Low Rise vs. Midrise vs. High Rise Pants

The rise of pants is the distance between the crotch and the top of the waistband.

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When shopping for pants, you have choices of low, mid or high rise. While some women seem to have the inside information about these fashion choices magically beamed into their brains, the rest of us sometimes struggle to know which will work best for our body type. To save yourself time at the store, brush up on these options before you shop. Then you can choose with confidence rather than wasting time trying on unflattering fits.

Low Rise

The definition of low rise has changed significantly over the years. Traditionally, low rise pants sit low on the waist, a few inches below the belly button. The measurement from crotch to the top of low rise pants has historically been eight to 10 inches. Fashion trends have pushed the waist of low rise jeans lower and lower, however, with some pants now only offering three to four inches of coverage from crotch to top. Be realistic when trying on this trend. Pants that sit too low will rest at the thickest part of you and could create an unsightly muffin top. And be aware -- contrary to popular belief, those walking behind you really don’t want to see your thong.

High Rise

As the name suggests, high rise pants sit high on your body, actually resting a few inches above your natural waist. This pant style sits at your navel or just above it and is great for making you look taller, longer and leaner. High rise pants can also hold back a bit of a tummy. Generally, the measurement from the crotch to the top of high rise pants is about 12 to 14 inches, but this can vary from one designer to another.


Midrise pants are perfect for those who prefer to stay safely planted on the fashion middle ground. This style sits at or just below your natural waist. The measurement from crotch to top in a midrise jean is between 10 and 12 inches. Though they lack the slimming power of the high rise and the sex appeal of the low rise, midrise pants are a wardrobe staple and are universally flattering. While they may not do anything special for your figure, they certainly won’t make you look bad.

The Right Rise for You

If you are blessed with a slim waist and tummy, a low rise cut can elongate your torso and be quite flattering. Use caution, though, as a low rise can make your hips look big -- even if they aren’t. Avoid low rise pants that create a muffin top or show too much skin. Midrise pants work great when you are going casual or want to hide a small tummy. High rise pants are a great way to look taller and hold back any tummy trouble. Though they can be slimming, check the mirror to make sure that the particular pair of high rise pants you’re wearing doesn't put too much emphasis on your hips.

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