10 Ways to Make the High-Waisted Look Work for You
When it comes to the hottest fashion trend heating up the summer, pants are on the rise.
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Along with skirts and shorts.
But we’re not talking about any ol’ apparel here. This about a sophisticated, slimming cut that shields the navel, hides unwanted bulges, and cinches the midsection, bringing out your inner retro bombshell.
Forget those too-tight skinnys. This season, it’s all about the high-waisted style.
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“Made popular in the 1980s, high-waisted pants have re-emerged and named the ‘Biggest Trend for Spring’ by many denim company executives,” says model and style expert Jaimie Hilfiger. “This style is so popular because, contrary to popular belief, it IS a style for everyone. High-waisted looks appeal to the older customer who needs a little more coverage and also to the young fashionista who is on the verge of every popular trend that comes to the market.”
“High-waisted bottoms not only appeal to women of all ages, but also to women of all shapes,” she adds. “The beauty of this trend for plus-size women is that most looks are also wide-legged and loose. This masks many flaws. For petite women, high-waisted pants and shorts can elongate the legs to make you look taller.”
Unfortunately, the high-waisted look does have a downside. If worn incorrectly, you’ll risk channeling a soccer mom over sultry siren.
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To rock this look effortlessly, check out the major dos and don’ts on wearing the high-waisted style:
Always Get Your Absolute Correct Size
There are certain styles of clothing that can be loose and comfy while still remaining chic, but when it comes to any high-waisted piece, correct sizing is an absolute must. “Do make sure they fit properly,” says celebrity stylist Ali Levine. “Too small and they are unflattering. Too baggy and you’re wearing mom jeans. We love mom, but we don’t want that look.”
And this doesn’t just apply to pants and shorts. With skirts, make sure you also select the right fit for your body, as a bigger size will add extra volume to your midsection and a too-tight version will create bulges in all the wrong places.
Invest in Affordable Pieces
“A high waist will elongate your legs, hide your muffin top, and make your tush like you can bounce a 1975 quarter off it,” says San Francisco-based stylist Christina Santelli of Share Some Style. “Not convinced? You can find this trend almost about anywhere right now, from the racks of Saks to Forever 21. These retailers are all carrying a spectrum of high-waisted pieces.”
If you’re unsure whether this is a good look for you or not, Santelli recommends scoping local retailers, where you should be able to find a variety of high-waisted styles, minus the designer prices.
Keep Your Top in Mind
Whether you choose to go for a middle-flattering short or skirt, it’s always crucial to keep your top in mind–and not any will do. “The key to pulling off this trend is tucking in a non-bulky top, keeping the waist area slim,” says New York City-based stylist Sara Cooper.
Get Inspiration From One Star
If there’s one star that can’t get enough of this look, it’s Taylor Swift. From the stage to running errands, the country crooner is rarely seen without her signature look. And who could blame her? The 24-year-old is always perfection. “Taylor has been wearing high-waisted swimsuits, shorts, and pants for quite some time now,” says Hilfiger. “Her already-svelte figure looks even longer when she embraces the high-waisted. Her look is very demure, feminine, and when combined with her signature cat eye and red lipstick, appears very retro.” For the balmy months of spring and summer, don’t be afraid to embrace your inner bombshell.
PHOTOS: Taylor Swift's Signature High-Waisted Shorts
Never Forget the Girls
Contrary to popular belief, this daring silhouette won’t instantly slim your figure on its own. “A good bra is essential to wearing high waists, especially if you’re over a D cup,” insists image consultant Thea Wood. “We want the girls to look closer to the collar bone than the waist for a youthful, hourglass figure.” An ill-fitting bra won’t just lack in the support department. It will also create the dreaded “back fat” if too tight or add volume to your chest if loose. Whether you’re going for the high-waisted look or not, do your bustline a favor and get properly measured for your best bra ever.
READ: How To Get The Best Fitting Bra
Aim for Height
While ballet flats will always feel like stepping into clouds after a long day trotting in heels, high-waisted pieces were designed to be worn with only footwear that adds height. Anything less and you risk appearing frumpy–which never looks good on anyone. “One of the benefits of high-waisted pants is their ability to elongate your legs,” says Levine. “Heels must be worn to get the maximum effect. If you can, avoid flats like the plague. They will throw off your proportions and produce an unflattering figure.”
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Seriously, it Can Work for Everyone
“High-waisted styles work on everyone from a curvy Kim Kardashian to a waify Alexa Chung and almost every body shape in the middle,” says Cooper. “The only body type I would recommend to stay away from this trend is the shorter, pear-shaped, well-endowed body types. You don’t want to eliminate the area between your belly button and breastline.” The result? Not only will it shrink your overall figure, but it will create an even wider appearance.
Cinch Your Waist
Want to easily whittle the waistline? Simple: Add a belt. And there are a variety of ways to create a custom outfit just for you. “Keep the belt in the belt loops and the same color as the pants for a seamless look,” says Wood. “Go darker in color to cinch the waist and go brighter if you already have a thin waist (to draw attention to it).”
As for any pockets? Get rid of them to make the your midsection appear tinier. “Have your pockets sewn shut if you’re going for a fitted style,” she adds. You can always pair your ensemble with a cute clutch instead.
READ: 10 Ways To Make Your Waist Look Smaller
Consider the Crop Top
Most stylists agree that the reason behind the high-waisted popularity in fashion is all thanks to crop tops also being a major ‘do to welcome the steamy season of summer. And while the daring, stomach baring top can be intimidating to many, pairing it with a more modest skirt or a pair of shorts can balance the look without amping up the sex appeal. Best of all, you’ll have an easier time hiding your tummy and the self-confidence will increase.
READ: 10 Ways To Make The Crop Top Work For Your Body
Avoid One Style
Whether you choose pants, skirts, jeans, or shorts, there’s one style of the high-waisted trend you should avoid. “Reserve pleats for loose, flowing trousers,” says Wood. “Otherwise they pull and create volume in the abdominal area. When in doubt, opt for the flat front styles.”