The High-Waisted Debate

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Some of you may disagree with me on this, but I think it needs to be said: I don’t like high-waisted jeans and shorts. I find them ugly with very few exceptions.** While they may be “one of summer 2007’s hottest trends”, this is one fashion craze that I’m just going to skip.

To me, the high-waisted jeans we’re seeing right now look unflattering at best. This is because they draw attention to the crotch-meets-thigh area, which is where many women carry weight. This makes them uncomfortable and unflattering. As an extra bonus, they often bag in the tummy area (see Mischa Barton at right), creating a weird, diaper-like “pouch” shape. Unless the sizing is exactly right, it’s not so cute.

Sure, maybe Nicole Richie was able to pull off a pair of high-waisted short-shorts with ease, but she has tiny legs and nothing in the way of a butt. Even the equally skinny Mischa Barton managed to make her frame look out of proportion to her top half when she rocked a similar pair.

Therefore, I won’t be caught dead in anything resembling a mom-jean. I’m not at all interested in looking like I’m wearing a baggy diaper and/or pregnant just so I can follow a celebrity trend.

My take on the Micha Barton jean trend is that it won’t last, and I couldn’t be happier about that. While I have no problems with jeans that aren’t super low-rise, I think that the new mom jean extreme is too ugly and impractical to remain popular for long. I also think pocket placement is big and wash matters here. Baggy diaper-style medium wash jeans are a no. Properly fitted styles have more potential.

Sorry over-40-mothers of America, the jeans you’ve been wearing since 1985 are not making a comeback for long. It’s really time to move on.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you love high-waisted jeans or loathe them like I do? I’d like to know your opinions so feel free to leave them in the comments!

** The only exception to the uglyness of high-waisted pants is when they aren’t denim and are worn trouser-style for work as seen on Mary-Kate Olsen here. I will admit that the look is extremely classy and cute.

31 thoughts on “The High-Waisted Debate”

  1. Thank you for summing it up perfectly – crotch meets thighs area is so unflattering. And if you have a tummy which most women do … I’m just waiting on this trend dying but it will be a long slow death march just like skinny jeans.

  2. Hahaha I wore them in the 80s and I’m so glad they went out of style!!! They are so ugly and I feel bad for young girls who think they are stylish. Girls you are wearing mom jeans!!!

  3. Yep, it’s now 2021 and I’m in the UK and all you can get is high rise/mum jeans… I have yet to find any low rise at all, you do see the ‘occassional’ mid rise, but to my eye they just look like high rise. Hideous.

    I despair.

  4. It’s 2021, and this trend is still going strong. If anything, it’s currently hard to find jeans that aren’t high waisted.

  5. Even in the eighties, high waist anything wasn’t flattering. It wasn’t back then, I doubt it ever was (but nobody said anything about it in the distant past), and frankly, it never will be. Low waist is just okay, but it depends who’s sporting it. It looks great on somebody with a so-called “hot-bod”, but if you’re overweight or underweight, low waist won’t work. Mid waist and form fitting suits pretty much everybody and mid waist will always be my go-to for both comfort and somewhat sexy at the very least.

  6. It is now 2020 and you’re ABSOLUTELY right. I Just. Don’t. Get it.

    You’re also 100% correct about there being *very few exceptions*. I am nearly 35 so I realize that the age gap is a huge thing. I also realize that with women’s empowerment in the last 5 or so years, that many women wear them because they’re comfortable and they just don’t give an F if guys find them attractive or not. On a personal note my husband, who is 5 years my senior, finds them, and I quote, “absolutely repulsive”. So I realize the age gap is the main factor for the difference in views on mom jeans and high waisted jeans. Hell, we even hate skinny jeans and have since they made their unfortunate debut. We’re old. We’re the bootcut, low- rise and even the occasional JNCO type people. Which is fine. Everyone’s different.

    However, no one can tell me they are an “attractive” and “fashion-forward” option of jeans. That’s a lie. Don’t lie to me. They make the vast majority of women look frumpy and boxy. Now, I have seen a few STICK THIN girls pull this trend off surprisingly well. I saw a young girl yesterday wearing high waisted black skinny jeans paired with a skin tight black tank top. She had quite the waifish figure, appearing like a little dark fairy. A beautiful, little, dark fairy. She was sporting some black mid-high heels.

    But ladies, you’ve gotta accept something: we’re not all waifish size double zeros with virtually no chest and tiny adorable little booties. And those girls are LITERALLY the only body type this is attractive on. And hey, kudos to them! I’d kill for that body type but I know my body and my best physical assets and I know what looks good on me. And WAY more importantly, I love my body. Sure I’ve got flaws. Who doesn’t?

    So when it comes down to it, if you learn what works for you and makes you feel good, that’s what really matters right?

    P.S……. they still never be “fashionable”.

  7. I think that high-waisted pants show off a female’s natural waist, the smallest part of the torso. They don’t allow muffin-tops, which I HATE. [Check out Cybill Shepard in The Last Picture Show, that’s how they’re supposed to look!]

    On the other hand, I suppose that only slimmer(but not just skinny!) body types could get away with wearing them more… And the mom-pants argument is a good point, but if you buy the right cut and style you won’t look like your mom. Mischa’s jeans in that pic are just embarassing, those pants just suck!

    But I’m really done with low-waisted pants, they hit at the widest part of our bodies and that’s not flattering on anyone.

  8. I think too high or too low are equally unflattering, HOWEVER, Chloe Sevigny is living proof that a normal sized woman CAN pull off high waisted, and she has been rocking high waisted shorts, pants and jeans since way before it was “in” again. She also admitted that she has a “pouch” and high waisted jeans act as a corset effect sort of…anyway, I think it defines the waist and if correctly fitting, make one appear more streamlined.

  9. I know this article was from 9 years ago when the trend was just starting, but I still despise high rise jeans! Like every trend, they will go away, I just wish it could be sooner. It’s hard to find jeans I like anymore. To me, the main thing that I don’t like is that they are uncomfortable. Standing, they fit as they should, but sit down and they squeeze my stomach in to the point that I get a stomach ache. They hike up to my ribs and go into that awful pooch at my lower abdomen. No thanks. I lived through this terrible trend in the 80s and 90s, and was sooooo happy when low-rise jeans became the go-to. You can accent your natural waist (the thinnest part of your body, generally) without wearing high waist pants with a shirt that fits properly. 5-10 years from now (hopefully sooner) the trends will change and everyone will laugh at high-waisted pants, just like 80s and 90s youth laughed at bell-bottoms (the flares of the 70s). But, then in another 10 – 20 or so years, the high waist trend will be back.

  10. This is a bit late, but I just wanted to say that I LOVE high-waisted shorts/jeans/skirts/ ANYTHING! It’s quite flattering and makes my legs look longer. And I am sure as hell not a size 0 i’m a size 2/4 so yeah. low-rise causes love handles.


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