Already Prettypoll: Low Rise, Mid Rise, or High Rise?

I am a high rise girl TO THE END. My baguette-shaped lower tummy forces anything lower than natural waist to create some serious abdominal subdivisions. Like me, many clients and friends were scarred by the low-rise-only 90s, and rejoice that comfy, fabulous high rises are available to us once more.

But I know full well that high rises won’t work for everyone. If you carry your weight in your midsection and have narrow hips, a mid or low rise could be perfect. Depending on your torso and leg lengths, high rises may be uncomfortable and unflattering. It’s all down to personal preference and comfort.

How about you? Do you prefer a low rise, mid rise, or high rise on your pants and jeans? Why does this style work for you?

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27 Responses to “Already Prettypoll: Low Rise, Mid Rise, or High Rise?”

  1. Zaianya

    Grew up in the 90s, and man, did that do some awful things to my notion of jeans and how they were supposed to fit. This blog was a big part of making me a convert to high rise jeans (previously I’d had trouble even finding them). So, high-rise forever <3

    EDIT: Oh, and they work because they don't dig into my stomach or fall off halfway through the day (anything too low doesn't make it over the top of my hips, and thus has nothing to support it once the cotton starts to stretch out).

  2. jan.4987

    Great question.

    You know the measurement from one’s navel to one’s crotch? There’s a name for it that I can never remember. It varies a lot from person to person, anyway, and considering I’m of average height mine is ludicrously long. Combine that with a big backside and mid-rises come up low on me. Luckily I like the look and feel of a low rise, so I have more freedom and choice than if I wanted a high one, but if I were to buy and wear an actual low rise… uh… no bystanders would thank me!

    I like a low rise partly because I have some problems with posture and the top hits my hips and abdomen at a good place to give me a little more support and sensation that helps me use the right muscles. Why I like the appearance of it I’m not sure, it just looks right on me to me.

    I love the mid- and high-rise looks on other people though, especially a kind of 70s high style.

      • jan.4987

        Maybe in *clothes*, I’m talking about anatomy. There may be regional differences, of course; where I am the only term I’ve ever heard used has the word “bridge” in it. My memory may be too much of a wreck to remember the rest of it, but it’s not so bad that I wouldn’t have recognised the term if it had appeared in an article directly relevant to it.

  3. Amy

    Ha! It’s funny to hear your story as I am the opposite. All through the late 80s and early 90s I was rolling down my pants trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to make them low rise and was gleeful when low rise pants (particularity jeans) came into fashion. Now I am again sad as it becomes increasingly hard to find them. This time at least I’m significantly more sophisticated about tailoring. I’m hourglass and I’ve always tried to show off the tummy and waist (and de-emphasize the hips and thighs) and as long as I can keep my bum covered (you can go too low rise) and the fit is right, I think low rises do this best.

    Also as an aside – is it possible to buy women’s jeans that are not stretchy and thin? I want jeans to be jeans and for both these reasons I’ve started buying men’s jeans and having them altered.

    • crtfly

      I’ve been buying men’s jeans for years. I have always done better with them. Even the cheap ones are thicker material and better made than the cheap women’s jeans. The standard, I guess they’re called ‘classic’ men’s jeans, have the correct rise for me. I think it’s somewhere between high rise and mid-rise. At least that’s how the waist hits on me. Also I like it that men’s jeans have more choices in inseams than women’s do.

      • Amy

        With you 100%. I love the heavier material and less stretch. The men’s style I look for is not the classic but the – no idea what it is called but “younger” cut – so they fall somewhere on the low/mid rise scale – still lowish but covering the bum. I used to have jeans from -of all places – the Victoria Secret mail catalog that were perfect (heavy material and low but not butt showing low). I wore them so much the thighs finally ripped and I was devastated to find they no longer make them.

  4. jdc

    For me, high-rise fit better (I have a long torso), but mid-rise look better. I have pants/jeans in both.

  5. Joni S Sancken

    This is a “fit” concern that has been a recent revelation to me. My personal body “rise” is relatively short. I have a longer and lean torso with a flat tummy so lower rise pants and jeans fit way better for me. I’ve struggled with finding a good fit on boyfriend styles that have way too much material in the crotch. When the rise is too long on pants, the pants are droopy and wrinkle oddly. Fortunately most brands make trousers and jeans in a range of rises. Also a tailor can help–I’ve had the rise taken-up in some suit pants.

  6. Thekat

    Hate high rise! I have a very short torso, so my waist, navel and bottom rib are all more or less in the same place. Hence, high rise jeans end up suffocatingly high. Low rise are what I spent all of my adolescence wearing (90’s/early 2000’s, of course), and because of my torso length, they’re ok, but these days, something mid-rise seems to be most comfy.

  7. Ilaniel

    I’m a classic hourglass shape (bust/hips within an inch of each other; waist 10 inches smaller) and I’ve received a lot of advice from well-meaning folks to look into high-rise pants, but man, I hate them! I find they cut into my waist when I sit or bend over and they’re just super uncomfortable, so I am a mid-rise lady. Truly low rises tend not to adequately cover my butt, though, so I avoid them.

  8. Monica H

    I’m a mid-low rise girl. I am short waisted, so the lower rise gives me more visual balance between my top and bottom halves. In addition I have curvy hips and butt, but I’m very straight from hips to waist, so it’s hard to find high rise pants that fit well in all areas. Low rise probably fits me best, but then I have an issue with tops being too short since I’m also tall, so mid-rise is probably what is most common in my closet. High rise skirts can do OK, giving almost the same effect as an empire waist on me!

