Throwback Thursday: High-waisters
90s Mom jeans are back
I recently undertook a major clear-out of jeans I have accrued over the past decade, and it was harrowing. On what planet was it ever acceptable to wear 6in rise hipsters and flash your knickers (and more intimate details) whenever you sat down?
This one, apparently, circa 2009. Faded, whiskered (those expensive painterly effects that were meant to slim and whittle) — no wonder many of us felt we couldn’t wear them to work. Honestly, in good conscience, I can’t even inflict these unsightly solecisms on the local charity shop. I’m just going to have to compost them.
That under way, the interesting challenge of finding replacements begins. Here’s where the first delight comes. High-waisted jeans, long dismissed as a terminal mom-thing, or worn ironically by the Pixie Geldof crowd, are back.
This is extremely cheering if a) you’re looking for a twist on your usual work uniform (dark high-waisters are smart) and b) you’re exhausted by your efforts not to reveal your bum every time you sit down. And if you’re not exhausted, seriously, what’s your secret?
Trying on high-waister jeans is not nearly as dispiriting as trying on low-waisters. Once you’ve zipped them up, there’s no flob-a-lob overspill of muffin-top. The high-waister shovels it all in, compressing squidge behind a long sturdy zip (or stalwart buttons) as robustly as Kim Jong-un represses pesky questions about North Korea’s famines. Truly, high-waisted jeans are the 21st-century version of a corset.
Then there’s the business of what a high-waisted jean does to your legs, optically at least — which is make them look considerably longer than the low rise versions ever did.
Not all high-waisters are created equal. Some exacerbate pear shapes. Others make bottoms look as though they’re in free-fall, a consequence of thoughtlessly placed pockets. (As a rule, back pockets shouldn’t be positioned too low).
In my opinion, high-waisters look best in dark denims — this is a sleek look that works beautifully with tailored jackets and feminine blouses. Pale, skinny denim high-waisters seem dated.
Next question: Stretch? The most fashionable jean shape is a slim-but-loose leg, as opposed to yesteryear’s drainpipes, and doesn’t necessarily require stretch. This can initially feel disconcertingly starchy, but it means the denim has a reassuring, old-school finish, almost like a stiff twill.
This brings us to tops. I cannot lie — high-waisters probably owe their revival to designers’ inexplicable desire to bring back the crop top. This does not, repeat, not, mean you are obliged to wear yours with a 6in-high boob tube. (Fact: there’s no point in wearing a boob tube ever, since it will invariably perform a major wardrobe malfunction four minutes after you put it on).
So, you can wear your high-waisters with everything you wore your low-waisters with, only now you’ll be able to tuck your tops in and show off your nipped-in waist, which will look lovely, especially with all those adorable floaty blouses that are around now. Sometimes fashion really is on our side.
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