High Waisted Pants on Spring 2011 runways

From left, high-waisted styles at Marc Jacobs, Monique Lhuillier and Dries Van Noten. Photos: Fernanda Calfat, Getty Images; Randy Brooke, WireImage.com; Francois Guillot, AFP/Getty Images

It's no style secret that mom jeans are a no-no. You know, those unflattering, often-pleated, usually hitting-above-the-belly-button, tapered-at-the-ankle jeans that cry, "Yes, people! I have given up when it comes to fashion!"

But just because trousers are high-waisted, doesn't mean they can't be chic.

"High-waisted pants, when executed well, are both figure-flattering and elongating," Holli Rogers, buying director at Net-a-Porter.com, tells StyleList. "Look to the runway shows from Yves Saint Laurent to Marc Jacobs for inspiration."

But while many designers certainly paid homage to the high-waisted pant in their Spring collections, that doesn't mean the look doesn't present challenges. Who can forget the jeans Jessica Simpson sported during a 2009 concert?

"The key to avoiding the Jessica Simpson disaster, or the mom-jean disaster, is to get the right high-waisted flare jean for your body," celebrity stylist Elle Werlin tells StyleList. "It is important to try the different options out there, from a high-waisted trouser jean, which is commonly referred to as the Katharine Hepburn look, or the high-waisted flared jean, which is more slimming around the thigh and then flares more drastically at the bottom."

We asked experts Rogers and Werlin to answer some key questions to keep you looking long and lean in high-waisted pants, and off the worst-dressed lists.

What are the newest high-waisted silhouettes for spring?

"The best thing about this moment in fashion is that anything goes," Rogers says. "It is possible to choose from a style that fits your body the best or change it up every day for some fun. Try Theyskens' Theory for a wide-leg pant, MiH for a flared denim and J Brand for brightly colored skinny jeans."

"The most now style is the high-waisted flare, but I believe in fit over trend every time," Werlin says.

I'm short. Will a high-waisted pant look ridiculous on me?

"If you are short, make sure you have your high-waisted pants tailored," Werlin says. "There is nothing less flattering than the bottom of the pants covering your entire foot. That makes you lose the elongating silhouette. Another key factor is wearing a chunky heel. The heel will balance the width of the flare, elongating one's leg instead making one look more petite."

"Tall or petite, high-waisted pants look best with a long hem extended even further over an ample heel," Rogers says. "Even those petite in stature can add inches with a stylish wedge."


I'm curvy. Can I pull off the look?

"If you are curvy, make sure the flare of your pants balances your hips, or else it will accentuate the wrong curves," Werlin says. "Yummie Tummie is a fabulous brand that makes fitted T-shirts, button-downs and tanks so you don't have to worry about your stomach feeling bulged. The biggest mistake is to wear high-waisted flared pants and then try to hide your curves with an oversized top. It makes someone curvy look overweight instead of curvy. Accentuate the curves, don't try to conceal them."

"To show off your curves and accent your waist, I suggest pairing your high-waisted pant with a slim belt from Marni, Burberry Prorsum or Marc by Marc Jacobs," Rogers says. "Add some great statement jewelry and a simple tee and you are good to go."

OK, I found the pants. Now, what do I wear on top?

"I suggest keeping the hem long and pairing your high-waisted pant with a printed or bright blouse," Rogers says. "Wear your blouse tucked in and wear a fabulous wedge to help elongate your legs and keep it sleek."

"The point of the high waist is to accentuate the smallness of your waist, so definitely avoid oversize tops -- your trendy floral sheer top shouldn't be worn with your high-waisted jeans," Werlin advises. "Tops should be fitted and tucked. I think the best look is either a white button-down or a fitted crew-neck T-shirt. It is important to keep the neckline high because that continues the elongating effect."

And what about shoes?

"The perfect shoe for the wide-legged pant is the wedge," Rogers says. "Try a pair from Pierre Hardy with a nod to spring's color-blocking trend or opt for a cork pair from Yves Saint Laurent and you will be set for the season."

"In general, I advise my clients to wear a chunky heel or wedge, as it adds the balance one needs with the flare," Werlin says. "Also, who doesn't need a little height and added elongation of the leg? However, if you are tall and skinny, a bright-colored killer flat in red or a small wedge looks gorgeous. Again, the key is to know your body so you can look chic in the trend and be a trendsetter, instead of a trend-follower."

Click here to read about Spring 2011's high-rise denim.