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6 Stylist Tips: How To Wear Paperbag Waist Pants & Shorts

Post by Lauren Meidl

Post-pandemic, people are more eager than ever to start dressing cute again, but not skimping on the comfort that we’ve grown accustomed to. Enter: paperbag waist pants! If you’ve ever wondered how to wear paperbag waist pants, we’re here to help. You’ve likely seen this style of pants all over the place – at brunch, at work, and on the runway. 

As cute and trendy as they are, paperbag waist pants are notoriously tricky to style. Strap on your seatbelt (or the belted waist of your new favorite jeans after this article) and get ready for our top tricks and tips for how to wear paperbag waist pants.

top photo: @achanceofcharm

What is a Paperbag Waist?

Paperbag pants are stylish, high-waisted bottoms with ruffled waistlines and loose legs. They’re known for being a super flattering fit on hourglass or pear shapes! The cinched waist balances perfectly with the long lines of the pant legs.

How to Wear Paperbag Waist Pants

To uphold the cute ruffled waistline, these pants are usually made of a stiff, structured fabric like denim or linen. They can be casual, dressy, or anything in between, making them a fan favorite for trendy women everywhere. 

A few quick tips on how to wear paperbag waist pants and make this trend work for you:

  1. Pair with a fitted or cropped top
  2. Opt for shorts if you’re petite
  3. Tuck it in
  4. Layer with slim pieces
  5. Use shoes that add height
  6. Try different tying methods

1. Pair With a Fitted or Cropped Top

Paperbag waist pants are super easy to dress up or down, depending on your top of choice. Since there’s so much excess fabric at the ruffled waistline, it looks great with a cropped or fitted top. Try a dressy tank for an outing with your girls, a simple tee for a casual look, or bodysuit for anything in between! 

Featuring: @trulyterah

2. Opt For Paperbag Shorts if You’re Petite

The very appeal of a paperbag waist – the ruffled waistline – can actually be a little overwhelming on some figures! If you’re on the petite or short side, you can still get in on this trend without drowning in all that fabric. Try opting for paperbag waist shorts, a tapered leg, or a capri cut. They’re just as fashionable, but less fabric will draw the attention to the wearer rather than the pants themselves.

photo: @turquoiseandtulips

3. Tuck It In

While we love fitted and cropped tops for a paperbag waist, if those cuts don’t make you feel confident, there are still options! If you opt for a looser fitting top, try tucking it in to create a proportional look and an hourglass illusion. You can do a full tuck, or French tuck (only tuck the front in).  This look gives the ultimate laidback and effortless energy.

photo: @theresadacio

4. Layer With Slim Pieces

If you love layering up (especially with a cute fall shacket), paperbag waist pants are a great match for those layers! There are two things to be conscious of to avoid an overly-boxy look: choose light pieces, and watch the length. Too much bulk will contrast the loose shape of the pants. You also don’t want the end of your jacket to fall right at the cinched waist, so choose a cropped layer or one that will fall mid-thigh. 

photo: @catherineaujong

5. Pair With Shoes That Add Height

It’s all about elongating those legs! Heels are an easy way to dress up an outfit, you can also try a casual heeled bootie, strappy wedge sandal, or anything that gives you a little extra height. It compliments the loose bottom of the pants perfectly! If heels aren’t quite your thing, try a platform sneaker or elevated loafer. 

photo: @rainaelegado

6. Try Different Tying Methods

There are so many ways to tie paperbag waist pants. You can never go wrong with a traditional bow. It’s feminine, fun, and likely the easiest option out there! If the frilliness of a traditional bow isn’t for you, try a half bow for a more subdued look. This is similar to a traditional bow, but only has one loop for a softer vibe. Finding different ways to tie your pants is just another great way to add some personalization to your look. Get creative with it! 

photo: @the_simple_mom

The most important tip to remember for how to wear paperbag waist pants is to not be afraid of trial and error! As with any new trend, sometimes it requires a little workshopping to find the best fit for you. If you don’t feel like your most confident and beautiful self in your paperbag waist pants and cropped top – try again with a bodysuit! The combinations are endless, and you deserve to feel astonishing. 

If you’re ready to try the paperbag waist trend, order your Style Edit today! Leave a note for your stylist to let them know you’d like to try it, and we’ll find all the right just-in tops and layers to pair with your new favorite pants.


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