How to Temporarily Tighten Pants Without Using a Belt


Pin Those Pants

If it's not already, the almighty safety pin should be a staple in your purse, travel bag and bathroom drawer. In addition to temporarily hemming pants and even hiding unsightly bra straps, you can use this versatile little miracle worker to tighten up oversized pants when there's no belt in sight.

Before putting the pants on, turn them inside-out and fold a rear-facing section of waistband into itself. This creates a sort of dart, like you might see on a skirt. Secure the dart with a safety pin -- smaller pins work for lightweight fabric, but you might need a heftier model for denim -- and you'll find the pants have gone down a size or two.


  • You might have to adjust your gathering depending on how much smaller you wish to make the pants. If smaller is better, use a few pins to make more darts on either side of the waistband, just behind the pockets.

Clip It Up

While it might not be a practical choice for day-to-day wear, if you're going in front of the camera and have a pair of pants that are almost perfect except for their size, turn to an old entertainment industry trick -- clips. Whether it's a strong clothespin, a binder clip, or any other kind of small clasp, you can use clips to gather fabric. Put the pants on first, and have a friend -- and a mirror -- help out with this one. Gather waistband material at the rear of the pants and clip it when the size is right; then do the same for any puffiness in the pants legs. It could be a lifesaver for your engagement shoot or family photos.

For a more practical and wearable choice, seek a specialty clothing clip that caters exactly to the purpose of cinching pants without a belt. Available at online retailers, these inconspicuous plastic clips work sort of like adjusting the strap on a backpack.; you hook the clip to the waistband, then twist it 90 degrees to gather and secure excess fabric. Typically, these simple gizmos reduce waistband sizes by up to 5 inches, and you can even double up on clips to double the downsizing effect.

From Saggy to Stylish

A belt doesn't have to be a leather accessory with a buckle and a few holes. -- even the Oxford dictionary says so. If you don't have a traditional belt on hand and sewing isn't your bag, think outside the box. Reach for a long sash to cinch up your britches. Whether solid colored or patterned, a lightweight sash lends your ensemble a Bohemian vibe that especially suits casual capris, boyfriend jeans or wide-legged pants.

Similarly, rope isn't just for tying up horses and docking boats. While thick, rough rope from the garage isn't ideal, a thin, clean rope in a neutral color -- or even better, a length of soft curtain cord -- works just as well as a traditional belt for certain wardrobe items. White rope makes for a nautical look when paired with high-waisted denim shorts and a loose blouse, or you can make a bold statement by holding up wool trousers with an elegant, decoratively tied rope. This trick adds a gypsy vibe to flowing skirts too.


  • For pants that just need a tiny bit of help staying up, a thicker under layer -- like athletic shorts or spandex leggings -- might do the trick. If you're going uber-casual, you may even be able to roll the waistband on cotton pants and shorts to tighten them up a tad.

Related Searches

Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • Types of Belt Buckles

    While originally utilitarian in function, belt buckles have taken on a major role in the fashion industry. They still serve to keep...

  • How to Take in the Waist on a Pair of Blue Jeans

    If your waist is quite a bit smaller than your hips, you may suffer from “gaposis” when you buy jeans to fit...

  • How to Shrink Leather Pants

    Leather pants are a timeless fashion staple. They've been worn by rockers, movie stars, cowboys and average Joes for decades. After wearing...

  • How to Adjust the Waistband for Toddler Pants

    Toddlers come in all shapes and sizes, and finding clothing that fits just right can be tricky. Toddler pants with adjustable waistbands...

  • How to Take in Elastic Waistbands

    Elastic stretches with age and wear. An elastic waistband can become too large even if the wearer remains the same size. Taking...

  • How to Use Belt Buckles

    Add a fashionable detail to your outfit, or simply keep your pants up by wearing a belt. Belts and buckles can be...

Related Searches

Check It Out

This Is the Beauty Routine of an Ex-Pat in China

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!