- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2007

Just when you were getting used to the feeling of wearing waistbands on your waist, the fashion industry has decided to move things up.

Waistbands on both jeans and trousers will be heading north as the year moves on. At New York Fashion Week this month, designers showed plenty of higher-waisted jeans and trousers. And just as there were tricks and tips to making lowriders flattering, there are definite do’s and don’ts for high waists, too.

Plan the right top.

“The most flattering way is how it was on the runway, with a tie-front blouse that you unbutton for a sexy ‘70s vibe, or something with a billowy sleeve, like Phillip Lim did, which accentuates the waistline, making a longer, leaner silhouette,” says Ann Watson, vice president and fashion director at the upscale Manhattan retailer Henri Bendel.

Miss Watson also suggests wearing a cropped sweater or double-breasted jacket over that tucked-in top. “If you’re going to wear a high-waisted jean, emphasize it.”

Becky Vieira, spokeswoman for Chip & Pepper, likes to wear her high-waisted pants with a tucked-in top with dolman or batwing sleeves. She also likes the way high-waisted jeans look with tucked-in vintage T-shirts and a blazer.

High heels still rule.

Try a cylinder heel, Miss Watson suggests. “And don’t throw away your platform shoes just yet. The higher the heel the better with the high-waisted jean.”

High heels can help keep the look lean and reduce the chances you’ll appear stout.

Go for pants that have the right shape.

“Everyone’s first fear when they hear ‘high-waisted’ is ‘mom jeans,’ ” or jeans that are roomy in the middle with tapered legs, Miss Vieira says. “This is completely different. It’s a different construction.”

This look is more defined. It often places the yoke just above the hips and includes a wide waistband or a double button, she explains.

“I think it’s really a great silhouette. It’s almost a built-in girdle,” Miss Vieira says. “It’s sleek; there’s no muffin top that you can get with low-waisted jeans.”

Pay attention to your own shape.

High-waisted pants are good for hourglass figures or straight, athletic figures because they create a waistline, Bendel’s Miss Watson says.

If you are built differently, you still can find flattering styles. Earlier this month, J Brand’s bell-bottom jean was the retailer’s top seller, she says.

“The bell bottom still has a slimming effect through the hips and thighs. It’s a very sexy jean at the end of the day,” Miss Watson says.

The most universally flattering style? A pant that sits on the natural waist, or even slightly lower, is good for almost every figure, she says.

Don’t like any of it? Don’t worry; the look won’t last forever.

Miss Vieira thinks skinny trousers will be around six months from now. She also predicts that the vintage “boyfriend fit” is coming back, complete with holes and distressed denim.

“For fall, it’s a real transition time for denim, so a lot of trends will coexist,” she says.

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