Skirt season is chafing season. What’s a meaty girl to do?

Skirt season is chafing season. What’s a meaty girl to do? April 10, 2015

One year, deep in the throes of some emotional complex about femininity, I wore dresses all summer. At the time, I had no car, and walked several miles a day. At the time, I also had (and still have) a rather meaty physique.  That, plus heat and humidity, plus all the walking, equaled one of the most foul, painful chronic rashes I have ever seen or suffered. Just horrible.

But they are making such nice dresses these days! What to do?  I was so pleased to discover that I’m not some kind of extra-damp freak of nature, and that lots of women have a hard time dealing with thigh chafing under those pretty skirts that everyone claims are so light and airy.

Here are a few solutions people have recommended.  I haven’t bought anything yet, so I can’t personally vouch for any of these products, but they look promising. Note: these aren’t supposed to make you look skinnier — they’re just for cutting down on chafing.


Here’s the most minimal. It comes in lace, but I’m leaning toward the plain ones: Bandalettes – about $12-$16



Most reviewers say they don’t slip around. This looks like the lightest option, as long as that thigh spot is the only spot that gets chafed.

Lots of VERY VERY BEAUTIFUL WOMEN manage to chafe in other spots, too, though. For that situation,


Skimmies seem popular. About $20,  These are actual underwear — again, not for tummy control, but to prevent chafing. The waist sits just on or below the belly button.  Here is a version with moisture-wicking fabric, for those of us flowers who are extra dewey:

skimmies 2

A few commenters complained that, while these stay in place well, the crotch isn’t ventilated well enough. If you’re prone to yeastie beasties, this might not be a good option.


Vermont Country Store offers mid-thigh cotton panties, about $23 -$27

vermont cotton panties

which would be more breathable, but probably won’t stay in place as well as the ones with lycra and such.  They appear to hit higher on the waist.


Mainly because I’m a sucker for a clever name, here’s a company called Thigh Society (ha!), which sells nothing but anti-chafing panty shorts:

thigh society

They are $39 and are currently not in my size, which is “shut up I just had a baby,” but they look promising.


One more option: Undersummers Shortlettes slip shorts, about $32:


These appeal to me mainly because the model looks like she only does sit ups when she damn well feels like it.


There are also dozens of variations made with more fabric — bloomer-style short pants, pettipants, divided slips, gaucho pants, etc. I, for one, am hoping to find something with as little material as possible, to preserve the impression that I’m just wearing underwear like a normal human being.

Whatcha got, chaferoos? Have you had any luck with any of these products, or with something else?


(You’ll note that most of these links are to Amazon products. That’s because I’m an Amazon Associate. If you arrive at Amazon by using one of my links, then I get a percentage of the price of whatever you buy — even if it’s not something I originally linked to. These bits and pieces add up tremendously, and help us keeping our big family afloat!

Here is a general Amazon page with my code embedded. If you would care to bookmark it, you could use this link every time you shop at Amazon. Thanks!)


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  • FreeGnome

    I live in a humid climate and walk to and from work in pencil skirts and work dresses. I’ve tried SO. MANY. things, but damp or clingy fabric can be a disaster, and with longer legs, a log of the biker-short styles aren’t actually long enough to stop the chafe. Finally, about halfway through last summer, I discovered Monistat’s Anti-Chafe gel. It’s a miracle. It’s like a sci-fi nanoshield around my legs. I use it under rough seams on my tops now, too; and a little goes a long way!

    • Lesterlynn

      This stuff is marvelous as a makeup primer, too!

      • KL

        I can corroborate this! It’s got the same ingredients as the fancy-pants primers at Sephora, but a fraction of the price. No chub rub AND my foundation doesn’t slide off my face in the heat? I’ll take ten, please!

      • Antiphon411

        And you can cut cocaine with it! Seriously, people can’t tell the difference.

        • MightyMighty1


    • I was just about to suggest this! It works wonders during summers in my hot, humid city. Anti-perspirant deodorant works in a pinch, too.

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        This is great to know. I’m looking a summer pregnancy and you can’t take my maxi-dresses away from me (long skirt=no shaving, no worrying about stupid maternity pants falling down).

    • Eileen

      Maybe it’s because I live in a warmer area, where the heat and humidity often reach sweltering heights, but all the underwear Simcha asked about just seemed so…hot. Almost like girdles. I can’t imagine wearing any of them on a hot summer day. This anti-chafing powder seems like a better option to me. No matter – I’m pretty much a shorts and pants wearer so I’m not even sure why I’m throwing in my two cents. ;)p.s. I had no idea that all the committed skirt wearers had this problem!

