If you’re a fan of high-rise denim, we have some good news: Unlike your beloved skinny jeans, the style doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere any time soon. In fact, according to celebrity fashion stylist, Mickey Boooom Freeman, waistbands just keep on getting higher and higher. The main reason for this? High-rise denim is simply the most reliable cut out there, since it works well for every body type, he says.
Nicole Russo, stylist and founder of Let’s Get You, agrees that it all comes down to the classic cut with ultra-high-rise jeans. “The high-waist creates the illusion of longer legs, and the slim, straight fit beautifully accentuates the figure in all the right places,” she says, adding that the style is incredibly versatile. “You can pair these jeans with a plain white t-shirt and your favorite blazer for a business casual look, or amp things up with flashy heels and a statement top to take the jeans from day to night.”
Even within the high-rise denim category, you can find a number of different cuts and styles to fit your preference. One trend that’s new to the scene is what’s coming to be known as “pinch-waist jeans.” Characterized by a super cinched waistline and hip-hugging fit that transitions into a straight-leg cut, these jeans get their name from the “pinched” effect they provide.
According to Russo, the style is heavily inspired by the ’90s grunge decade, during which the zero-stretch pants with a baggier fit went so high, they grazed the rib cage. “Taking the vintage look into the 21st century, the silhouette has been streamlined to create an ultra-flattering fit that works for all shapes and looks chic with any outfit,” she says.
But the best thing about the pinch-waist jeans trend? How incredibly non-trendy it is, Russo says. “For the past few years, fashion fads have leaned towards the obscure — remember when we thought neon biker shorts were okay? — but pinch-waist jeans are so casual and universally appealing that even the most hesitant can partake,” she says. In other words, there is literally a jean style out there for every single body and personal style.
Wondering what to look for when shopping for pinch-waist, ultra-high-rise jeans? According to Freeman, they shouldn’t be too rigid—they need to have some give to them. “Ideally, they should stretch so that they’re easier to move in, which will allow one to look as if they’ve had the waist altered specifically for their body while maintaining the comfort and shape through the legs,” he says.
And while a high waistline is the ultimate goal, there is such a thing as being too high, adds Russo. “Going too high with your jeans will make the body look disproportionate, with your legs looking a mile long and your torso only an inch,” she says. “A general rule of thumb is if the waistline sits more than one button width above your belly button, it’s gone too far.”
Ready to shop pinch-waist, ultra-high rise jeans? Check out these pairs that fashion pros love.
The Best High-Rise, Pinch-Waist Jeans, According to Stylists
According to NYC-based stylist and personal shopper Lana Blanc, this vintage-inspired pair of denim is dominating the pinch-waist trend. “If you’re ready to hop on this trend by investing in only one pair, these are the ones to get,” she says. They have a non-stretch feel but are super-soft to the touch and become more comfortable with wear. Just note that they tend to run a bit small, so it’s a good idea to size up if you’re in between sizes.
If you want to try the ultra-high-rise, pinch-waist jean trend without committing fully, Blanc recommends this pair, which comes in the classic straight-leg that extends slightly past the ankle for the illusion of even longer legs. “Levi’s is offering their own take on the 12.5″ rise, which includes stretch and a more affordable price tag,” she says.
“Even though skinny jeans have now been canceled, there is still a trend option out there for the skin-tight denim loyalists,” says Russo. “Cropped, straight-leg jeans are a modern take on the skinny style, and while they do not cling to your body, they do offer a slimmer fit.” She loves the wear-with-anything wash and fading on this pair.
Made to perfectly mimic the look of true “’90s supermodel jeans,” stylists love the classic wash and authentic vintage wear this pair offers. The frayed ankle hem adds a fun touch.
“This option from RE/DONE adds some ’70s-inspired flare to the pinch-waist trend, with a comfortable stretch to boot,” says Blanc. “Their version of the classic jean is meant to hit just above the ankle and is the perfect pair for those looking for a cropped, playful option.”
This sustainable pair of pinch-waist jeans cinches the waist and sculpts the booty for a figure-flattering effect. With a relaxed fit in the legs and a slightly-cropped hemline that shows a sliver of angle, they add just right amount of length, too.
As with all things Everlane, stylists love the effortless appeal of these high-waisted jeans. Designed to capture the look of authentic vintage, they have the added bonus of lifting and sculpting your backside. Oh, and did we mention they come in 12 different washes and colors.
Not ready to give up the skinny jeans, no matter what the Gen Zers tell you? We don’t blame you. Try this high-rise, pinch-waist skinny jean that has a hint of stretch to hug all your curves and can be styled with just about anything.