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Tactile Sensitivity, Elastic, and Comfort

Does anyone wear control top pantyhose anymore? For that matter, does anyone wear pantyhose?

Nobody Likes Compression

Years ago, when I was working as a full-time apparel exec and traveling the world in search of bras and panties for Victoria's Secret, I wore a lot of skirts. Skirts traveled well– you could wear a skirt in rotation for more days than pants, they were more comfortable for long car rides to far-flung factories and if they were made of light, flowy fabrics they didn't take up as much room in the suitcase.

I didn't love pantyhose as much, but for the professional look, in those days, pantyhose were de rigeur. But, I could never bear to wear control top– all for one reason– compression. They squeezed my mid-section and the waistband always left a red welt; I couldn't stand them.


The secret behind control top pantyhose is that the material used to make them is designed with a very high modulus–it takes a lot of force to stretch them out and they want to return to their original state. This creates compression as a result– the "control" in control top. And this property, how much force is needed to stretch the elastic, is called modulus.

Modulus is one of the properties that can make elastic waistbands uncomfortable for little ones with sensitive skin. If the modulus is too high (in other words, if it takes a lot of force to stretch to fit), then the elastic will bind. The force as it tries to return to its original measurement will be too harsh. Lots of kids rebel against this, but for the tactile sensitive, wearing underwear with this type of elastic is excruciating.

Read more about kids and uncomfortable elastic in our blog post Why Your Kid Hates Wearing Underwear.

Comfortable Elastic is all about Balance

But designing elastic is a bit of a balancing act. If the modulus is too low and the elastic too easy to stretch, then it doesn't perform as it's meant to. It doesn't hold the garment in place.

One of my daughter's friends was wearing leggings with that type of elastic this weekend. She was constantly having to pull them up as she ran up the driveway. And we've all had experience with "dead" elastic– that's elastic that's completely lost its stretch and just lies there.

I just threw out my favorite pair of undies. They were washed and worn so many times the elastic just completely wore out. This can also happen on inexpensive underwear with cheap elastic after just a few wash cycles.

Behind the scenes at Lucky & Me, elastics are designed with comfort in mind. The elastics used are specially designed with the finest yarns, high elasticity so they stretch to fit, low modulus so they are not too tight, and good stretch recovery so the elastic returns to its original state time after time.

Lucky & Me girls underwear has the softest and comfiest elastic at both the waistband and leg openings. Boys underwear has a wide elastic at the waistband for a super soft and comfy fit. Your little ones will stay comfy all day long.


By Liz Smith. Liz has worked across the globe for many of the world's best known apparel brands, including Justice, Chico's, Victoria's Secret, and Hanes. She has worked closely with dozens of factories in more than 20 countries to ensure that production is of the highest standard. Liz has managed all aspects of garment production, from design through fabric development to sewing and merchandising - so she knows what it takes to make high-quality apparel. Liz is thrilled to share her knowledge about clothes to help discerning customers choose the finest products. 


Liz Smith:

Hi Holly,

We are sorry to hear that Olive is so sensitive and finds most pants uncomfortable. Our first suggestion would be to make sure her doctor does an evaluation to make sure there isn’t a medical issue contributing to her sensitivity. But it’s quite possible she has tactile sensitivity and just doesn’t like the feeling of certain fabrics, seam construction, or styles. Take a close look at the stretch pants she will wear – one of the things we’ve found is that the strength of the stretch of the fabric or elastic can make a big difference with comfort. If the fabric or elastic stretch is too strong (the modulus), then the pants can feel tight, even though they are stretchy. Take a close look at the seams – sometimes they can be rough because of the way they are sewn, or the thread used can be scratchy. And make sure the labels are not irritating – we find that heat set labels (instead of fabric labels) are more comfortable for kids.

We suggest trying the Lucky & Me Jada leggings to see if they are comfortable for Olive. You can also try our Erica bikinis. The encased elastic is more comfortable for many kids.

We wish you luck with finding comfortable clothes for Olive. Please let us know how it goes. Thank you!

Feb 04, 2020

Holly Carter:

My granddaughter, Olive has an obvious and real issue with every pair of underwear and pants she owns. It has been an off and on resolvable and minor occurrence before but now it is totally on. I had her try every pair of pants she owns. I truly have no idea if she will be able to go to school. I can go to our local kids resale shop and buy some different ones but what will work? Will anything work? The underwear…she tried on several styles. She has a pair of stretch pants on right now but try as I might I cant tell what is different from them and the other stretch pants we tried. No jeans!! She asked to wear shorts but it is January. She just turned 5 and is becoming frustrated (mirroring me, I’m sure). I have told her that there isnt anything we cant fix. I started researching tonight and found your site. I didn’t read word for word. Morning will get here soon. I saw this contact space and hope you can help us so we can help ourselves. We, I need guidance.
Grandma to Olive 🙂🙃🤪

Feb 04, 2020

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