  9. amie stams

    Aww, Sally, this post makes me sad. You are lovely! No need to feel shame about your tummy! I think we could all do to love our bodies more. You should embrace your baguette, not try to hide it. No such thing as “unflattering” — it’s whatever you want to wear! Why should those of us who carry weight in our midsections be restricted to a certain pants rise? We deserve to wear it all!

  10. roxyrampage

    Low rise have been a real godsend for me, because I am very short (5’0″) with a proportionately short rise. Short rise fits me more as a mid rise, which is perfect!

  11. Rebekah Jaunty

    I bought low rise jeans for years, since they seemed so modern and flattering… … from the front. From the back, I was mooning all of Christendom. Christendom, I’m so, so sorry.

    The last time I visited my niece and nephews, I was distracted by the battle between my low rise pants and high rise underwear. I thought “NEVER AGAIN, LOW RISE JEANS. These children don’t need to see Aunt Rebekah’s panties.”

  12. Vivienne

    High rise all the way over here…so loving that it’s become easier to get in the past few years (and more chic than they used to be)! Loving seeing all the different answers here too cause it so reflects that we need all those options available to reflect the beautiful diversity of our body shapes!

  13. JW

    I used to always wear high-rise and loved them. Then they were harder to find, so I switched to the mid-rise. I like the fit, I can breathe a bit easier, and I think I will stay with mid even though highs are back in style.

  14. Keilexandra

    I’m rectangle-shaped with weight in my waist/upper stomach with narrow hips, and I love my low-rise (7.5-8″) jeans. I do have a curvy rear, but for some reason most of my low-rise pants have had plenty of back coverage. I’m not complaining!

  15. Laura

    I’m petite with a long, flat torso & tiny waist, broad hips & short legs (only 23″ inseam). I’m a classic pear.

    Mid to high rises never fit my body well, & end up hiding my waist rather than showing it off. Low rise highlights my flat stomach, & makes my bum look rounder. I think I look fantastic in ultra low waists – those jeans with inch-long zips were made for me.

  16. Michelle...

    20kgs ago, I was a low-rise girl. Nowadays I find I need the extra coverage that a mid-rise gives me. Is all good 🙂

  17. mendotawaves

    I favor high rise, only tried mid and low rise once each. I didn’t like how they felt and looked on me. I just ignored the trend (thrifts you are my friend.) I am fascinated by the reasons women are giving why they do like them. I had noticed how they did look better on others than on me. My size and weight distribution and lifestyle have changed, so now I am going to start the arduous search for Jeans that Fit.

  18. Ginger

    The best-fitting, most comfortable jeans I’ve worn were some true 1950s side-zip painted-stained jeans I got at an antique store for cheap. I have a long rise, relatively short-waisted, with a waist/hip difference always over 10″. And these fit. They did not look trendy or modern in any way, but the fit worked. And unlike even “high” rise pants (which still don’t fit at my waist), these were in the right place and did not ride down. Even when I was on hands and knees, setting stones for a patio: no riding or pulling down in back. Pretty amazing.

  19. Emmy

    I’m extremely long-waisted, so you’d think that high-rise styles would work best for both comfort and appearance. However, I also have short legs, and to my eye, high-rise styles just exaggerate how short they are. I think it’s the ratio of the hip/waist area to the leg: too much of my torso is highlighted relative to my legs. So mid-rise styles work best for me, giving me the coverage I need while balancing the legs.

  20. Dust. Wind. Bun.

    Ha! This is so my question. I’m short, with short legs (hi-five to the person with the 23″ inseam below, I’m a 26, mostly because my thighs help take up some of the length by stretching horizontally…) but long-waisted. I’m a chubby hourglass, but in the last several years I’ve also put on a good chunk of front-stomach weight (so the measurement around me is bigger, but from the front you can’t tell – just like how I wear a 34H bra but my boobs are very forward/center oriented so from the front you can’t really see their largeitude [I used to be a copy editor so I’m allowed to make up words :P] ).

    So my smallest point is near my ribs, but what feels like a natural waist to me, with what’s comfortable, is just below my navel. During the course of a day, waistbands end up one of two places, depending on how much material there is to spare: right at my bra band, or (more commonly) at the bottom of my abdomen just above the crotch line, like a classic bikini bottom cut. So a high rise just means more fabric rolled up and bunched just shy of indecency. (I just checked, and yep, my underpants under my stretchy skirt are hanging out in the abdomen/mound crease, thanks underpants, so very helpful.) But I also have a round butt, so low rise, or even some mids, won’t contain it.

    So what do I do? Only wear stretchy things – nothing with a zip fly, basically, so no traditional trousers, jeans, pencil skirts, and so on. If it doesn’t have an elastic or yoga-pants waistband, I probably don’t want it. (So all those people out there who cluck pityingly at people who wear yoga pants as part of an outfit, because ‘they don’t care enough about themselves to try’, can bite me.)

  21. contrary kiwi

    High rise alllll the way. I literally cannot wear low rise – they actually come off me because they sit below my hip bones and just slide down, because they also sit below the widest part of my bum. Mid rises are uncomfortable – oh, how uncomfortable. They squidge my sides when I stand and poke into my stomach when I sit. They are also moderately unflattering.

    High rises are the ones that flatter me the best and feel the best. I’m 5’1″ with a short inseam (26″ I think) and and incredibly long rise of 14″ in the front and 18″ in the back. Since most “high” rise pants reach to 11″ at the most (and often are only 9″), pants that I can comfortably wear are rare commodities I snatch up immediately. I think they look best on me because all of my height is in my torso, so high rises make my legs look longer and my torso shorter.

  22. Charisse Cabral

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