We’ve all hit that point where to consider wearing anything low-rise seems not only unfashionable, but also unwise. And while high-rise shorts have been championed since the retro resurgence was propelled by street style, this season’s 70s awareness calls for even more high-waisted splendor, as everyone from Michael Kors to YSL featured belly-button level waistlines that made us forget we once cut the tops off our favourite jeans. So when should you wear high-rise, exactly? That’s what we’re about to help you figure out.
With such a push towards crop tops and defined silhouettes, high-waisted shorts work to balance out what could otherwise be a scandalous ensemble “ especially since crop tops aren’t meant to be worn with anything that shows off your hipbones. If you’re not willing to bare your stomach (and a lot of us aren’t), stick to a borderline-snug, sailor-inspired pair of high-waisted bottoms (featured by the likes of Betsey Johnson) that will help add a touch of modesty to an outfit that could otherwise be the opposite. And the same rule applies to tight-fitting, corset-inspired tops: since you’re already alluding to plenty, don’t run the risk of a bare midriff, and stick to a well-tailored high rise pair of shorts.
While high-waisted shorts once seemed only available at hipster meccas like American Apparel, designers across the world featured Working Girl-inspired styles that called for high rises, pleats and a lack of back pockets. Thus, if you’re hoping to do your best impression of a mid-1980s Melanie Griffith, stick with a modern blouse (whether it be a button-up or a silk tank) and a skinny belt to add definition to your waist and to avoid losing yourself in the fabric. After all, if actual gents pair well-tailored shirts with their trousers, why shouldn’t you do the same?
We saw plenty of 70s style courtesy of Marc Jacobs this season, and while he managed to carry off a costume-y aesthetic, most of us won’t be so lucky. That said, if you’re hoping to don a pair of retro-inspired high-waisted shorts, avoid going over-the-top with your shoes, shirt and accessories. Vintage high-rise Levis will not only work well with a crisp, white button-up, but will stand out on their own as opposed to seeming too novelty like they would if paired with an outlandish vest or tank top. And while having fun is important, the last thing you want is to seem like a hopeful Studio 54 attendee.