I’m Sorry But Low-Rise Jeans Might Be Coming Back
08.11.17

The Cut recently published an article entitled, “We Regret to Inform You That Belly Buttons Are Making a Comeback.” This news was disturbing enough in its own right, especially following the announcement that boobs are back (mine never left), but the true gravity of the situation hit me when I read the following proclamation: “Their prominence…comes as the result of tank tops getting shorter, while waistlines simultaneously fall lower.”

Here I was, innocently assuming we’d learned our lesson after the low-rise tragedy of the late ’90s/early aughts, while solar plexuses were quietly scheming for a comeback. Am I being dramatic, or should the words “waistlines” and “fall lower” be flagged by concerned citizens when witnessed in close succession?

I am a citizen, and I am concerned.

I’m pretty sure I still have a callus where stomach meets pelvis thanks to all the lower abdominal abuse I endured by way of bootcut True Religions. My love handles only recently started speaking to me again, and I have yet to earn the forgiveness of my muffin top. Frankly, after what I put them through, I don’t blame them.

Photo by Gotham/GC Images via Getty

I’ll admit high-waist jeans aren’t much better when it comes to abdominal digging, but they make up for it by at least being flattering. I would take them over their low-rise cousins any day of the week.

When I read Pandora’s style story about the return of 2000s denim, I was relieved that her cited examples still featured high-rise waistbands, but I should have known those were merely early indicators — the tips of this whiskered Titanic’s iceberg.

Am I the only one stressing out? Is low-rise denim really making a comeback?  I took a big old breath and examined the mounting evidence:

First we have Bella Hadid photographed on July 26th, who is seemingly minding her own beeswax (while perhaps retrieving Advil from her jean jacket pocket to relieve the inevitable headache of Sienna Miller’s anti-aging trick) but in reality is reawakening the sleeping beast that is a denim waistband swooping lower than an inebriated swing dance dip at a country club wedding.

A post shared by BIG BOSS 🔑🔑 (@keke) on

Next we have Keke Palmer in an Instagram posted May 2nd, 2017, exiting what looks to be a run-of-the-mill black SUV but could very well be a mobile clubhouse for low-slung denim enthusiasts wherein like-minded members nosh on canapés and collude with the heiress of the YKK zipper fortune about how to shore up supplies.

Photos via Vogue Runway

And finally, we have jeans on the runway at Dior, Alexander McQueen and Tommy Hilfiger Spring/Summer 2017, slung lower than a sweet chariot.

How could I have been so blind?

Whether or not the above is enough evidence to constitute the beginnings of a comeback, it’s certainly cause for concern if you ask me. Am I being unfair? Am I too blinded by my personal bias? I invite you to click through the slideshow below and decide for yourself if we, i.e. SOCIETY, should let this happen. Tell me your thoughts in the comments. My belly button is standing by and will rally if necessary.

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  • Hanna Lane

    I mean…it feels like the evidence is sparse. Maybe I’m just being hopeful – I have a drawer full of high-rise jeans I quite like – but I feel like a Bella Hadid sighting and a snap of Kendall Jenner in her undies are not very earth-bending in the world of fashion.

  • Not in my house, they are not. So should you need a sanctuary ..

  • Andrea Raymer

    I do not need this negativity in my life.

  • Jenny

    Okay, let’s try a solution-focused approach here: How can we make this stop?

    • Jules

      I’m laughing out loud

    • Harling Ross

      i’m in.

    • Time to invest in some sort of ‘As Seen on TV’ product: Waisties! They add your waist back in when your jeans are lettin’ it all hang out!

    • eizhowa

      Low to mid rise black jeans look great with a white button down shirt tucked in. You don’t need to do the crop top thing to be fair. And the look works even if you have a small muffin top (like most women with any curves do)… That is how I survived the last time.

      • Martine

        They do not look great with anything. They make everyone’s body look out of proportion. Even if you have amazing, perfect abs they look utter crap. They make legs look weird and short. But they will never come back they way they did before. A few people will wear them. But most people won’t.

        • eizhowa

          Do you not think it is a bit arrogant to assume you know what flatters every single body type (both horizontal and vertical)? I happen to have very long hips, and jeans that cut my hips in half vertically actually balances me out. My long hips are the most disproportionate body part, and low rise jeans counteracts this while high rise jeans only emphasize my long hips. Who wants hips (almost) as long as your legs? I don’t.

