is what I've been doing but sometimes the cami adds bulky layers to a delicate blouse.

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  34. lin wrote:

    great post and great ideas. i'm going to have to try these since my skirts have that problem too.

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  35. Claud wrote:

    Awesome post! I love the bodysuit shirts from Victoria’s Secret. 🙂

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  36. I've been having this problem nonstop since I started work! Love this idea!

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  37. Since my workplace requires panty hose with skirts I have found that tucking in the hem of your shirt into the panty hose and folding it over (so that it does not stick out the top of your skirt) helps keep the shirt in place!

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  38. This is excellent advice! I love your how-to posts with fit solutions.

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  39. Jackie wrote:

    Yay! I've been waiting for this post! I'll have to try the grips. I hate when my skirt rotates…and of course no one ever tells me when the zipper ends up in the front 0_o

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  40. Jackie wrote:

    I do that too!

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  41. I think I may have posted this on another post, but I just sew a strip of velvet on the inside of my waistbands, not only does it keep them from rotating, but also grips slippery fabrics (silk, etc) from coming untucked because it adds some "traction". I guess it's the equivalent of the gripper patches, only more cost effective!

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  42. Lillian wrote:

    Not sure if this is weird, but whenever I wear pantyhose or tights with a skirt, I would tuck my blouse into the tights. The blouse stays put. That is the quick fix I have been using.

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  43. Julia wrote:

    Another problem I have with pencil skirt + silk blouse is that my tucked in blouse edge would come out, especially from the back, after a few hours of having it on (because of the silky material I guess?). Have you thought of any solutions for that?

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  44. Joy wrote:

    Neither thought of those solutions before! Thanks for the post! Will have to do this with my skirts.

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  45. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean – I am new to the blog world. I've been avoiding it for years; however, I came across a photo of one of your old post when I was googling for a piece of jewelry and I have to say that I have been hooked for the past couple of weeks. I am not petite but I love your style! I finally caved and downloaded the bloglovin app on my phone. ;-). Thanks for your originality, can't wait to see more.


    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  46. Great and practical post, thank you Jean! 🙂

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  47. Interesting! I've never heard of waistband grippers either but it sounds like such a simple concept. As for stick-on ones, I wonder if cutting slim strips of those heel-grippers we use for the back of shoes to keep our heels from sliding out would work…not sure if they would be sticky enough to stick to clothes though?


    Posted 2.3.13 Reply
  48. The waist band grippers are genius! I've never heard of such things but am off to go do some research. Great post Jean!

    Posted 2.3.13 Reply

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