Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Good Old-Fashioned Up-to-the-Waist Pants

Today I am wearing pants that fit up around my waist. You can call it a Halloween costume if you want to.

I bought them a few weeks ago at Costco, where I buy all my clothes. At the time, I didn't realize they had an old-fashioned waistline. With my usual attention to detail while shopping for clothes, I just rifled through a pile until I found my size and then tossed them into my cart.

No, it wasn't until I got them home and went to try them on that I realized what I had. As I stepped into and then pulled them up, I thought:

"He-ey, these are going to fit around my waist."

I zipped and buttoned.

"Oooh, this feels good."

But at the same time, I immediately felt as if I now had something to hide. What would my daughter say? Or rather, how hard would she laugh?

It's been many years since I've worn a pair of pants that fits around that long-forgotten body part- the female waist. Hip-hugger pants have been the style for - what? - fifteen years? Maybe longer?

At one point during this more-than-a-fad, I conducted my own survey of young women. I had several deflector questions at the beginning so they wouldn't suspect my purpose.

"Where is your right leg?" I asked.

"How about your shoulders?"

"Left elbow?"

They got everything right until I asked the real question:

"Where is your waist?"

They invariably placed their hands on their hips.


A  generation or two of girls are walking around out there, completely unaware of their waists.

A few years ago, I was with a young mother as she changed her baby girl's diaper.  After she got the tapes in place, she folded down the top of the diaper.

"You fold down the top?" I asked with incredulity, thinking of the trend of rolling down the waistbands of sweat pants and shorts to... To what? Reveal a muffin top?

"I just think it must feel so terrible to her to have her diaper way up high like that," she replied. "I can' t believe they make them that way."

Which brings me to muffin tops. Women didn't used to have muffin tops. Well, they may have had the same roll of fat around their middles, but it was nicely held in and smoothed over by a pair of pants or a skirt that fit up around the waist. Nowadays, everyone but the skinniest of skinny ten-year-olds has a muffin top.

I am dating myself, aren't I? And now I'm going to date myself even further. When I was young, girls were taught to hold in their stomachs. All girls. Chubby girls, thin girls, medium girls. We were all taught to stand up straight and suck in our stomachs. It seems kind of sexist today, I admit. Why should girls have to hold their stomachs in? The boys don't. And look what's happened as a result. We're now wearing our pants around our hips and letting our bellies hang over the top, just like the men. And look what's happened to the guys as a result of women wearing their pants low. The guys are wearing theirs even lower!

"Okay, you're going to wear yours there? Well then, we're going to wear ours here!"

I know I'm going to take a lot of flak for this, but I have really enjoyed my high-rise pants today. They feel great. And having the waistband around my middle reminds me to suck in my tummy.

And I may not look it, but I feel thinner.

Of course I've got my shirt untucked so nobody can see that I'm wearing pants up around my waist. Halloween or not, I'm not quite ready for that.

Can't even tell, huh?


  1. I actually love the pants that don't hit at your waist, and here's why: I have a true hourglass figure. The pants that were supposed to fit at my waist were always either too big at the waistband, or too tight everywhere else.
    Just tell Caroline that you're wearing "Hollywood Style" pants and that you are right on trend. Yes, that's what they call that style of pants, based on Hollywood icons like Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. Some people even refer to them as "Hepburns."

  2. I have a pair of Old Navy pants that are supposed to be hip huggers. Now that I lost some weight, they are rear-end huggers. I need to get a belt to hold them up so my underwear will not show. I like the old-fashioned waist pants but when the waist shrinks, the pants go lower.