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ways to wear: high-rise jeans

With jeans, I’m always looking for the perfect blue.  A true blue without any gray or green, and not a lot of distressing.  Browsing the markdowns at Revolve, I found it, in a J Brand wash called Lotus.  And marked down to $85!  The problem: the only style the color came in was a high-rise flare–a cut that, when done wrong, can be cruel enough to put you off jeans altogether.

But what’s this blog for if not to challenge myself?  Spring is in the air and I’m tired of my skinnies.  And the jeans reminded me of my all-time favorites, a pair of vintage Levis 517s that I had in high school.  The $85 J Brands felt a little like fate.


There are a few reasons why high-rise jeans are so dangerous.  First, the potential for camel toe.  Sorry to get all personal, but the issue of camel toe needs to be addressed.  If you don’t know what it is, google it, but not if you’re at work.  My personal theory for why camel toe happens so often with high rise jeans is because you tend to hike up high-rise jeans, and when you hike too aggressively, that’s when the camel toe happens.  Second danger: pancake ass.  To be Asian is to be at one with the pancake ass.  I could write a book about pancake ass.  High-rise jeans present a high risk of pancake ass because they create the illusion that your butt is longer than it really is.

I think the temptation with high-rise jeans is to wear something longer on top to cover some of the rise in the back so your butt doesn’t look so long.  But if you’re feeling like a challenge, try pairing a high rise with a cropped sweater.  The whole point of a high rise is the 70s feel, and you miss out on a lot of that if you just cover up the waist.  And for me, the pairing seemed to create curves where I don’t really have any, so that’s an added bonus.  Be careful what you layer under a cropped sweater.  Too long, and you’ll ruin the look.

Or Don’t Tuck

If you’re reading this and you just can’t get behind the tucking in, I hear you.  But consider this: a pair of high rise jeans is better than a pair of Spanx for slimming, if you’re going to be wearing the jeans under tops that you don’t intend to tuck in.  The high rise will cover your stomach and kind of tighten up the area, so they are a solid choice for pairing with tops made of slinkier materials (like jersey–God I hate jersey).  Just make sure to get the sizing right.  If they aren’t tight enough, they will just add more material to the belly area, instead of sucking you in.

Back to Basics

At my core, I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl.  But the t-shirt has to be right.  I hate tight necklines and the sleeve has to be short, but not too short.  The t-shirt below has been my standby since law school.  I have it in four colors.  I wear it to bed, I wear it to work out, and now I wear it with my high-rise jeans.  It’s also actually $22, not $24, but it’s been a long weekend and I’m too tired to fix the price in the photo below.  The tri-blend fabric is especially good with the high-rise because it underscores that 70s vibe.

Other stuff I intend to wear these jeans with: a tight black turtleneck with a big earthy necklace over it (think Ali McGraw).  Or belted, with a chambray button-down, for a little denim-on-denim action.  I’ll lose the boots when it gets warm and wear them with wedges and a tank.

Have I convinced you even a little?

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Kroger #

    Yoona: I’ve given your advice careful thought. Alas, I just don’t think I can pull the high-rises off. Michele and I love your blog!

    January 31, 2012
  2. “To be Asian is to be at one with the pancake ass.”

    You need to put this on a T shirt.

    January 31, 2012
    • i would, if i thought i’d sell more than three.

      January 31, 2012
  3. Evidence that you look absolutely gorgeous in anything. Not fair!

    Question: who should *not* wear high-rise jeans? I’m thinking my Asian pancake ass and average (= not tall) height makes me a Don’t.

    January 30, 2012
    • i can think of a few body types that might not be great for this–maybe people with curvier hips (unless you also have a tiny middle–and if you have this figure type, i hate you) or short torsos–but you aren’t one of them. i don’t think average height is a deal-breaker at all–just try them on with your tallest shoes and make sure to tailor the hem to the right length.

      generally when you are hemming flares, be careful not to cut too much off the bottom, because it is going to change the look of the flare (because you are chopping them at a narrower part of the leg). if you like a super flared leg, maybe look for a pair that aren’t super long to begin with (i think the pair above were a 35″). i’m going to keep an eye out for a pair for you…

      January 30, 2012
  4. Pancake ass? In our house we call it cracker ass, since my (and my daughter’s) ass is as flat as a cracker. Glad we’re not the only ones!

    January 30, 2012
  5. Yeah, I’m convinced YOU can pull it off haha! 🙂

    January 30, 2012
    • “pulling it off” is all in the mind when it comes to fashion. 🙂

      January 30, 2012
  6. Fia #

    Cool! I wear high waist skinny legs today. But I’m still a chicken when it comes to tucking in the t-shirt. I dare sometimes though so I guess I’m making progress. 🙂

    January 30, 2012
    • baby steps, fia. 🙂 i suck in a lot when i tuck…the things we do for fashion, right?

      January 30, 2012
      • Fia #

        Haha! Baby steps is something at least. For some reason I find it easier to wear high waist shorts. I’ve no explanation why, but I dare to wear cropped t-shirts with shorts, but not with jeans. Yes, I can hear how silly I sound 😛

        February 1, 2012
  7. Courtney #

    I love high(er) rise jeans because I struggle w/ a muffin top, and low rise jeans are like a stage for introducing your muffin top to the world. Those jeans look cute on you. I think flares look good on most women, especially if you have any kind of longer legs.

    I think that the kinds of jeans/tops you can pair has an enormous amount to do with your waist length, torso / leg ratio, and chest size. And, I think you’re the person who told me that w/ sunglasses and jeans, buy what looks good on you rather than what’s in style, and that was great advice.

    January 30, 2012
    • flares are universally flattering, unless they are too tight at the knee. the thing is, no matter what you are wearing with your jeans, chances are you aren’t tucking your shirt in anyway. so people should strap that sucker down! i feel like i’ve found my mission in life: to proselytize about high waisted jeans…

      January 30, 2012
  8. bora #

    your butt looks DAMN good, cousin.

    January 30, 2012
    • Veronica #

      Loving the Fimo necklace by Finn! You wear it well 🙂

      January 30, 2012
      • veronica, did he make it with you? can’t beat a kid’s natural sense for color…

        January 30, 2012
    • dude that photo was supposed to be a joke. note you cannot click on it to make it bigger

      January 30, 2012

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