24 In Styling Tips

Use a hairband to add an inch to your waistband

Hair tie tip for adding comfort to jeans

No longer sitting on a secret that could make life so much better


On Saturday I was getting dressed to go spend a few hours at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. My jeans were too tight. I needed some fashion triage before getting out the door. Thankfully, Dr. Brenda was in, rolled up her sleeves and gave me a hand. Well, actually it was a hair band but more of that to come.

I was going in to visit my friend Joan. She wasn’t getting care there, she was giving care there. It was her second-to-the-last shift before retiring, and she asked me if I’d like to come and visit her world. You betcha! I’ve heard stories and this was my chance to see it all first hand.

She’s put in thirty-five years of twelve hour shifts. Can you imagine that? She LOVES her job. See all that bling on her name tag? Each sparkly pin represents five years of nursing. That daisy there on the right is an award for outstanding nurse. In the nursing world, this would be like getting an Oscar. And she deserves it!


My friend's 35 year career in nursing

Nurse extraordinaire, Joan


Her nursing buddies took a picture of her one day and had it blown up. The image is in the break room. She may have walked out for the last time tonight when her 7-7 shift ended but she’s going to be living on there for a while. Her heart is spread all over that place!


Joan Goldberg

Visiting my friend Joan at the hospital


Tummy problems gave me fashion troubles

So back to me. I’m putting an outfit together, pulling on my jeans and discover that if I fasten them it’s uncomfortable. I woke up that Saturday with tummy problems. It was kind of a perk that I’d be visiting the hospital, wouldn’t you say? Fastening my jeans was making my tummy unhappy.

I didn’t flip out and decide I had to buy a new pair. I knew that this tummy thing would be gone by Sunday morning and they’d close just fine in 24-hours.

But what to do in the meantime? I went searching for my Insta-Button. I’ve written about that great tool in 10 Tips for When You Feel Fat. It looks like a jean button but it’s like a tie tack and you can use it to add a little width to your waistband. Well, I couldn’t find mine so I had to think fast.

In the drawer where the Insta-Button should have been was a hairband. You know, a hair tie to tie your long locks back in a ponytail.


“But Brenda! You don’t have long hair! What are you doing with a hairband?” you say.


No, there’s no part of my hair that would gather into a hair band. But I have daughters who wear hairbands. After they’ve been to the house I seem to find hairbands lying around. I pick them up and put them in a drawer, the drawer that holds the Insta-Button.


Hairbands have multiple uses.

Erin wears a hairband


Hairbands are fixes for too tight jeans

Caitlin wears hairbands


If you don’t have girls visiting you on a regular basis, here are some fun hairbands you can order.


Here comes the tummy tip

To help my tummy feel better and to still be able to wear the jeans I wanted to wear, I strung a hairband through the buttonhole on my jeans and made a loop.


Using a hair band to add an inch

When it’s too tight to button, get jean assist


As you can see, this extra loop gave me a sizable inch or more at the waist.


Adding width to your jean's waistband

You can get a solid inch or more by adding the hair band


I tested out my hairband-jean-assist tip and it worked!


Creating an extra inch for my waistband

My jeans need a little more space at the waist on Saturday


True to my prediction, on Sunday morning the jeans closed just fine without my added jean-assist hairband. Before you try this at home, I’m going to give you a few ground rules.


Jean tools for when you need an extra inch

Twenty-four hours later the jeans close just fine


Plan to wear something over the jean

Okay, what you’re not doing when using this trick is…

  • Tucking a blouse into your jeans
  • Thumb tucking a top as it could easily expose your waistband-assisted hairband
  • Wearing sheer blouses
  • Wearing anything super clingy in the midriff/low hip area


Although it was Sunday when I was wearing the jean as is with my double orange sweaters, I could have worn the same sweaters using the jean-assist tool. Although these sweaters are fine (remember, they are two exact sweaters layered because one was too sheer and too cold) they don’t get hung up on the jean. Sweatshirt type tops would work well, slightly oversized shirts, pullover sweaters and twelve more things that you’re going to tell me about.


Getting the best fit in a jean

Sometimes jeans need some help to fit just fine


I think many of us have waistlines at 50 or 60 that we didn’t have at 30 or 40. You don’t have to have a tummy ache to want to have an extra inch or so to play with on the waistband of a jean. A trick like this is good to have in your styling kit.


Bonus for a hostess

If you buy that bag of 90 hairbands, you could use them to pass out to your guests who might be wearing jeans to your next dinner party. You can whisper in their ear, “Go ahead and have seconds. This hairband will make it easier.” You’ll be the hostess with the mostess. And now I’m heading to the fridge for that extra slice of pie that Caitlin left for me last night. She brought one of her prize-winning pies up to Sonoma for dinner: apple-raspberry. I hope there’s some ice cream left!

