After a year or two of dabbling, I finally jumped headlong into the high waist jeans trend. They work well for my body. My favorites hit right at my navel (11" rise or more).

Of course it's made me reconsider my tops, also. I've been tucking in my loose-fitting tees, and I like that look. But I've also sought out a capsule of boxy, cropped tees and shirts.

Some are barely cropped, more of an updated regular length. But some are cropped enough that, on my very long torso, a sliver of midriff appears when I move. 

I'm trying to decide how I feel about that. I've been self-conscious ever since a guy in my lab said something about my accidental midriff in the early 2000s... back when jeans waists were dropping lower and lower, and tee lengths hadn't kept up! At the time it wasn't at all the look I wanted, so I added long tank tops under my tees.

But, my current top + jeans combinations are trendy and intentional. And in casual contexts (weekend socializing, dance class) I have no trouble showing a lot of midriff. It's just a question of whether any is acceptable in my lab/office, say. My rule of thumb has become, if no skin shows while I stand still, I'm fine with the small amount of skin that might show when I move. My workplace is incredibly casual, my look is generally the opposite of sexy, and I doubt anyone would think it was inappropriate here. (Note that I don't teach at present - there's a whole different set of considerations when I'm teaching.)

And that brings me to a shopping dilemma. I found this really great cropped white blouse at Aritzia, but it really shows a lot of midriff on me (much more than the model). I love it. But I don't think I'd wear it to work (unless I change careers to fashion editor). It would look weird over a layering top, and none of my pants are quite high enough at the waist. I could wear it on weekends, but I have no shortage of shirts, so it's probably not worth the price or hanger space for something I'd only wear to... trendy brunch? Art museums? Shopping? (Then again I've just about talked myself into it, from that list of outings.)

It's on final sale, so I didn't buy it at the store today, but I'm debating going back for it tomorrow. Sorry I didn't think to take photos in the fitting room.

Edited to add photos.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Thistle replied 5 years ago

    How do you feel about it on?

    Do you feel fabulous? Do you feel like a fashion editor?

    Are you buying it for the life you have or that dream life we all sometimes shop for? As in, do you go to the museum and brunch and really would wear it?

  • 3style replied 5 years ago

    I’ve lost track if you are wearing any dresses besides the Irish dancing dress. I’m thinking that if it was worn over some sort of solid colored fairly fitted waist knit dress, it would not be eyebrow raising.

    I don’t know about wearing it with jeans. I wouldn’t wear it with jeans, but I don’t like to feel an uneven draft on my midsection, even in the heat. I mean, I might very occasionally wear only a sports bra on top for outside work or exercise if it’s super hot. But I still wouldn’t wear a cropped top in that context because I don’t like uneven breezes on my midsection. Weird huh?

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I did feel fabulous, like a fashion editor. I go to SFMOMA often (or at least, I try to) and I should go to brunch more, since I do live in a super trendy, brunch-filled neighborhood! But to be honest, I'm not doing a great job of being social recently. I keep thinking I should go out with friends more, but you know how it goes... work and life stress just take over and friends in their 30s and 40s are busy with kids and other pursuits. Or move away and aren't replaced. So most weekends are just catching up on laundry and work.

    A dress is a good point - I bet I could make that work. I don't wear dresses very often but I do have a few tee/tank style dresses that I mean to wear more. 

    The draftiness problem makes sense, but I run hot so it isn't a concern for me. Come to think of it, long sleeves to protect from sun, plus a bit of ventilation, is a good choice for me for summer.

  • jussie replied 5 years ago

    It’s a great shirt and seems like it’d work perfectly for your style.
    I’d probably go for it just because it’s so cool :).
    If it were me I would probably wear it to work with a little white cami under. I know it’s not quite the same but it’d just make it that touch more conservative.

  • Bonnie replied 5 years ago

    I think it would be perfect for you. 

