How to Wear Low Rise Jeans in 2021

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It is the fashion trend gen-xers and millennials most dread; it is an unforgiving style that exposes common insecurities; and it has become an indication that you are young, cool and up to date. Of course, we are talking about low-rise jeans.

If you haven’t invested in a pair of low-rise jeans since the early ‘00s, you aren’t alone. Since then, much has changed — your body size and shape chief among them. If you aren’t certain how to style low-rise jeans in this decade amongst other prevailing fashion trends, here are some tips to keep you young, cool and up to date with such a daunting article of clothing.

Know the Low-rise Rules

Here is the unwavering golden rule of fashion: You can wear anything if you are confident enough. Whether you are eying a muumuu, a leather jumpsuit or low-rise jeans, you can pull off the look if you are appropriately self-assured and feel cool and comfortable in your skin. Then again, if you are even a little insecure about how you look in a particular ensemble, your face will telegraph your discomfort, and your fashion choices will fall flat.

There are all sorts of internal and external forces that could compel you to feel uncomfortable in low-rise jeans, and you can unpack your unique issues on your own (or with your therapist). However, here are some tips that could help you gain confidence in low-rise jeans:

Shop for the right size. Squeezing yourself into jeans that are a size too small won’t be more flattering than wearing pants that fit properly.

Wear the right undergarments. Jeans don’t show panty lines, so you should feel free to wear full-coverage underwear if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Practice positive affirmations. It might feel silly, but telling your mirror reflection that you look amazing in your low-rise jeans can build confidence.

Recognize that others don’t care. Most people are much more concerned with how they themselves look than with how others around them look.

Fashion trends shift over time, and it is likely that low-rise jeans will go out of style in a few years or so. Ultimately, if you hate the way you look and feel in low-rise jeans, you probably shouldn’t wear them. But if you want to take a step outside your fashion comfort zone, you can build a cute low-rise look with the following tricks:

Stay Simple and Safe

You don’t have to put together a multilayer ensemble over your low-rise jeans. In fact, low-rise jeans look best when dressed simply, with cute basic crop tops or button-down shirts. You might start with plain tops in solid black, white or beige to gain more confidence in your new low-rise look before you start experimenting with more color or detail. While fashionistas might call this outfit choice “safe,” we call it smart and sophisticated.  

Try a Timeless Tuck

If you don’t feel comfortable showing so much midriff, you can cover up with a longer shirt. For some, this look feels outdated and uncouth, so if you want to stay stylish, you should tuck the hem of your shirt into your low-rise jeans. There are a few different methods of tucking to try, to include the full tuck, the French tuck, the one-sided tuck and more — or you could tie your shirt at your waist or lower if tucking doesn’t feel right.

Nod to Nostalgia

The last time low-rise jeans were gaining traction in the fashion community, grunge was all the rage. If you have some low-rise jeans that aren’t exactly in pristine condition, you can play up the grunge factor with a flannel slung around your waist, scuffed Doc Martens boots, and an old, baggy band tee up top. There might not be any grunge music icons to worship in 2021, but you can still appreciate the grunge aesthetic in this decade.

Then again, if grunge isn’t your style, you might pay homage to the origins of low-rise jeans in a different way: with a bright-colored top in an early-2000s cut, like a halter top or an asymmetrical sleeve. Just like the 80s and 90s saw a rebirth in the 2010s, fashion from the 2000s is coming back — and it pairs perfectly with low-rise jeans.

You don’t have to be a teen to make low-rise jeans work, but it does help to have the unwavering confidence of youth. With the right attitude and the right accessories, you can master low-rise jeans in this decade.

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