  • Anna

    are currently not in my size, which is “shut up I just had a baby,”

    Sigh. I have no suggestions here, but this is how I am and my brother is getting married in four weeks. I don’t know if there is anything out there that I can wear for a wedding, that won’t look ridiculous, that will allow me to nurse babies, and that I don’t have to spend a million dollars on since I *will NOT* be this bizarre collection of sizes forever and I don’t have a million dollars anyway. Oh, and obviously whatever I wear can’t be dry clean only. Or fragile fabric, or easily yanked down for photobombs by that nursing bust.

    • What about a wrap dress? It’s a style that suits many women and will fit while you’re losing weight. If you shop on line, Etsy has pages of them from $15 to $105 (that’s the most expensive one I looked at). If you only use bricks & mortar shops, JC Penny’s has some and I’m sure you can find them at other shops.

      BTW: Woven dresses create a smooth line but many look like hospital gowns. Fortunately, there are (washable) knits with a bit of ruching/gathering that are very flattering. Good luck.

      • Anna

        Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll have to look! I was in my other brother’s wedding a couple years ago and the dress top was wrap style. It didn’t work too well for nursing, but it also wasn’t knit fabric (no stretch at all), so I’ll have to give the style another shot in a different fabric.

    • Susan

      I rent things from Rent-the-Runway for stuff like that, since my size goes up and down with pregnancies

      • Anna

        Well, that’s an addictive site! I’ll keep that one in mind.

    • anna lisa

      I found a really cute white lace empire waist dress with short sleeves at Ross for $25. It looks like a dress you would find in a fancy boutique. It doesn’t even have any zippers (stretchy). It has a white cotton underslip with white cotton lace over it. I wore it with comfortable high heels to mass and then changed to some fancy white sandals later. I’ve found cute Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren dresses there too.

      Thank God we have almost no humidity here. It’s really dry. Combat undies look like a loathsome cross. I’d ditch them all together, and fly commando with that roll on gel.

      • anna lisa

        If you decide to go commando, make sure you email your husband at his climate controlled office and inform him of your wanton behavior.
        He will text you love notes for the rest of the day.

        • Anna


    • Eileen

      Anna Lisa’s right! This is a great time of year to be buying a dress! Look not only in the Rosses and TJMaxxes of the world, but check out the department stores – and not just Kohls and Penneys, but Macy’s and even Lord and Taylor. I’ll bet you can find something lovely for under 40 bucks. Lots of dresses on sale after Easter. Also, for your consideration – in my stomping grounds (the NYC/Philadelphia area), flow-y black (or other dressy) pants and a lovely top are perfectly acceptable for weddings. And a lovely pair of dressy black pants are a great wardrobe staple, even if you’ll only fit in them a short while. And a top would generally be easier to deal with than an entire dress when nursing. If you search a little, you should be able to find suitable pants cheap, cheap cheap. Of course, all this may depend upon where you live and with whom you hang. I can tell from these comments that your mileage may vary on the whole pants at weddings thing.

      • Anna

        I hadn’t thought of pants as a possibility, but it might work; they aren’t going super-formal (short bridesmaids dresses, not long gowns), so I could see dressy pants being fine. And yes to giving the post-Easter sales a try!

  • CS

    I have always thought that we need to bring back cotton bloomers. Or a slipperier-stuff-hybrid version with cotton crotch.

    And am the only woman who wants to buy crotchless stuff for summer? And not have to go through some creeper sex toy store to do it?

    • Suzanne

      If you sew your own panties, a neat trick is to leave the elastic out of the crotch. I.e., instead of sewing elastic all the way around the leg as is normal, you just run it around the butt and front leg, leaving the crotch area free. You’re still wearing modern underwear, but it doesn’t hug the body quite so closely at the crotch and thus is a bit cooler.

      Tap pants would be cooler still, but not everybody wants to wear tap pants.

      • Suzanne

        Or of course you could sew yourself some crotchless underwear and avoid the sex toy store. Even make them bloomers if you like. A lot of those modest-looking cotton bloomers of days gone by were crotchless. I don’t think crotchless underwear back then was about staying cool so much as staying warm when you had to use an outdoor privy or a china chamberpot in an uninsulated house.

  • liz

    I am currently wearing and loving jky (jockey off brand at target) “slipshorts.” They are only $12, super soft and comfy, and don’t ride up or do anything bad. They have saved me through the end of this most recent pregnancy, when pants seem like the most hideous torture. I will definitely be wearing a lot more skirts through this postpartum summer and all future summers thanks to them.

  • A good body moisturizers works for me. I guess I’m lucky. Will need to consider a post on this subject for

  • These are what I wear under skirts and dresses:

    They don’t ride up, unless I wear them too many times and they get stretched out…definitely a pair of shorts I’d recommend!

  • Susan

    The Bandalettes are cute. The rest . . . look like too much like glorified bicycle shorts.

