Welcome to Dressed for My Day! Recently I’ve had several readers ask me about paperbag waist jeans or pants. I’d never tried them, so I decided to take the plunge…for the sake of my readers! And since I always made my kids take three bites of new foods before crossing them off their lists, I challenged myself to style these paperbag waist jeans three times, too. And with three “tastes” under my belt (pun intended!), I’m now ready to answer the question, “Should you try the paperbag waist silhouette?”
As with most trends, these paperbag waist jeans have been a little polarizing in the comments section here at Dressed for My Day. (I styled them earlier this week in this post and this one.) And that’s to be expected, really. We all have different tastes. But when we assess trends, we really need to do more than just take a cursory glance and make a snap judgment. We need to consider that clothing is a personal and creative expression of who we are. For many of us who put a little thought and creativity into our outfits, in fact, our clothing feels somewhat like an extension of ourselves. So while I can tell you whether or not I like a particular style for me, I cannot tell you if it’s right for you.
That said, I can offer some tips that might help you make a decision about whether or not you should try the paperbag waist trend. And fortunately, since so many retailers are offering free returns these days, that’s all you really have to do…try them…or not, ha!
Here are some points to consider when trying the paperbag waist trend:
#1 – The paperbag waist is generally a high waisted pant or jean (or shorts or skirt, for that matter). So if you have a short waist you may not look your best in this silhouette. If you still want to try them, look for pants that have the tie waist feature, but have a mid rise, like these tie waist linen blend pants. (See this post to figure out your body proportions and this post to learn how to dress your body proportions.)
#2 – Paperbag waist jeans and pants come in different leg silhouettes, so choose which is best for your body shape. (See this post to determine your body shape and this post to learn how to dress your distinct body shape.) Generally, an hourglass shaped woman can wear just about anything. A woman with an apple or O shape probably should steer clear of this silhouette altogether because it emphasizes the waist. This silhouette will make a woman with an inverted triangle shape look more balanced (if the pants are full in the hips, like my jeans) and can also flatter a woman with a triangle shape (if the pants are slimmer in the legs).
While I would generally steer a woman with an H or rectangle shape away from pants that accentuate the waist or require tucking in, these pants can actually create the illusion of a defined waistline because of the fullness above and below the belt. So it’s worth a try. But they’ll look more flattering on the woman with a rectangle shape that is more of an I. In other words, the more slender version of a rectangle shape.
#3 – If you decide to try the paperbag waist silhouette, choose pants that work for your height. I’m 5’8″, so the fuller leg and high waist work fine for me. If you’re shorter, you absolutely can wear these high waist jeans. In fact, the high waist can elongate your legs. But you’ll want to balance the look with nude footwear, like I’ve chosen for today’s look. Maybe even add a high heel.
#4 – Obviously, you have to tuck your top into the waistband of a paperbag waist pant or skirt. So plan accordingly. If you think the pants look too high on your torso, wear a top in the same shade of the pants to create a column of color. (See this look where I wore a navy top. Do you see the difference in the proportions in contrast to today’s look?) Also, you probably don’t want to wear a top with a lot of embellishment, since the paperbag ruffle at the waistband provides plenty of interest as it is.
#5 – Consider how you’ll belt the pants. In the previous two looks I used the same fabric tie belt that came with the jeans. While the tie belt may have added bulk, it didn’t add another horizontal line across my midsection like this leather belt does. So the leather belt actually accentuates my waist area more, not less.
#6 – You absolutely can wear a third piece over paperbag waist pants. In fact, that topper, such as a blazer or cardigan, can help create the illusion of a defined and smaller waist, especially when you wear a contrasting belt like I’ve done in today’s look. You just want to make sure that the topper you choose drapes nicely over the bulky paperbag feature and ends at the place that is best for your body shape and proportions.
#7 – The most important thing to remember about this very unique silhouette is that it is indeed…unique. It’s not meant to look like skinny jeans or straight leg crop jeans or boot cut jeans. Instead, this silhouette is more whimsical and fun. It’s meant to look feminine, but not form-fitting or figure hugging.
#8 – Finally, I think it’s a good idea to draw the eyes up toward your face when wearing these pants. Yeah, the paperbag waistband is interesting, but you don’t want it to grab all the attention. So don’t wear a long pendant necklace with these pants. Instead wear bold earrings and/or a necklace close to your face.
If you’re interested, you can shop today’s look through the caption under the photo above or through the shopping boutique below. But I’ve also gathered other pretty paperbag waist options in the shopping boutique. I’ve got shorts, pants, jeans and skirts for you to check out. (All the links in this post are affiliate links. If you shop through them and purchase something, I potentially earn a commission, but at no additional cost to you. Thanks so much for shopping through my links.)
Remember, this pants silhouette is just an option, ladies. It shouldn’t be something that gets us all up in a stir. Some gals will look amazing in these pants (I don’t actually think I’m one of them!), others will look nice and some should probably sit this trend out. But that’s how it is with every other silhouette, too.
Thank you so much for stopping in today. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing the outfits I’ve really been wearing lately. You can see how I really dressed for my day!
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Blessed for My Day
When I become too impressed with myself, I easily lose the ability to discern between what is really wise and good and what is not good at all. I know I’ve wandered down this path when I come up short during my daily confession time. Ha! If I have nothing to confess to a holy and righteous God, I’m probably living in denial or my good judgment has been replaced by arrogance.
I can save myself from such delusion by doing two important things each day. One, I need to spend time worshiping and honoring the God who truly does know best. I need to profess that He is all-wise and holy. His ways are far above mine. Second, I need to humble myself before Him. I need to confess that I do not know everything…even about myself. When I admit to Him that I desperately need Him to direct my path, He will gladly do so.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. ~ Proverbs 3:7