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Your Stylist: Finding shorts with a rise that's just right

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column

What ever happened to jeans & jeans shorts that come up to the waist? I haven't bought shorts in more than 5 years, due to pregnancies, but this year I finally went out to replace my old, worn shorts (juniors' sizes 3 & 5) and I can't find ANYTHING that looks good on me.  I'm about 5'3"; I work out 5 - 7 days a week, and am in good shape.  However, I'm 46 and have the usual lumps that come with age and all the shorts I tried on this year button at the most unflattering place on my body:  right on top of my lower abdominal "pooch."  And they're loose, so there's a gap which adds to the unflattering look.  I tried Macy's, Old Navy, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Penney's, Sears, Target and even Googled high-waisted jeans and got Urban Outfitters.  Not only did it not have high-waisted jeans shorts, but the styles were way too young for me.  I'm definitely NOT looking for "old-lady" shorts; however, none of the styles available today look good or feel good. They feel like they're going to fall down unless I wear a belt, which further highlights an unflattering area (my belts fasten around the waist); plus, who wants to add additional "tightness" during the hot summer?   Help!  Am I going to have to wait another few years until styles revert back to waist-high jeans & jeans shorts?  Please help.  I can't be the only woman with this problem.
Thank you!
KW, Irvine

Hayden78 A common dilemma, for sure. Most jeans and jean shorts these days are low-waisted, and anything labeled "high-waisted" is a trendy 1970s, hipster version that will make a girl one pound over emaciated look like she was stuffed into a sausage casing. Definitely not the most flattering rise, and far too trendy and young for anyone old enough to remember the trend the first time it came around.

There are a few options that may work for you. A brand called Not Your Daughter's Jeans makes pants and shorts for women who don't want the teeny-bopper low-rise shorts. The rise isn't so high that you will relive 1972, but the jeans fall naturally at the hip, so the waist should hit your waist and be impervious to gapping or slipping.

I also think this tie-waist pair of shorts from DKNY would be great for you. They're a good mid-thigh length and the rise falls naturally at the waist. You can adjust the waist size to prevent gapping and slippage based on your comfort level and specific Dkny63 waist size.

You can always play around with denim alternatives, especially when it comes to staying cool in the summer. Chambray has the same neutral look as denim but is a lot thinner and lightweight. The airy fabric may also make for a roomier and more comfortable fit at your waist. And with the military trend going strong into fall, there are plenty of cargo and military-inspired shorts in khaki and lightweight cotton. They make good go-to summer shorts and are a refreshing alternative to denim.

Send your style queries to

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Top -- The "Hayden" jeans short from Not Your Daughter's Jeans, $78. Credit: Not Your Daughter's Jeans. Bottom -- DKNY jean shorts, $63. Credit: DKNY

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The Not Your Daughter's Jeans shorts look good; but I can't imagine that the tie-waist shorts would look good on any of us sharing KW's issues. Nothing like a big bow just below your waist to call attention to the area that's most problematic. If KW found a belt unflattering, how much worse is this? --Not to mention the lumpy look created by the darts.

Thanks to KW, though, for writing this, and for the NYDJ recommendation in the article.

I used to wear shorts when the temperature and heat up, it helps me a lot more comfortable, I need a few materials to make cool comfort.

The suggestion to look for other materials misses the mark; every pant and short on the market now comes below the waist, not just denims. KW's complaint could go even farther. For those of us with relatively small waists and larger hips and/or tummies, the waistband hitting lower is uncomfortable (for the reasons KW gives) and unflattering -- our shirt or blouse fabric makes our good feature, a smallish waist, look larger. And even the recommended shorts don't do the job -- aside from the bow issue, the DKNY come below the navel, and even the NYDJ shorts come a bit low. I'm still holding on to my old Eddie Bauer pants and shorts, even as they fray, until someone brings back a style that fits a woman (Eddie Bauer has changed to below the waist styles, too). I'd be happy to spend some money on pants that fit.

I am just turning 60 and have this same problem - I have trouble finding any pants that fit high on the waist. It's so depressing shopping for them. I did find a Capri by Lee this summer that was a jean material and high on the waist. I can't afford Not Your Daughter's Jeans or DKNY pants so it would be nice to have some affordable pants. I know when I shop (Kohl's, Penny's, Target, Macy's) I run into a lot of ladies that wish for the same thing!


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