  • Jenna

    baby powder! needs to be re-applied a couple of times a day, but it allows me to actually just wear underwear like a normal human being.

  • sarahrolph

    The gel looks interesting. Talcum powder works pretty well for me, although as Jenna says it needs to be re-applied. Similarly, for way less money: cornstarch!

    • simchafisher

      I wouldn’t recommend cornstarch – it feeds yeast, and can turn a small irritation into a raging infection.

      • MightyMighty1

        A lot of baby powder is “100% pure corn starch”, so avoid that too.

    • Nancy Nurse

      check out my wash cloth solution

  • PeonyMoss

    Bicycle shorts.

  • AMDG

    Thank you for your candor. Thank you for being a real woman. Thank you. I will be such a happier woman this summer for your (and your reader’s) suggestions. But, I do wonder about the Bandalettes…. will my I have a bulge above and below? 🙂

    • tt

      All women are real.

    • Nancy Nurse

      check my wash cloth solution! no bulge

  • Beth

    Have you considered runner’s anti-chafing lube? Female runners swear by it to prevent inner thigh friction. It’s not expensive, goes on like deodorant. Would be cooler than extra long underwear!

  • Karen Cain

    I tried the Vermont County store brand pants once. They were awful. Thick, itchy, not comfortable. Do not waste thy money. The Bandalettes look interesting though.

  • FBe

    I made cocoa butter whip with zinc oxide and beeswax. Zinc oxide is the stuff that makes rash cream AND sunscreen work. I’m not a big fan of dimethicone, so I figured zinc oxide was a natural replacement. I import food-grade oil, and have been testing St. Hildegarde’s recipes. If you make lotion, try romarin ad thym. Let me know if it works for you. Bonus: kiss enfants butt rash goodbye.

  • Blobee

    Bike shorts in a light color work for me. They are longer than most of these underwear things, cheaper, and stay put lower on the leg (toward the knee) so don’t roll from the bottom.
    Another thing I have done is cut off pantyhose just above the knee, and worn the panty part, but I found sometimes I chaff anyway, because there’s a gap between where the legs start and my upper, upper thighs. I think if I had pulled them closer up it might have worked. This is usually only good for a couple of wears because of the runs that go up the leg. But it’s cheaper and good in a pinch.

  • Anna Bersagel

    I have several pairs of pettipants. 1 pr in cotton, a couple in nylon. nude colored. white colored. a couple of different lengths but mainly short. I do pair them with regular underwear and just consider them in the slip family.

  • E Bbs

    Cotton pettipants are secure and you can lean over etc.fearlessly, plus coolest option.

    • Louise

      Pettipants? Are these in the article?

  • Antiphon411

    My wife uses shower to shower. In fact there is a rather heavy dusting of it in the garage next to her car (she keeps it in the car to apply when she goes out). Our three-year-old like to ask and ask and ask what that powder on the floor is.

    On a deeper note: Is our culture so far gone at this point that whether a woman wears skirts or pants doesn’t really matter? I mean, wearing dresses and skirts and turning back the clock and sewing your own panties, is it really fighting the fight?

    My closest friend, who is about as far to the right as possible (I like to think that I am as far to the right as possible, but he is 45 cm farther), insists that his wife wear pants rather than a skirt. He doesn’t want her to show off her femininity in these upside down times.

    I fought and won the fight with my wife against pants and our daughter never wears them in public, but I wonder how important such a thing is. I mean, wear a skirt/dress to Mass, but otherwise… (Though, I still insist that my daughter wear a skirt in public.)

    Sometimes we get too hung up on these things. It’s a bit Marian Horvat at times…

    Anyway: Shower to Shower is my recommendation.

    • Josh

      “Upside down times”? That’s the excuse for grown man telling a grown woman what she can and cannot wear? “Honey, you know I love you and I want you to be able to choose your clothing like the big girl you are, but these times are just too upside down. We’ll revisit this when times are upside up.” I love it. It’s just so reasonable and joyful.

    • MightyMighty1

      This is so strange. I love how it circumvents the skirt debate from flaring up again.

      • Josh

        If it does flare up, I hear Shower to Shower is helpful. (I can’t say for sure though. My women haven’t used Shower to Shower. I insist all the women under my immediate control only take baths due to the innate masculinity of showers, so using S2S would be dishonest.)

    • FreeGnome

      I don’t think this is so much a moral thing… lots and lots of women wear skirts and dresses without any reason beyond liking skirts and dresses, and chafing is miserable. I fail to understand why “showing off [one’s] femininity” is a bad thing. Should we be ashamed that our bodies are female?

      On a side note… do people actually sew their own panties??? Heavens.

