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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