And how to stop your dress riding up your bum. It's static season, and we have a few tricks up our sleeve

A woman’s life contains many wardrobe milestones, each a special marker of advancing years. Your first school uniform. First party shoes. First bra. The first time you save up your pocket money to buy something fabulously cheap and unsuitable. First bra that actually fits, first “investment buy”, first time you hear yourself mutter “... and it’s not even lined!” But, personally, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as terrifyingly mature as the day I bought my first slip.

Up to that point, I’d been baffled by the slip. That extra skirt my Mum wore under everything – archaic, seemingly pointless. Was it a hangover from rationing? A spare skirt, in case your main one was run away with by a dog or dragged into heavy machinery? I dismissed it as a generational quirk, like calling the cinema “the pictures” or using tea in place of an isotonic sports drink.

Then, one day, I bought a silky, diaphanous skirt that was determined to ride up my arse and I had an epiphany. This was what slips were for. A slip, I learned, and have been keen to tell everyone since, is the face primer of the wardrobe. The butler of your outfit; its job is to remain unseen and make sure everything else goes smoothly.

One day, I bought a silky, diaphanous skirt that was determined to ride up my arse and I had an epiphany. This was what slips were for

I mention this now because it’s static season. Cold, dry conditions like these tend to encourage the most static electricity – those crackling jolts that are fun for pretending to be a character in The Power, but virtually nothing else. They send your hair haywire, stick pants to your trouser leg and, in the case of so many of my skirts, turn slinky fabrics clingy enough to see your kidneys.

The result of fabrics rubbing against each other, exchanging electrons and becoming positively and negatively charged, static cling can happen to all fabrics but is most likely to occur with man-made fibres like nylon, polyester and acrylic. It’s worse if you’re wearing two different fabrics against each other (like tights under a flippy dress) and if you use a tumble dryer, which is practically a nightclub for fabric frottage.

But, thankfully, there are plenty of tricks you can use to banish static and some of them even work. Here are 10 of the best.


Fabric softener. Another thing I never understood the point of until recently, fabric softener works to reduce static by coating fibres and preventing electrical charge building up. But don’t use it on microfibre, wicking sportswear or anything else that’s meant to be absorbent – it makes it less effective.


Dryer sheets. Better than fabric conditioner, these are specially designed to neutralise rogue electrons and reduce static. And if you don’t have a tumble dryer, you can just keep a box in the cupboard and rub a sheet over the inside of your clothes when static strikes. Works on flyaway hair, too.


A wire coat hanger. Put off that resolution to swap all your crappy hangers for padded velvet, because running staticky clothes through a metal coat hanger will help discharge the electricity. It works better before you get dressed, although prodding a hanger (carefully) up your skirt can help a bit, too; likewise, aluminium foil – good to know for when static strikes on a picnic.

A safety pin. By the same logic (metal conducts the electricity away from your clothes), discreetly hiding a safety pin on an inside seam or hem can prevent static building up during the day.


A slip. Remember them, from earlier? Either a half-slip or the full Cat On A Hot Tin Roof strappy number can be a genuine game-changer when it comes to wearing silk or other light, fluid fabrics. The extra layer helps minimise static cling, prevents riding up and generally helps everything hang better. They also make you feel frighteningly grown up – the kind of person who talks about things “hanging better”. M&S make some of the best.


Hairspray. Not so long ago, I was telling you to use hairspray to prevent ladders in your tights; now, I’m telling you it can kill static, too. It isn’t a guarantee, unlike my sponsorship deal with Elnett, but a quick spritz over your tights can definitely help in a pinch. Plus you can pick up a can for under £3


Body lotion. If your legs are bare, slathering on some moisturiser will increase humidity in the area and dampen the electrostatic forces. You could also try my favourite trick: lotion your legs, then put tights straight on top. Sounds weird, feels great.


Water. Easy, free and surprisingly effective – just wet your hands and run them over your legs or anywhere else clothes are clinging. The increased humidity will sort things out, if only temporarily.


Static spray. Almost feels like cheating, doesn’t it? But if you find you’re walking around crackling like an old-time TV on a regular basis, then it might be worth investing in a bottle of anti-static spray.


Just tell people it’s your electric personality... Always worth a try, sparky.

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