The high-waisted controversy

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Now that summer’s here, a “sun’s out, thighs out” mentality is developing in Berkeley. For male students, this means shorts are getting shorter and jean cutoffs are popping up like hipsters at a bike party. But while men’s shorts are creeping up the thighs, women’s are climbing up the hips. That’s right, like it or not, high-waisted shorts are a tremendously popular trend with fashion-conscious gals in this warming weather. Ripped, patterned, neon, textured — whatever the type, these oddly shaped outergarments are in every women’s  apparel store, from designer to discount, and they’re even becoming popular among toddlers.

High-waisted shorts are not a new fashion trend by any means. Women up until the 1990s wore nothing but high-waisted bottoms, as low-cut jeans and shorts had not come into style or even become acceptable items of clothing for women to wear. Ask any woman in the 1970s to show you what kind of shorts she, wore and she is guaranteed to pull something out of her closet bizarrely similar to the shorts on the window mannequin at Forever 21.

But just because they’re popular in fashion magazines and DIY blogs does not mean high-waisted shorts have been granted universal approval. We at the Clog asked some Berkeley students what their opinions were on these shorts, and these were some of the most common responses:

1. Love ‘em! A majority of female students that we interviewed voiced a general endorsement for high-waisted shorts. Dress them up, dress them down; they’re a pretty versatile member of many women’s closets here at Cal (apparently).

2. Can’t we redistribute some of that fabric? Male student Alex Young expressed his love for high-waisted shorts on some girls, but when “some of their butt is hanging out of the bottom,” he knows there’s a problem. Both male and female students shared this frustration with high-waisted shorts being worn improperly — especially on the lower end.

3. They’re more fashionable than sexy. Male student Braham Mehta thinks it depends on the girl wearing them, but for the most part, he doesn’t really get the “sexiness” of the garment. He definitely has a point — high-waited shorts are usually not meant to attract potential partners but rather to impress the equally style-conscious.

4. They look good on other people — just not on me. Female student Diane Polyakov believes that “super-edgy people can pull them off way better” than she can, and many women that we interviewed felt the same way. No serious hard feelings towards high-waisted shorts — just mutual separation.

This last opinion is a little worrisome to us at The Daily Clog, as we’ve noticed the extreme thinness of most models and celebrities who rock these bootylicious high-risers. It seems as though the rules of thumb for a properly fitting pair of shorts only apply to those of us larger than a size zero, while Miley Cyrus and company are invited to wear shorts with zippers as long and inseams as short (paired with shirts equally short and tight) as they would like. This isn’t sending the most positive message to young girls looking to these models to figure out what body shape is “cool” or pretty, and it’s certainly not helping those of us trying to feel good about ourselves in our homemade Goodwill cutoff shorts. We look to these magazines and blogs for style inspiration — which is great as long as we don’t develop an unrealistic idea of what we have to look like while wearing our high-waisted bottoms. Whatever your body type, if you feel comfortable and sexy in your shorts, don’t be afraid to rock ‘em.

Check out this blog for tips on how to wear high-waisted shorts! And, of course, let us know what you think of them in the comments.

Image source: dora’seraphin, under Creative Commons


Contact Sarah Branoff at [email protected]