Notes on tallit slipping

6th Sep 2019

Slipping tallits is among our customers' big concerns. Today half of the tallits made by the leading manufacturers are nonslip. But there are various factors that go into tallit slipping. Here's an inquiry we received this week:

About non-slip tallit. What makes it non-slip? If I have a perfectly good tallit that slips off, is there anything I can apply to it so that it will not slip? (I have a feeling that with age, my clavicle has changed its angle.)  - Ira J.

I wrote Ira a long, rambling reply, which I am pasting here, unedited.

Thank you for your inquiry. There are a whole lot of factors that contribute to tallit slippage: the weight of the fabric, additions to the tallit, the weave of the fabric, your shoulders, what you're wearing on your shoulders and how you wear the tallit. What the manufacturers call "nonslip" refers to tallits with a textured weave. In the US, some tallit sellers add on a tallit lining, and consider that nonslip. The idea is that the weight resting on the back and shoulders, where the lining is located, helps anchor it in place.

To really pinpoint the problem, you would have to work with a tallit expert. You'd hire him as a consultant, show him how you wear the tallit, try out some different ideas, and report to him once a week. Obviously there's no such thing as a professional tallit-fitting consultant, so you're sort of on your own.

Just tossing out some ideas...if you have a seamstress around, you might want to try sewing on a lining (I could provide you with instructions). Maybe go to shul and ask your buddies who have a smaller tallit to try it on and see if it's more manageable. (Also, take a look at our Tallit Size Wizard.)
Maybe try wearing something different. I wear suit jackets to shul. Once I wore my father-in-law's suit that he got married in something like 55 years ago. It was tailor made (his cousin was a tailor) using super thick fabric you won't see today. And the shoulders were really stiff and square, sort of like I imagine it would be wearing a suit of armor.
My tallit felt glued in place. I think if I did 20 jumping-jacks, it wouldn't have budged an inch.
You might also want to try one of our nonslip tallits, but if you do, I would do that size check described above, because a smaller tallit might help a lot.
Keep in mind that tallit slipping can probably be divided into two different types: the whole tallit sliding down your back, or just the sides falling off your shoulders onto your arms. So the remedies are going to be based on that diagnosis.
Good Shabbos.