          • Martine

            Its not arrogance, its simple logic. the human proportions look best when not distorted to make the torso look four miles long, and legs look teeny and short. If you have long hips, all the better to go to the smallest part. Because otherwise your long torso will be the star of the show, and that is much worse. The only thing worse then low rise jeans are those super mloong shirts. But hey, wear what you like. You do you.

          • eizhowa

            I have a friend with a very short waist and ridicilously long legs and I can tell you that the “the higher the leg/torso ratio the better”-theory is not true. She looks weird and gangly when in heels, and like a model when wearing flats. Brigitte Bardot had perfect proportions (mathematically), and there are plenty of women with longer legs that her. Personally, I would rather look like Bardot than a spider. I don’t know which “logic” you are referring to, but the perfect human proportions has for a long time been considered to be those which conform with the golden ratio (like Bardot).

            Kylie Minogue will (when standing alone) look just as tall as Keira Knightley, despite Keira beeing 4+ inches taller, simply because she has proportions that conform with the golden ratio.

          • Alysia

            I agree! As a teen in the 80’s, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t wear (high waisted) jeans, they made me look overweight and frumpy. As soon as low rise jeans come out, it put my (long legs/short torso) in proportion. I’ve been waiting for this day for years lol. Bring it on!

  • PCE

    I refuse to be a part of this.

  • NOOOOOO

  • Emily R

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • I will rally with you! We can’t let them come back!

  • Dulce Partida

    First I was shock! But then I remembered I still wear my American Eagle artist jeans which are really low… so I guess I’m kinda prepared for this comeback haha

  • The horror!

  • Ash

    Nope. The top of my buttcrack has not seen the light of day since junior high (maybe high school, but by then I was wearing baggy hoodies…so it was probably hidden underneath…although I’m sure there were many times it peeked out). It will be staying nice and cozy in my high-waisted jeans, thankyouverymuch.

  • Frieda

    Just no.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I’ve never worn low rise jeans and an exposed midriff. I’ll stick with my Gloria Vanderbilts from Costco.

  • La la la la la I can’t hear you la la la 🙉🙉🙉

  • Cristina

    My muffin top and I won’t be partaking. But I guess if we’re freeing the nipple, might as well free the butt crack while we’re at it? Cause that’s what I remember about low-rise jeans, not being able to bend over.

    • lateshift

      a muffin top just means you haven’t found the right pair yet. The right low-waisted fit –
      which is different for every person – won’t give you one. Doesn’t matter what size you are.

  • Ellen

    It’s not over till the thongs are peaking above the waistbands, right?

  • Isabela

    i will never ever wear this again

  • Crayons in My Louboutins

    Oh dear Universe, have mercy…

  • theysayshycity

    Okay, I know flattering isn’t the point of fashion, but if they don’t look good on Bella Hadid…..I’m doomed.

    You can pry my high rise everything out of my cold, dead hands

  • I recently put on my “painting pants” for the first time in a while, and realized they were purchased in the early aughts when I was horrified by how low they were and much I felt like they were going to fall off (not to mention how I really couldn’t wear underwear with them). I’ll stick to high-rise, thanks.

  • Emmie

    hard hard pass

  • Anna

    It ain’t over till TSwift shows her belly button – that would be cause for panic.

    • Harling Ross

      tru

  • Verónica Villarroel

    Ideal! Taking notes!

    Have a nice weekend,
    Verónica

    Blog: WISH LIST AUGUST 17’ http://www.it-moi.com ♥♥
    Youtube Channel: NEW VIDEO: MEGA HAUL VERANO https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs4ylV9u2IlYDxRXcroi6jg

  • I’LL NEVER GO BACK! YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE!

  • Meg Castellano

    srsly hoping that this is just a temporary ramification of the upcoming solar eclipse

  • magicalhat

    No not the tiny zippers !!

  • Shevaun

    Next stop: belly button piercings.

  • Still traumatized by the first wave of these pants being in style. I knew a girl in school whose pants were so low you could see her pubic hair….

  • birdghosts

    Over here in Hungary they never left. I need to fight for high rise/mid rise jeans all the time.

  • Court E. Thompson

    I audibly said “nooooo” when I read the title of this. (My baby boomer/older Gen X coworkers were concerned….then they laughed at me). Then I put down the peanut butter m&m I was eating because low-rises offer no forgiveness.

