My wardrobe is not aging gracefully, and I too much despise shopping for clothes to replace it. To be sure, after a long, gradual decline, it has gotten to a point where if I pull out a pair of pants, it is a great surprise to me if the zipper on my fly still functions in its original capacity. More commonly, I will pull out a pair of sad pants with two rows of teeth to form a fly, but either no zipper or a zipper only attached to one set of the teeth. Personally, I couldn't care less whether the zipper works, but I've been told that it is most uncivilized to walk around with one's fly hanging open, and that explaining, "No, it's okay because it's broken!" does not, in fact, make it more civilized. Thus, I would like, at least, to elegantly ensure that my pants do not have a hole where the fly once was sagging open when I am wearing them.

I consider this problem very annoying. So far I have:

  • If the sliding bit of the zipper stayed on one side, I've tried shoving the other side of teeth into the appropriate slot in the sliding bit, but I've never succeeded in fixing them this way.

  • I've tried avoiding other people all day. This is a nice universal fix to all wardrobe issues, but it's sort of hard to do - and it gets tiresome to have to figure out when no one's looking before making a dash across more public space.

  • I once tried putting the pants on backwards. This looked even worse and felt terrible.

  • I used tape to hold the fly shut. It sort of works for a while, but eventually the tape gets unstuck. It's also kind of noticeable and I'd rather not have any conversations starting with, "Hey dude, why's there so much duct tape on your pants?"

  • I managed to run a loop of little wire through the pants and through the zipper to hold the fly closed in the middle; this works the best out of anything I've tried, but the pants still look kind of strange, being held together at just one point in the middle.

  • I thought about soldering the zipper (mostly) shut, since I don't really care whether it can open or not, however decided against it since it would leave that section of the pants stiff. (Not to mention that this is an issue I invariably wish to solve after I've left my house - in locations where one will receive strange looks if they start soldering their pants together or remove their pants to safely do so - though, perhaps with some good answers here, I can remember to fix my pants before trying to use them).

None of these solutions are particularly satisfactory to me and I feel like this has got to be a common problem. Is there a better way to repair one's fly?

  • 6
    100+ :) Your solutions are hilarious, no offence! But this is a valid problem. Maybe change your zipper, safety pin, sewing a few stitches?
    – Pobrecita
    Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 4:13
  • Technical nit-pick: the "fly" is actually the flap of cloth that covers the zipper (or buttons, or laces, or whatever), not the zipper itself. Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 2:16

7 Answers 7



  • Sew a few stitches into the pants where the zipper is. This keeps the zipper together, but is hard to take apart for bathroom breaks or generally to change them if you have tight pants. If you have loose pants or wear a belt then the pants will be turned into slipons. There are 2 way I can think of doing this:

    1. Do a whipstitich or other stitch to the zipper while the zipper apparatus is still there. A Whipstitch or blanket stitch may be to bulky and you may opt for another stitch.

    2. Remove the Zipper by the stitches that hold it into the pants or just try cutting it out. Then just sew the left over flaps together so it looks like it was meant to be that way.

  • Use a safety pin. Using a large diaper pin or several safety pins would keep them together and these can be reused. Be careful when adding then though, you can sick yourself if you are not careful.

  • Change the zipper. Buy or "borrow" one from other pants. Zippers are not to expensive and can be found in other pants, so if you wore out some pants, you have a zipper.

  • Wear a longer shirt. This makes sure the problem isn't shown, as the shirt will cover the zipper and the problem. Avoid bending backward and winds that will blow up the shirt.

Alternative Solution

  • Don't wear zipper pants. If you wear elastic and other pants, and not zipper pants then your fly will not wear out.

  • Change the zipper to elastic. If you proactively change the zipper, then the problem is avoided.

  • Lifeacker.com on ways to fix a broken zipper.

  • You can go to a tailor other clothes fixers and have them fix it for you. They can also probably do other repairs such as fix holes adjust pants length.

  • Alternatives to sewing are sticky sewing adhesives that can be Ironed or applied with other heat. These adhesives may work better as it allows a person to take something a loose more and may be easier for people without sewing skills.


A common method I used a lot when I was in boarding school, when my zipper broke was to make a cut across the bottom of the teeth on the side where the zipper separated from, this effectively makes the zip work like the zips on hoodies where you have to push one end through the zip before you zip it.

At times after doing this, this zip would move up and down but not zip the pants closed, at this point I usually use my teeth to bite the zip to make it smaller, and when that fails, I usually remove the zip from my moist, miserable pants, and make a second cut on the other zip teeth to replace the zip.


Take these pants to a seamstress or cobbler shop. For $5-25 you'll have your problem solved in 1 to 2 days.

I believe this is the only solution that makes sense; once you start using these services you'll kick yourself for not frequenting them sooner in life.


Cover the broken zipper with an apron or other view obstructing device. If your job allows you to wear something like this, then the problem can be hidden.


If you can't insert a new zip yourself, take your trousers to a specialist and have a new zip put in. It's a lot cheaper than you think. Sometimes dry-cleaning shops offer this service, sometimes you see small ads for garment repairs or alteration. As a matter of fact it is so cheap I feel quite guilty about it, but the seamstresses are very pleased to get the money.

  • Why the downvote? Tell me what I did wrong so I can do better.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 10:20

Old fashioned diaper (nappy in the UK) pins, the kind you can lock closed. You'll look like a nutter, but probably marginally less so than constantly walking around with an open fly, and at least you won't be risking prosecution for inadvertent flashing.

If you can't be bothered to buy new clothes, take your pants with broken zippers to the cleaners (they also do repairs) and get them to put new zips in. It's a trial, but easier than looking for new clothes.

  • Why has this answer received downvotes?
    – MrPhooky
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 11:00
  • 1
    @MrPhooky - I imagine its my use of the descriptive phrase 'you'll look like a nutter';-)
    – Bamboo
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 11:01

Buy some buttons and sew them onto the bottom side (often right). Then cut some slits on the top sode and voila.

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