      • Suzanne

        Yes they do. It is an excellent way to get exactly the style you want. Many of the people I’ve heard of who do it started because their favorite commercial style was discontinued. I started because, although I’d found a style I really liked, the company used flimsy fabric that stretched out and bagged after a couple of washes; for the same price or less I could make something that lasted more than ten times as long and looked better that whole time.

        Some women who sew a lot of knit clothing find they have remnants that seem too big to waste yet not big enough for regular clothing, so they thriftily use them for underpants. There are also young women who like recycling tee-shirts. Especially ones that let you have funny sayings or pictures across your bum.

        Or, in the fancy pants category, people who want fancy underwear but don’t want to pay fancy prices for little scraps of silky fabric and lace.

        • Nancy Nurse

          check out my wash cloth solution, seriously

  • KyPerson

    Looks like what I used to have to wear and I hated them all. In the heat and humidity of a Kentucky summer, I wear capri length slacks and am very comfortable.

  • Rachel

    hmm, these look interesting. I don’t think the bandettes would work for me. I have chunky legs so they probably would just roll off. I’ve worn spanx before but they ended up getting ruined due to the chaffing. Ugh! That’s why I don’t wear skirts all the time. Also, I live in Florida so you know that it doesn’t matter what I wear, I’m going to sweat anyway and be at risk for a rash :(.

    • Laura

      I have awesome thunder thighs and the bandelettes work very well, surprisingly.

    • Nancy Nurse

      check out my wash cloth suggestion, cheap, and they don’t roll or bulge

  • Louise

    Sit in the air-con for 6 months. Works for me. 🙂

  • Guest

    crap, these cost more than I spend on the actual skirt. Hanes shorts from walmart…you know, the “workout”ones too short to actually wear as shorts?

  • Eileen

    I don’t want to hijack this thread, but I have a feeling I’m among experts here. My daughter needs a non-see through long slip for her prom dress, which is white. So far, we’ve bought two slips but as soon as we turned the lights on we could see right through the dress. I don’t think the slip needs to be super long, but it should come down a few inches below her knees. She’s short and tiny – about 5 foot 3 or so and less than a hundred pounds. Any suggestions?p.s. the top is beaded so we don’t need a full slip – a half slip will do the trick.

    • Nancy Nurse

      if you bought 2 slips, maybe try wearing both? I’d just put a stitch or 2 to keep the waist bands together. Otherwise, I’d go for a cotton one.

  • Christy

    I use Under Armour bike shorts. The long ones, or they ride up. Nice and breathable and moisture wicking. They work great under a-line dresses but would probably show under something fitted

  • Sarah McCabe
  • Gold Bond Ultimate powder has been my saving grace for the last few years. Helps with boob sweat too!

    No talc, moisturizes while keeping things dry and reducing chafing at the same time. Magic!!

    • Sue Sutherlin

      There’s another “off” brand of the same thing, which I have been picking up at the Dollar Tree (next door, at K-Mart, the exact same thing sells for $6!).

  • Juliana Bibas

    Monistat’s Soothing Care Chafing Powder Gel is the best thing I’ve found–in the heat, I really don’t want any extra layers, so this is the best thing. I never have any trouble any more, and I don’t wear pants as a general rule. I’ve tried loose-fitting pettipants also, and they are okay, but it is another layer in a humid climate with not AC, so not a fan. I do wear cotton tights through the winter months, but come warmer weather, it’s gel time. A tube lasts me about a year.

  • Nancy Nurse

    Ok, ladies, i’m gonna rock your chubby world! this ONLY works if you wear panty hose though. First go buy really CHEAP cotton wash cloths. The kind that come 10/pkg at Walmarts. The expensive, velour ones won’t work. Put the panty hose on, , then reach inside one wash cloth over the chafed area on inner thigh. Do the same on the other inner thigh. The weave from the panty hose will spread a bit from stretching over your leg, and “grab’ the terry nap, and will hold it in place all day. And, unlike all those expensive contraptions, the terry cloth is absorbable. Don’t worry that the nap is rough, it will stop the friction, and that’s what causes the chafing. And because they are cheap, you can buy a bunch, and just toss in laundry, no hand washing or drying. I have done this for over 30 years, even on my Wedding day, and have never chafed again. Everyone who I’ve told to try this said it worked great for them too.And hee hee, my HUSBAND tried to pass this along to a lady that he thought would appreciate the info, and she was insulted 🙂

  • LW

    cotton culotte slips saved my life (and my thighs!) when i wore a long black polyester skirt everyday and had to play sports in it everyday in the blazing Nashville summer heat. i’ve tried the spandexy slip shorts and nylon culotte slips but they don’t breath and can make things worse, but these cotton ones are the best and you can choose your length and they ship quickly to the US 🙂