  • Jane

    I read the title of this and I morphed into the blinking guy gif

    • Kittybat

      LOL COMMENT OF THE YEAR

  • Katie

    Controversial opinion — low rise jeans are extremely good for curvy people and they are the only kind of jeans I wear.

    • Anni

      They are also really good if you have long legs but a short torso – a lot of high waisted stuff on me (especially the super high waisted) make me look kind of like a children’s doll where my legs look very ungainly on me.

      • Nina Z.

        Agreed. Just because you wear low rise jeans, it doesn’t mean you have to expose yourself. For some body types they are very flattering.

        • MippysMom

          Same here. Being short and short-waisted, high-rise pants/jeans often catch a rib or two on me, and are really uncomfortable. Add a pair of G-cups into the mix, and you come up with some very unflattering proportions!

    • lateshift

      yep. Much as I might wish it weren’t so, this is 100% accurate. High-waisted jeans look best on skinny girls with small butts, who look good IN SPITE OF the cut — because they’d look good in a paper bag — not because of it. Granted, that hasn’t kept me from adopting the high waisted look anyway, even with my…more generous proportions, just for the sheer peace of mind factor. But you are correct: low waists make curvy gals look hot. Always.

      I think people may not realize this because jeans are kind of like bras in that the right one, properly fitted, makes the average woman look like a supermodel…but it’s a pain in the butt to find the perfect one, and most people HAVEN’T been properly fitted, and aren’t wearing the right size/cut, but don’t realize it at all.

      • Kimbones

        I know you’re only generalising, but I’m far from skinny and I look amazing in high waisted jeans. Pull me together, pull my tummy in, I love them. Low waists look abominable. I hate having to hold my stomach in all day using my actual stomach muscles. That’s what nice firm denim is for.

      • Martine

        Uh no. Normal waisted jeans look good on pretty much everyone. Even if you have amazing waist, low rise makes legs look short. really, really short. The waist is the waist. Thast where the waist should be. You know? the waist shouldn’t be at the hip. Its not called the hip. I refuse to wear them simply because theya re stupid, and you need stretchy fabrick to even make it happen. Truth is, they are not coming back. A few really “hip” women will wear them sometimes. Its just how hip huggers were in the 70’s…no one wore them all that much.

    • eizhowa

      They are also good if you have long hips (yes, thats a thing). You have to work to avoid the muffin top, but vertically it makes you much more balanced.

    • Hayley

      They are also flattering if they’re not SUPER low rise, like the True Religion jeans of yesteryear. If they’re a couple inches below the belly-button, I think they can look really good.

  • Mariana Raposo

    God no. If they come back I certainly won’t be wearing them.

  • Lorena

    I honestly rather have this than bell pants… Although Im a trooper for hugh wasted pants!

    • Gaby

      Exactly what I was going to comment.

  • Emily

    It was only a matter of time. When you see a teenage girl at a donut shop wearing the 90s (black-white checkered, very mini mini skirt , high pony, mini backpack), you know the fashionably initiated must be moving on to early aughts and Marissa Cooper. Sigh….

  • Diana McNeill

    Fashion is cyclical. We’ll see how this awful trend is improved in our time.

  • L Winfree

    Nope. All kinds of nope.

    Pretty sure my pelvis is still regaining normal blood circulation years after self-inflicted low-rise jeans.

  • Sarah Sickles

    I’m still convinced that low-rise jeans ruined my body as I grew through puberty!

    • Alexandra Marie

      SAME. I developed a belly shelf that never goes away.
      I’m 8 months pregnant and I’m actually hoping the mom stomach will be an upgrade :/.

      • Sarah Sickles

        Right?! I literally have a rounded indent on the bottom of my muffin top from the buttons of low rise jeans. DOWN WITH THAT TREND.

        • Lauren Melonic

          I thought I was the only one! Terrible..

  • Pterodactyl111

    I’m starting to think my secret plan to only wear dresses and skirts forever is a really good one.

  • Bo

    NOT COOL, HARLING

  • No no NOOOOOOOOOOO. This in response to the headline alone. I will now proceed to read the article.

  • Megan

    nooo not a fan and they make a torso look so damn LONG

  • Kay Nguyen

    Oh no, we can’t do this again to humanity…

    https://www.myblackcloset.com

  • gracesface

    My eyes!!! My eyes!!!

  • Allie

    Republican in office…low rise jeans.

    • prairie dogs

      I had this thought, too! God just considering the trumpification of fashion makes me want to weep

      • Martine

        Never let reality stand in the way of a good lie. Regan 1980 to 1989. Clinton 1993 to 2001. This is why I am starting to give up on being a liberal myself.The attitude.

