The Most Flattering High-Waisted Jeans for Every Body Type

High-waisted jeans have been popular on the runways and the streets for several seasons now, but you don’t have to be a supermodel to pull off this timeless trend. It’s surprisingly versatile. The key to finding the perfect pair lies in shopping your shape. Here’s an easy rundown on what to look for so you can avoid a fitting room meltdown.


When you have a petite build, high-waisted denim can give the illusion of height. Skinny jeans, in particular, will elongate the legs. Look for mid- to high-rise pants with an inseam of 29 inches or below. Just steer clear of ultra high-waisted pants or wide-leg trousers — they’ll swallow you whole.


If you carry your weight in your hips, thighs and rear, you’re a pear-shaped woman. If you want to downplay your bottom half, choose mid-rise jeans and layer your look with a blazer that will balance out your hips. Pairing dark washes and light tops will also direct eyes upward. Otherwise, select high-rise jeans with a wide waistband that will give you full coverage and flat, simple pockets that won’t draw extra attention. Boyfriend jeans, straight fits or bootcut denim will all balance your proportions nicely.


Any woman who’s 5 feet 10 inches or above knows that length is the most important feature of a good pair of pants. Play around with high-waisted silhouettes — wide-leg, skinny, boyfriend — but keep your eyes out for inseams that are above 30 inches, preferably over 35 inches. J Brand, 7 For All Mankind, ASOS Tall, Topshop Tall and BLK DNM Tall are all great brands for you.


Plus-size fashion is better than ever. ASOS Curve, NYDJ Plus, Forever 21 Plus, ModCloth, Suki and Carmakoma are just a few of the brands that offer denim sizes over 14. When you’re searching for a high-waisted pair, go for stretchy materials that move when you do and contoured waistbands that fit to your body. Also, double-check the pocket placement before you buy. Too high or too low and the whole fit is off. Back pockets should be flat (no flaps or embellishments) and sit directly in the middle.


If you have an athletic body that’s straight up and down, high-waisted jeans will create curves in a flash. Silhouettes should be skinny or flare at the knee to obtain optimal effect. Additionally, embellishments or distressed jeans will help distract from your linear lines. If you feel like high-waisted jeans are flattening your rear, look for a brand, like BLK DNM, with back pockets that sit higher. It will give you an instant butt lift.


Does your weight gravitate toward your midsection? Then you’re a classic “apple” shape. You’ll want to look for high-rise or ultra high-rise jeans to avoid the dreaded muffin top that often happens with lower rises.


If Kim Kardashian can wear high-waisted jeans, so can you. Lean toward stretchy jeans that give. If you can find a contoured waistband for full coverage, grab a pair. In fact, grab two. Don’t give wide-leg cuts the time of day. They won’t do your curves justice. Straight, flare or skinny cuts will hug you in all the right places and help to define your shape.