Ask me to buy a new handbag, and I’ll be in my car before you finish your sentence. Tell me I need to buy new pants, and you’ll have to drag me out the door kicking and screaming. Pants never seem to fit the way I want them to. I carry most of my excess weight in my hips, thighs, and butt, and lately, my waistline has been growing too (thanks, middle age). That leaves me worrying that my pants will create a plumber-butt (builder’s bum, if you’re British) or a muffin-top look. Thankfully, the fashion industry is taking a break from skin-tight, low-rise skinny pants, and is now creating some user-friendly, slimming high waist pant styles…
Paper Bag Waist Pants
Paper bag waist pants are loose, high waist pants with a little ruffle at the top. Imagine taking a paper bag, holding it a few inches from the top, and scrunching it closed with your hand. This is what the top of paper bag pants look like.
I found these last fall at Banana Republic. They’re now sold out, but you can still buy BCBG’s Paperbag-Waist Wide-Leg Striped Pants or Rails’ Jess Linen Blend Paper Bag Waist Pants which are perfect for spring and summer.
Here’s how this style makes you look leaner:
- Vertical stripes make your legs look longer.
- A wide leg opening allows you to wear the pants longer making you look a little taller. (A skinny pant, on the other hand, has to be shorter, ending at your ankle.)
- If you have a bigger waistline, this style will give you an hourglass shape (cinched in at the waist, with a little more volume at the top and bottom.)
For a solid option with a slimmer leg, take a look at the Paperbag Pants from Madewell.
Wear your paper bag waist pants with a fitted t-shirt or bodysuit. If it’s still chilly, add a cropped blazer or cardigan.
Flat Front Pants
If you like a more streamlined look than paper bag waist pants, try flat front (no pleats or gathering at the belly) high waist pants.
I bought these Cassidy Belted Wide Leg Pants on sale at Anthropologie. (They also come in red.) They are slimmer through the hips and thighs than my paper bag pants.
With flat front pants, you can tuck in a t-shirt or bodysuit, or wear an untucked cropped top.
For a cropped length, Everlane’s Women’s Wide Leg Crop Pant is cute and is currently on sale.
If you have your pants hemmed, have them end a 1/2″ from the bottom of your foot. That way, you can change the heel height of your shoes without worrying about the hem grazing the ground (even when you wear flats.)
Utility pants are slimmer through the hips, but not tight. They often have large pockets and a looser leg.
I found these animal print utility pants at the Anthropologie sale, and love that they can be rolled up when the weather is warmer. Anthropologie has several options in solid, linen and camouflage. These sit a little lower than the other two pants, but still cover my belly button.
For a fun camouflage print, try & Other Stories’ Cropped Camouflage Workwear pants.
How To Wear Your High Waist Pants
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, paper bag waist pants look best with your top tucked into the waistband. With a flat front or belted style, you can also try a cropped top, or just tuck in the front of your top, leaving the back loose.
If you’re not ready to commit to a boiler suit create the same look with a utility pant and a button down shirt in the same color.
For a sleek, polished look, try a soft silk blouse with your high waist pants. When you tuck in a silk blouse, it won’t add a lot of bulk around your waist and hips.
Take a look at this post for more ideas on clothing that will make you look slimmer.
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