Ask Janie: What To Do When You Lose One Of Your "Tying Things" In Your Trouser Band

Esquire's Fashion Director shares her needlework know-how to help you fish out lost drawstrings.

BY Janie Cai | May 5, 2016 | Fashion

From Nicholas Ng, Commercial Director at Esquire Singapore

“Help, Janie! My trousers has lost one of it’s tying-things and I have a client meeting in 15 minutes. What should I do?”


Fashion Director at Esquire Singapore

You mean your trouser band has inadvertently swallowed up one side of the drawstring that is usually used to secure your trousers? Ever since Wayne came to me last week with his Hairy Jacket dilemma, the office boys have been steeped in an array of sartorial issues. This time my commercial director is facing an important meeting and is at loose ends. It seems that one end of the drawstring of his joggers has slipped back into the trouser cuff by accident, leaving the other side hanging out, take a look:

It’s a common enough situation, something I’m sure we’ve all been through before. Nic sheepishly admits that the last time this happened to him he actually threw away the trousers in question because he couldn’t wear them anymore. 

You don’t have to go to such extremes, the next time this happens just look for a pin or a needle—you can use a safety pin as well. Then, using the sharp end, carefully locate the end of the cord lost somewhere in the trouser band. If you are doing this at home and not rushing for an important client meeting, please take off your trousers first before you try this, or you’ll risk stabbing yourself around your middle, not to mention it’s bloody hard to twiddle a small needle uncomfortably close to your unmentionables. 

In this case, Nic’s in a hurry and can’t take off his trousers and since I am the Fashion Director, I get the privilege of jabbing the needle around the recesses of his trouser band. (“Ow! You poked me!” “That’s for taking four pages of my fashion spread for your ads. Now hold still.”) 

Once you locate the tip of the drawstring, use the needle or pin to pierce gently through the trouser band till you hook into the end of the drawstring. It doesn’t have to be exact, you just need to get a bit of a grip on the send of the lost string and using the pin as leverage, slowly work it round towards the hole it slipped from. Use your other hand to push excess material around the band to help you work the end of the drawstring round faster. Work the pin head (when it’s caught onto the drawstring edge) in a light sweeping option for as far as it will go each time, making sure to hold the drawstring end by gripping the trouser band where it’s located in place. Then remove the pin head and re-pierce the material again to get the end of the drawstring hooked again for another round of tugging. It’s a matter of patience, even with an increasingly anxious commercial director trying to hurry you on.

Once you have made it almost to the end, you can use your fingers to grip the tip of the drawstring and use your other hand to pull back the excess material (this is faster but it usually only works when you are near the end, or if you have enough excess material around your trouser band for the drawstring to slide through easily. If yours is the latter, NEVER wear those joggers out. In fact, burn them.)

Once you are near the end, locate the hole and use your fingers to push the end of the drawstring (which should have a plastic of metal tip) through the hole. Then pull both sides to adjust the length. Done! 

Helpful hint: If this happens often, tie a small knot into each side of the drawstrings when you first get a new pair of joggers. It’s discreet and helps stop the string from slipping through too easily.