    • Martine

      Try reading a book. No. Normal rise jeans have been the way jeans were worn during the Regan era. You know; 1981 to 1989. Its during the Clinton years that low rise showed up for the first time.

  • Sha sha Chu

    If I have Bella Hadid’s bod – I would wear them 🙂

  • afaithleader

    I have a theory is that this is only a temporary reflexive swing into lowwaistedness as we adjust to the fact that we should wear something other than jeans

  • dietcokehead

    This was absolutely not the denim problem that needed solving. STOP THE CROP

    • Martine

      No. The crop isn’t a big deal. Don’t wear it if you don’t like. But low rise jeans are equally ugly in every shape.

  • Natalie L Howlett

    Nooo I have a somewhat bizarrely deep belly button and if it is allowed freedom I may begin to lose things in it.

  • Jessica

    Nooooo. I could pull those off in my 20’s but not anymore. Regular-rise sometimes has a hard time covering my very round butt, never mind low rise 10 years past my body prime. My days of wearing standing pants are over (so called as they were cut so low that if I attempted to sit, my bum would be mostly revealed.) I’m going to stick to my menocore which I have embraced with fury.

  • Whatever, I’ll keep on wearing my high rise jeans. They make my legs look way longer than they actually are and they don’t give me constant paranoia that I have plumber butt.

  • Nope nope nope nope nope nope

  • Caitlin Gene
  • Donata

    Absolutely not, nopety, nope, nooohohoho! Anybody who’s chases after kids (I have three) and needs to bend down 634 times a day will agree with me. I will spare the world the sight of my buttcrack while wrangling a toddler, tyvm.

  • Hannah T.

    “One does not simply…wear low rise jeans”

  • Although I wholeheartedly agree with you Harling, I have to say I am really into the Naomi Campbell #7 look.

  • lateshift

    The funny thing is, as a short-torsoed and large hipped lady, I will be the first to admit that low-waist jeans are actually far more flattering than high-waisted…first because they elongate the body, second because high-waisted jeans viewed from the back make the expanse of my ass look never-ending, whereas a low-waisted look both reduces and emphasizes the butt, both in all the right ways. Most importantly, while a 30-something woman wearing mom jeans risks looking like…well, like a mom (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), low-waisted jeans are always hot.

    AND YET…this story has me sobbing hot tears of frustration and loss. I have loved – LOVED – never having to spend one blessed minute thinking about my abs. I haven’t been to pilates in two years. At this point, I’ve gotten rid of most of my long shirts (no, I am not down with the short shirt/short rise look. NO.) In short: I’M NOT READY.

    People: This does not have to happen. This doesn’t happen unless we let it happen. #Resist

  • I feel like most of my comments on MR are actually me repeating what’s been written but jeez, some sentences deserve endless repetition. “…a denim waistband swooping lower than an inebriated swing dance dip at a country club wedding.” YAS Harling how do you do it?!

  • Kaylyn

    the only way i will take off my high-waist jeans is if you pry them off my body

  • MAKE IT STOOOOPPP NOOOOo

  • Kittybat

    I’m excited to dress like Paris Hilton again. Said me by me and only me.

  • cat

    I don’t want life to feel like a bad early 2000’s movie.

  • Basil

    I am pro low rise, though not the Britney level, simply because I was a teen in the mid 90s and therefore did not wear any trousers that covered my belly button during my formative years. I still find it odd. BUT, that was always balanced with a shirt (be it to shirt or otherwise) that respectfully grazed my butt. I just CANNOT go back to those awful t shirts that were always too short. And this time around, I’ll be twice post partum and it’s unfair for me (and the rest of humanity) to inflict that on anyone with eyes. Not exposing my belly to the world is a public service basically

    I say we nip this in the bud, take a stand, or else I just wear dresses for the foreseeable future

  • Leliforever

    Time to stock up on (even more) high waisted culottes

  • DA

    I refuse to engage in this anti feminist movement. Why are designers trying to make our legs look shorter and our butts look misshapen (half squashed in and the other hanging out), all the while emphasising how much our generous stomachs jiggle. Not to mention the ugly midriff roll over tummy roll look that happens with tight strapless bras under crop tops joined my low slung jeans. Just let us live our best lives in high rise jeans.