Can you see this jean-assist hairband trick working for you? Do you have other tricks that you pull out on an as-needed basis? Do share with us all!


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  • Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Love the concept and feel like buying those 90 hair bands right now. What a game changer for Thanksgiving dinner! Congratulations to Joan! I have a couple more years to work but right now I have 42 years as an RN. It is a wonderful profession.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Oh my gosh, Kathy! 42 years!!! I knew there were nurses in this wonderful community. That’s quite a commitment, Kathy. Congrats to you!

  • Reply
    Ramona Puckett
    May 15, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Thank you! What a great idea! I hope your friend takes the time to rest before she makes plans to do something! Love and learn so much from your posts.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Thanks, Ramona. She’s such a dear. She’s an incredible friend and when I saw her in action I realized what a stupendous nurse she is. I wasn’t surprised at all but I was awestruck! She’d never asked anyone to visit her at work. She just knew how much I’d love it. I feel so honored.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 5:10 am

    I used the same trick back in the 80’s! Changed jobs from office to storeroom and didn’t want to buy work maternity clothes. I wore my sisters jeans with flannel shirts and used this trick.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:35 am

      How savvy of you!!! I think I better start showing this tip to my pregnant clients!

  • Reply
    Becca G
    May 15, 2018 at 5:38 am

    I’ve used the hair band trick since high school when my mom showed it to me.
    Recently I showed my 20+ son how to do it as his shorts were too snug after washing but would loosen later. I told him it was an ancient family secret & now he would be able to pass it forward to his children. LOL

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Now that’s a mother’s love! So happy to hear this being used for a guy. You get the Mom of the Year award! Love it! And so great that it’s been passed down from generation to generation. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 5:42 am

    You always come up with such interesting ideas, Brenda!! I know my roommate in college used to just undo her jeans at the end of dinner if her jeans got too tight!! It always cracked me up!!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Yes, I’m sure this isn’t a trick you’ve ever needed yourself, Jodie!

  • Reply
    Sandi Mcdougall
    May 15, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Another great idea that gave me a giggle, Brenda. But I must add, you have the skinny legs I long for so I don’t feel too bad for you. 😉 My trouble with jeans is the opposite, waist bands too large and constantly having to use a scarf ( a tip I saw on your site) to make them smaller without the bulk of a belt.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:33 am

      Okay Sandi, you have the waist I’d love! So I guess we’re even! That is a common problem though. For some of my clients I have alterations come in and shape the waistline. They’re happy about that!

  • Reply
    Jo Ann Poole
    May 15, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Used this trick when pregnant and first started developing belly. Kept from having to wear maternity pants for a little while.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:11 am

      I never did this when pregnant. Should have!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Great idea.
    What kind of shoes, please?

    • Reply
      May 15, 2018 at 10:11 am

      These sandals are by Camper.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Does the zipper ever start to unzip?

  • Reply
    May 15, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I use a hairband on a t shirt type top that is too big after weight loss. On one side at the front, gather excess and wind band around. A multi colour pack will cover lots of different colour tops. Also means you can size up to cover unflattering tummy bulges without a flappy bottom!

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    May 15, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Absolutely brilliant and so simple!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Your covered headbands are much more stylish. In the ‘old days’ (50s and 60s) we used plain rubber bands the same way for early months of pregnancy. After baby’s arrival, plain rubber bands switched from wrist to wrist as a reminder of which side to begin nursing from. Larger covered bands would have been perfect.

    Even in my 80s, I still try to add a touch of style, thanks to your suggestions. Keep writing!

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    May 18, 2018 at 2:03 am

    I am leaving a reply , a little late, but what a beAutiful story ! I too have nursed fora long while, the last 13 years in PACU, and love my profession. I wish her joy and peace and contentment in her move to a different lifestyle. how beautiful she asked you to spend the day with her, and your gracious admiration of her skills. I am sure it is mutual ! Love the hair band idea too ! Sending love to both of you from Oz xx

    • Reply
      May 18, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      That is so sweet, Trinnie! It really was the highlight of my week to get to watch her in action. You PACU nurses are awfully special! Thanks for sharing your love!
      Sending love from Sonoma, BK

  • Reply
    July 13, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    The dog shirt is perfect. Do you have a source?

    • Reply
      July 14, 2018 at 8:47 am

      Oh golly, I got it several years back when shopping with my daughter at TJ Maxx. I thought it was fun and playful even though I’m more of a cat person than a dog person. Oh, just checked the label, it was a Talbot’s cotton shirt! Makes sense. They do animal images. Maybe check what they’re up to?

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