Zipping Yourself Into Your Dress Without Asking For Help Is Actually Possible

For centuries, people were content to fasten their clothes with laces, pins and buttons, or even had their servants sew them into their gowns. Then at the turn of the 20th century, the zipper made its appearance as a closure for shoes. It wasn't long before manufacturers began using them for other types of men's and women's clothes. Racked explains that it was originally more common for dress zippers to be placed under the left arm, so as not to intrude on the design. In more recent decades, however, the zipper migrated to the back of the dress, creating an even better aesthetic. It also created a wardrobe dilemma that continues to torture us today.

Most zip-back dresses have full-length zippers that run from the hip area all the way to the neck. If you have someone to help you zip it up, you're home free; if you're alone, however, that's another matter. Getting the zipper up as far as the shoulder blades is generally easy, but it takes a contortionist's skill to get the slider to move rest of the way. Push from the bottom? Grope from the back? Either way, there's a lot of struggle involved.

Of course, you could be one of the smart women who exclusively wears pants or wrap dresses, thus saving yourself from the trauma of the back-zip style. But there are ways to maneuver the elusive fastener without dislocating your arm or driving yourself crazy. All you need is a little floss.

Dental floss can be your best friend

The back-zip dilemma is a headache for anyone who has to go it alone, particularly those with limited mobility or dexterity. Happily, there are ways to get the job done with a minimum of twisting and fuss. There are actual products you can buy that clip to the zipper and make it easier to pull up. One (developed by a woman, natch) was featured on NBC's "Today" show. But if you don't feel like spending a wad of money just to get dressed, there's an easy hack that uses something you already have in your bathroom.

As the TikTok video by @vivakolor illustrates, you can use dental floss as a zipper aid. Before putting on your dress, unspool a length of floss and thread it through the hole in the slider (the puller part of the zipper), leaving an equal amount of floss on each side. Put the dress on, then use your right hand to grasp the floss. Hold the bottom of the dress fabric down with your left hand as you pull the floss upward. The slider will move with the floss until the zipper is in place. Pull the floss out of the slider, and you're good to go!

Other household items can be used to pull up zippers

The dental-floss hack is one clever way to pull a zipper up the back of a dress, but there are other, equally effective methods as well. If you have a medium-length necklace with a lobster-claw clasp, like the one seen here, you can hook the clasp to the hole in the zipper slider. Use the necklace chain to zip the back of the dress, as seen here in this TikTok from @kristinakacheeva. (Needless to say, this should only be tried with a thick chain necklace, not a delicate thin one.) NBC's "Today" offers another suggestion: Attach a long length of ribbon to a large safety pin, then attach the pin through the hole on the zipper pull. The zipper will zoom right up when you pull the ribbon. 

Don't have any floss, ribbon, pins, or jewelry? Don't despair. TikTok user @singlemom_of_2 demonstrates one more solo trick: If your dress has a hook and eye at the top (as many do), fasten it before using the zipper. Zip from the bottom as usual, then pull up the top of the dress to make the zipper easier to reach as you zip the rest of the way. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it. but before long, it should become second nature. 

Whichever method you decide to use, you'll be glad you don't have to twist and jump just to finish getting dressed.