  • Kat

    I am in complete agreement with the commentariti – this must not happen again. Surely we have learned from the mistakes of the past?!
    I am talking about the super super low rise though – may every person choose a (normal) low / mid / high rise as suits the length of their torso and legs.
    This is a length issue not size of bum – mine’s pretty large but I have a proportionately small waist so high waists are my friend. Also they hold in the “cute” tummy bulge I have developed in the last 10 years, so… yeah I’m not going back to low rise, no way!

  • elpug

    no thank you. high rise for days please. my torso looks like its ten miles long while my legs look like thumbs in low rise jeans.

  • I think I’m the only one who’s pretty happy about it because basically I never stopped wearing them

  • Meredith

    Scream, cry, throw up.

  • lillian c.

    hell i am so pissed abt this. been riding that tiny titty mom jean wave for TOO LONG

  • Val

    After going through the denial stage… I quickly came to the conclusion that it’s time to start the sit-ups and abdominal workouts.

  • Devon

    No, no, no, no, no, no. Even when I was a taught, eighteen year old, living my best life in the early-aughts, I couldn’t do low-rise without a minimum of three-inches butt crack showing. I’ve got an ample bootie, that sits quite high. High-rise pants are a revelation and I won’t stop.

  • Anne

    Lo rise can help even a muffin top – longer legs and camiflough waistline tricks — hi rise horrible horrible horrible

  • C. Killion

    Sticking with my original Levi’s 501’s, thank you.

  • No 😳

  • Trixie

    Mid rise…could be ok. But the ridiculous extreme low ones….nop I’m not in the mood of showing my underwear or not be moving at all!!!

  • yassqueeeen

    Crop tops with low rise jeans should never be a thing *shudders*

    • Cellardoor

      exactly. The only thing tackier than the 80s was the 2000s crop top and low rise jean with thong phase. Vomit.

  • Lauren Slezak

    you can’t make me go to the gym.

  • Vida Rose

    Nooooooooooooo

  • Vida Rose

    These were all you could find in the early 2000’s. Even non-denim pants were low cut. At that time I was in my early 20’s and had no idea how to shop. Basically my stomach was exposed for three years, not in a cute way. I honestly didn’t like it and I didn’t know how to prevent it. My shirts didn’t cover my stomach and neither did my pants, and I couldn’t figure it out. I suppose there are more options out there now as the whole world of shopping and styling has been transformed by the internet. So the full horror of low cut pants as I experienced them cannot be repeated. I just want everyone to have access to clothes that cover their stomachs, if that is what they so desire.

  • This had me so riled up, i read it last night on my phone and had to come back just to comment this morning from my desktop. All I have to say is – please please pleeeeease no! My tramp stamp (a sun) does not need to see daylight, thanks.I do see it happening though…so im just going to brace myself

  • Cellardoor

    but the kiera knightley pic is older. during the time when it was all about high waisted, and it never became a thing. pretty sure this will fade out fast. If it doesn’t, i will happily bypass this gross trend.

  • FYamandajane

    I am silently crying tears of horror at the thought of having to squat awkwardly again to pick up loose change/tampon/something random I have dropped from my handbag without exposing my bum crack to the world/splitting skin tight jeans at the seams. Gone are the days of thinking it was ‘cute’ to be able to see the top of my branded underwear ( and also having a relatively flat, gawky, pre-pubescent body)
    My Palms Are Sweating. Waaaaaahhhhh!!!!

  • Sigggi

    When we will learn that OUR WALLETS actually dictate the trends?
    Let’s ignore it and it will go away

  • Sophie Kreuze

    I knew I was right by saving my low-rise Levi’s bought in 2009!

  • Martine

    not going there. Vogue is trying really hard to make it happen. Im not going there.

  • mia |-/

    Can the fashion world not take away the best thing to happen to my ass? That waist to hip ratio in high waisted? Low-rise could never

  • Elizabeth Ropp

    my favorite pants are J Crew Favorite Fit. they don’t make them anymore, so I have been ordering them off of Ebay for about 5 years.

  • nikki

    I love low rise jeans!!!! I can’t wait for them to come back!!!! Being 5 ft 4in tall and 100lbs, they are the only jeans that flatters my body, Anything even midrise is over my belly button. I have been reduced to wearing old jeans which are not going to make it much longer. Some of my favorites are ripped and can’t be worn. High rise jeans make everyone who wears them look fatter than what they are and don’t even get me started on the view in the front. UGH!!!

  • rsb97080

    DISLIKE.