Tactile Sensitivity, Elastic, and Comfort

Photo Courtesy: CutestPaw.com

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

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 boys underwear or girls underwear with this type of elastic is excruciating.

But designing elastic is a bit of a balancing act because if the modulus is too low and the elastic too easy to stretch, then often 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’ve had it happen on favorite pairs of undies that are washed and worn so many times they just completely wear out. It can also happen on inexpensive underwear with cheap elastic after just a few wash cycles.

New Elastics for Boys (2)

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 while their boys underwear has a wide elastic at the waistband for a super soft and comfy fit.

Liz Smith has worked across the globe for many of the world’s major apparel brands, including Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Justice, and Hanes. She has earned thousands of airline points and worn out several suitcases visiting 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.

One comment on “Tactile Sensitivity, Elastic, and Comfort

  1. Barbara Brown on

    I have an adult daughter who has a tactile sensitivity (panti hose and tights (thicker panti hose for colder weather) really irritate her, they drive her crazy. She is begging me to find her “comfortable” ones.

    If you can recommend anything that can either be purchased in Israel or shipped to Israel (or that someone can bring to us to Israel when they visit), it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Barbara

    Reply

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