It’s Almost Summer and the Chub Rub is Real

While the weather in New York is decidedly…undecided (going from near 90 one day to a cool 55 the next), the heat does seem to be creeping in as we inch closer to June. For many, that means the re-introduction of the all important summer staple — the sundress, —into our wardrobes. Which is exciting, signifying as it does freedom from the leg prison known as pants. But for many of us, that also means that we have discard our winter leggings and begin to wage the war against the eternal demon that is inner thigh chafing.

While for some, the appeal of the sundress is that you get a nice cooling effect without the constricting nature of leg-jail, for others, such liberation remains out of reach. For most people, thighs touch. And if they touch, they rub; and if they rub, they will chafe, which leads to a vicious cycle of discomfort. I’m not ashamed of my lack of thigh gap: While in the past I’ve had many body image issues, I’ve reached a place of acceptance. I have to work with what I’ve got. And what I’ve got includes my inner thighs rubbing together on a regular and irritating basis.

And in New York, where we walk everywhere, there’s hardly a break from the torture. So I’m here today to share with you the products I use to get through every summer in this hot and humid city without tearing my skin to shreds. It’s mostly varying types of shorts to wear under dresses, but there’s a solution for every wardrobe choice. Don’t let thigh rash stop you from doing your thing.

For Short Shorts and Rompers: Because sometimes I’m not in a dress, and unfortunately just wearing shorts doesn’t mean you can beat the chub rub. The relative length of fashionable shorts these days and the cuts of the popular romper don’t prevent skin-to-skin contact. Now, you can’t really wear shorts under shorts. But there are a ton of products out there, from good old-fashioned baby powder to specifically formulated balms, that will help soothe and protect your skin (pro tip: deodorant will even do the trick in a pinch). The one I’ve found that works best is Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel. It goes on like a gel or ointment, but functions like a powder, so you’re getting the best of both worlds there. I wish it lasted a little longer, which is generally the problem with most anti-chafing products, so I just throw the tube in my purse to reapply if necessary. Also it apparently makes a good, cheap primer for your face, if you’re into that. 

For Comfort That’s Not Shapewear: Now I am generally a fan of shapewear. I like to feel tucked in and supported. I’m not one of those people who can leave the house without a bra on and find it freeing; I just feel sort of exposed. However, in the summer, sometimes the tightness of shapewear only contributes to the heat problem, which is where undersummers by Carrie Rae come in. Their shortlettes come in a variety of colors. They’re breathable and cool and NOT shapewear. If you’re looking for something to keep you comfortable but not constricted, this is definitely a go-to. Plus the folks at Carrie Rae want women to love their thighs and their bodies, and their Instagram is full of body positivity. I like to shop their sale section and not break the bank too much.

Basic, Simple, Tested: If you want something you know will work for you, your best bet is to go to a brand that knows what they’re doing. Jockey makes underwear and has for a long time, and I trust them to keep my thighs in check. Their Skimmies Slipshorts come in multiple lengths and practical colors, and they do the job. [Zelda’s Note: I’m a fan of the Spanx Skinny Britches Mid-Thigh Short for the same reason. They’re light, they’re long enough to protect your vulnerable bits, and when it comes to shapewear Spanx basically wrote the book.]

My Favorite and the Cheapest: Are they my favorite because they’re the cheapest? I’m living life on a non-profit salary, so I don’t love spending $20-50 on something people probably aren’t going to see, so the price is definitely a big factor. But in this case, they’re also my favorite because they work the best for me. I will sing the praises of Uniqlo’s Body Shaper Half-Shorts forever. They’ve got enough of that body-shaping tightness to make me feel comfortable, but they’re also unlined and made of mesh which keeps me cool. And the kicker? They’re usually on sale for just SIX DOLLARS. Praise be to this Japanese fashion conglomerate.

Those are my go-to’s for the hot and sticky summer months here in Brooklyn. While it’s all sundresses and iced coffees on the outside, don’t forget to take care of your thighs — thunder or otherwise.

Photos via: MakeUpAlley, Undersummers, QVC, Uniqlo


  • When summer hits, I can’t wear anything that is too close to my body! It’s hot and humid. I am outside a ton working in the yard. Three showers a day kind of summer. I’m planning on an outdoor shower so I can just wear a bathing suit and jump in to rinse off in the middle of work! Though I can see those “shorts” would be a great way to stop chaffing! And so affordable! Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  • YES! Three years ago, walking around Milan on holiday in 35 degree heat (Celsius!) the chub rub was so bad I made my thighs bleed. I was miserable the whole trip. It took weeks to heal and was agony. I swore I’d find a solution, and later that summer bought some of those Uniqlo shorts. Honestly, they are almost life changing. Going to Croatia and Tuscany last summer, I breezed about for hours in complete comfort. I’m a different person in summer now. I’m not miserable and in pain after ten minutes walking. I actually WANT to go for walks and am happy in dresses all day. I have 9 pairs- enough for long holidays- and have just bought more for a trip to India. Am I going to waft about in linen dresses and maxis? You bet I am!


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