How to Wear It: High-Waisted Jeans

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Flattering Outfit Ideas for Wearing High-Rise Denim

Street style star Lauren Santo Domingo in high rise jeans
Street style star Lauren Santo Domingo in high rise jeans. Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

High-waisted jeans are a popular denim trend that's become a go-to style for fashion editors, celebrities and street style stars. While high-rise jeans can be surprisingly flattering to many body shapes, many women find this denim style a hard one to pull off. After plenty of experimentation, I've pulled together this outfit guide to help you wear the new high-waisted jeans trend without adding unwanted bulk to your bottom, or venturing into dreaded mom jeans territory. Take a look at these styling options for high-waisted jeans, including tips for how make this fashionable style work for your body type.

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Can You Pull Off High-Waisted Jeans?

High waisted jeans can do wonders for some body types. Court

High-waisted jeans can flatter more than one figure type — but the truth is, not all women will look great in them. Here are some general guidelines on the body types these jeans look best on:

Hourglass shape: You may be surprised at how well this jean flatters your figure. A higher rise can eliminate muffin top problems for an hourglass, while holding in your tummy and showing off your small natural waist. When shopping for a high-rise jean, look for a pair with a contoured waistband that's higher in the back, to eliminate gapping at the waist.

Pear shape: High-waisted jeans paired with a blousy, tucked-in top can look great on a pear-shaped body, giving you an hourglass silhouette. Choose a jean with ample stretch (1-3% elastane) for comfort, and cinch in your waist with a belt. High heels are also a must to visually lengthen legs.

Slender shape: A higher rise works to call attention to your hips and rear end, making your bottom half appear more shapely.

Apple shape: You're not the best candidate for high-waisted jeans, which can emphasize a tummy. The exception is jeans with built-in tummy control. We pick our favorites here.

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Casual Everyday Look in High-Rise Jeans

Pilcro Skinny High Waisted Jeans. Pilcro

Here's an easy, stylish outfit in high-waisted jeans that will take you from running errands to picking up the kids. Pair high rise skinny jeans with a fitted tee-shirt and loafers. Dress up this outfit for brunch with friends or shopping in the city, by adding a blazer and a skinny scarf.

Get street style inspiration for dressing up basic jeans.

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Wear High-Rise Jeans With a Crop Top

Court high rise jeans. Court

Patterned jeans with a high-rise waist are the perfect match for an abbreviated top. The higher waistband of the pants reveal just a sliver of skin at the middle, making this outfit wearable for all figures. What else makes this outfit work so well is the slim fit of the jeans — notice how they hug the model's curves without squeezing tightly enough to reveal any bumps. The top is also swingy, not tight. Wedge heels are a trendy choice to give you height for daytime. You can dress up this outfit for a date by adding a big statement necklace and platform heeled shoes.

Get more ideas for what kind of shoes to wear with slim jeans.

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Tough Chic Look in High-Waisted Jeans

Levi's High Waist Skinny Jeans. Levi Strauss & Co.

There's something fabulous about juxtaposing masculine-inspired separates with womanly high waisted denim. For a sexy, borrowed-from-the-boys style, wear your high-rise jeans with a feminine top and a leather biker jacket. Pull long hair into a ponytail to play up the androgynous style. You can make this look even tougher by wearing a simple white tank top under the jacket — just be careful to balance your outfit with shoes that keep it feminine. Avoid wearing heavy soled boots or sneakers, which looks dated now.

Check out 28 chic ways to wear a leather jacket with jeans.

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Bohemian Look in High-Waisted Jeans

Second Denim High Rise Skinny Jean. Second Denim

Are you a bohemian type? Create an updated take on the typical boho-chic summer outfit by pairing skinny high waist jeans with a feminine white top. Choosing a skinny fit of denim — instead of the typical bohemian flared jeans — makes this style feel fresh. Keep things casual by wearing minimal makeup and letting your hair's natural texture flow freely (too much grooming will play against this look). To dress up this look for work or play, simply add fashionable finishing touches such as a brightly-colored clutch purse and notice-me ankle boots.

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Double Denim Outfit for Casual Days

Street style in double denim
Double denim look. Haute on Life

If you're on the curvy side, you'll like the way a higher waistband shapes your hip line in jeans. For a stylish double denim look, wear a fitted button-down chambray shirt untucked over a pair of jeans with a higher rise. Unbutton the top few buttons of the shirt and roll up the sleeves for an outfit that's subtly sexy and works to camouflage those areas you'd rather not show off. Choose a cropped jean fit if you have slim ankles, and match your jeans with shoes in a similar shade to visually lengthen legs.

Get great ideas for how to style a denim shirt.

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Classic Style in High-Rise Patterned Jeans

Kut from the Kloth printed jeans. Kut from the Kloth

Pretty patterned jeans look dressier in a high-waisted fit. Wear your printed jeans to work by pairing them with a crisp, white button-down shirt and classic accessories. All you need is a statement bag, high heel pumps and quality sunglasses to take this look to the office on jeans days. You can also layer on a blazer or cardigan to make this outfit work for meetings and presentations. Then dress up your look for evening by layering on a statement necklace — wear it over the shirt to look fashionable now — and swapping your work shoes for sexy wedge sandals.

Get more ideas for wearing jeans to the office.

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Shop the Trend: Levi's 721 High-Rise Skinny Jeans

721 High Rise Skinny Jeans, Levi's®, $83
721 High Rise Skinny Jeans, Levi's®, $83. Levi Strauss & Co.

These high-rise jeans from the Levi's® brand are an affordable, stylish option for casual wear. Designed to fit and flatter curves, these jeans are crafted from stretchy, soft denim fabric to hold you in and enhance your natural shape. High-rise waistband holds in a tummy and looks great with tucked-in tops, with or without a belt. Roll the cuffs for an updated look. Available in a wide range of rinses, from the palest blue to deep indigos and an inky black.

Sizes: 24-32
Price: About $83

Buy Levi's 721 High Rise Skinny Jeans on Amazon

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Shop the Trend: 7 for All Mankind High-Waist Skinny Jeans

High-Waist Skinny Jeans in Slim Illusion Black, 7 for all Mankind, $189
High-Waist Skinny Jeans in Slim Illusion Black, 7 for all Mankind, $189. 7 for all Mankind

I'm a big fan of 7 for All Mankind jeans, which are famous for their leg-slimming properties. These super-comfortable, soft skinny jeans sit close to the natural waist and feature a higher back rise, so they won't gap when you sit or bend over. Tone-on-tone top-stitching keeps the finish clean and sleek, for a very streamlined look. If your rear end can use a lift, you'll also appreciate the way these jeans shape your behind and give it a higher look, thanks to their genius construction and back pocket placement. This is a great, go-to jean for wearing to the office on denim-friendly days.

Sizes: 23-32
Price: About $189

Buy 7 for All Mankind High-Waist Skinny Jeans on Amazon

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Shop the Trend: Rag & Bone High Rise Skinny Jeans

High Rise Skinny Jeans, Rag & Bone, $185
High Rise Skinny Jeans, Rag & Bone, $185. Rag & Bone

These high-rise skinny jeans in a dark wash from designer brand Rag & Bone are a great investment jeans. Crafted from premium, stretch-denim fabric that looks and feels high-quality, these ankle-length skinny jeans feature classic hardware, 5-pocket styling and back pockets with the brand's signature contrast stitching. Easily dressed up or down, you can wear these jeans to the office, for the cocktail hour and date nights out.

Sizes: 24-32
Price: About $250

Buy Rag & Bone High Rise Skinny Jeans on Amazon