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Meaning of High Waisted and Low Waisted?

Waistline

Waistline

What do high waisted and low waisted mean?


Jane's answer... This is a good question, especially as, if you're in your 30s, or younger, you typically think your waist is a lot lower than it actually is! This has happened because of the long run of low rise pants that we've had.

Locating your natural waistline


Firstly, let's talk about where your waist is! It's the (imaginary) horizontal line around your torso somewhere near your belly button, between your belly button and your lower ribs. It's not necessarily the narrowest part of you. Some women have their narrowest part just under their bust.

To find out exactly where your waist is "do the teapot" (did you play that as a kid?). That is, put your left hand on your hip (it makes the teapot handle) and bend your upper body left, keeping your torso in a straight plane. Where your torso bends (you'll see an indent) is where your waist is.

High waisted and low wasted


High waisted and low waisted refer to where the waistline of clothes comes to relative to a person's waistline.

However, where the garment actually falls will be dependent upon your body proportions (you might be short-waisted or long-waisted) and how these compare to the proportions the clothing was designed to fit.

When you buy standard women's clothes off-the-rack they are typically designed for women who are between 5'5" and 5'9" (163cm and 177cm) and who have a balanced vertical body shape.

When talking about your waist: it's where your waistline falls in relation to your torso. If your waistline is shorter than "normal" from the shoulders to the waistline you are short-waisted. If your waistline is longer than normal from the shoulders to the waistline you are long-waisted.

When talking about clothes: high and low waisted refer to where the garment's waistline is meant to sit relative to your torso. For example, low waisted pants are also called low rise pants and are designed to sit on your hips; high waisted pants are designed to sit higher than your belly button; waisted pants are designed to sit at your waistline.

High Waisted Pants

On the Waist Pants
A lot of pants that are called high waisted are actually
pants that sit on or just under the waist, like these (above)

Low Waisted Jeans

Where the waistline comes on you


You may feel more short-waisted than you actually are if you have a large, low bust, if you have long legs and a relatively short torso, or if you are shorter than average (petite) and trying to buy regular clothes off-the-rack. If this is the case you will be better choosing styles with lower waistlines, or choosing styles that flow through the waist. High waisted pants, skirts, and waisted dresses will not be your best look (if you are petite and have a balanced vertical body shape, waisted styles that are designed for your shorter proportions may also work for you, dependant upon your horizontal body shape and other proportions).

You may feel more low waisted than you actually are if you have short legs and a relatively long torso, or if you are taller than average.

Find out how you can get clothing recommendations that take all of your proportions into account.

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