A beginner’s guide to high-rise denim

Low-rise denim has reigned supreme since the mid-90s, but not any more. A new trend enters the arena: high-rise denim..

Low-rise denim has reigned supreme since the mid-90s, but not any more. A new trend enters the arena: high-rise denim. Jeans that – gasp – meet, or even cover, the belly button.

But how to pull these babies off without experiencing much-dreaded saggy “mom bum”? What about women with curves? Crucially, how do you avoid camel toe?

I turn to Over the Rainbow (101 Yorkville, 416-967-7448, rainbowjeans.com), local denim staple since 1975, for help.

The shop’s resident stylist, Monica Gould, hands me a stack of jeans and assures me the fit of high-rise denim has changed a lot since the 80s.

“The jig is up,” she laughs. “Brands have come to terms with the fact that women have curves.”

I nervously wiggle my way into a pair and, to my surprise, they fit like a dream. The higher waist is almost Spanx-like, sucking in my hips and stomach. I can actually move in these… and sit without my gut threatening to spill over or my thong waving hello to passersby.

While it’s not quite on the level of J.Lo’s or Iggy’s, my modest booty looks pretty damn good.

“It’s all about the pockets,” explains Gould. “With high-rise jeans, you want larger pockets that are slightly inverted to mirror the curve of the behind.”

Gould assures me women with hips and bellies need not be afraid of the trend: “High-rise is actually better on a curvy girl. A lot of brands are coming out with ‘contoured waists.’ That means the higher the jean rises, the more it goes in, because most women are a little bit slimmer in the middle of the torso.”

If something doesn’t fit quite right, Over the Rainbow offers free hemming on denim purchases over $175 before tax and waist alterations for $25. Proper tailoring keeps you from constantly hiking up your jeans, resulting in disastrous camel toe.

Gould also recommends high-rises as an entry point for those who don’t really dig denim. “I had a woman come in who’d never worn jeans before. She was all about dresses and skirts,” recounts Gould. “She tried on a bunch and loved the high-rise. It’s easier to start with something higher and move down.”

As it turns out, high-rises are also just about the easiest thing to style. You can tuck in a loose shirt, wear a crop top or rock those just-a-hint-too-short sweaters without a second thought.

By the time I finish trying on a dozen or so pairs, I can’t fathom what took so long for this trend to come back.

“Some people have it stuck in their heads that they hate high-rises,” shrugs Gould. “But what do they hate about them? They hold you in, you can wear anything with them and they come in every leg style. I don’t see an issue.”

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