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    I don't mind a little sliver of midriff when I move with the highwaist+cropped top look, it's kind of inevitable (especially since I'm liking cropped vs. tucked with those). Sometimes I'll wear a nude or light gray camisole underneath so that's what's visible instead of the skin directly. This is a pretty cool top! It sounds like it's worth grabbing, especially if you're looking for interesting summer/all-season type tops. Could be fun over a dress, I really liked my recent attempt at something similar (cropped sweater over swingy sack dress).

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Well, I guess I hope it's still there in the morning! Looks like someone just bought the last one in my size, online.

  • Bijou replied 5 years ago

    I love this for you and agree that it is a perfect high summer top.

  • Jessikams replied 5 years ago

    I’m also thinking about these proportions, as my pants waists move higher and higher. I find I don’t mind showing midriff as long as the pants cover the bellybutton. I have also gone off boxy cropped tops and more towards fitted crops- either cut fitted, or cut blousy but pulled in by a tie or elastic at the bottom,

    I think this could be a nice summer top. As you say, it covers the skin that is normally shown (shoulders) and shows different skin (belly). Might be especially nice for you as a redhead who might burn easily on the shoulders!

  • Jane replied 5 years ago

    I think it is super and I love your statement about feeling like a fashion editor. I think it will be perfect! I would be with Aida and Jussie and wear a fitted cami beneath. I think it has sufficient potential to give it a try. 

  • SarahD8 replied 5 years ago

    Greyscale do you know the blog The Directrice? The writer is amazingly creative with layering and makes all sorts of avant-garde pieces appropriate for a DC law firm. You might find some inspiration there.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    It looks ideal for your style. Get it. You have flat abs, so you will not have a bunch of flesh hanging out.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    SarahD8, I hadn't encountered that blog - thanks! I've been looking for inspiration. I'll check it out.

    Jessikams, now that you mention... I do think it makes a big difference that my pants are over my belly button. Not that there's anything inappropriate about belly buttons, but somehow that makes it seem more equivalent to a strappy cami or other torso skin. There's some sort of subliminal sexiness once it's below the waist.

    And I sure do burn easily on the shoulders - in fact I've been struggling with a mild sun allergy that leaves my arms bumpy like alligator skin and itchy if I'm outside too long (sunscreen or no). No fair. But it only happens once a year, the first time I'm outside for hours at a time. It happened last year for the first time and I hope it doesn't get worse. 

  • Brooklyn replied 5 years ago

    I’m with Jessikams. I think a sliver of midriff with no navel is not a problem (in the right settings of course). Showing the navel starts to move an outfit into a sportswear, resort wear or clubwear category (IMO).
    You love it. You should get it.

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    It looks like a great shirt to wear with high waisted bottoms.  It seems to be your style.
    I have a cropped sweater that I wear something under.  Because the sweater is boxy more skin would be exposed when I bend over IYKWIM.  I would wear a cami with that shirt for that reason.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Another that believes this fits your style perfectly.  I think you should get it.  Hope you find it in your size.  

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I wouldn't let the midriff issue stop me (I still wear a 2 piece in public well into my fifties) but I would hesitate if you don't feel like you would have anyplace to wear this top say within the week. In other words, is it for your real life or not? It looks cool, arty and crisp.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Bought the shirt! Convenient that the mall is on my BART ride to work.

    Unfortunately I am wearing men’s jeans today that sit low on my hips, so I am adding this dressing room photo very reluctantly. Just imagine jeans going up over my navel.

    I will cuff the sleeves higher or get them tailored. I really like the sleeve shape. And usually I prefer a collar on buttoned shirts but for this shape I think the collarless look works at least as well. What do you think?

  • Jenni NZ replied 5 years ago

    Amazing on you and just your style! Need higher waisted jeans, yes :)

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    YES so fab! Glad you were able to pick it up. I like the collar, and it will also give this shirt a unique place among your others. Normally I'd opt for sleeve cuffing but I think getting them actually altered shorter to keep the overall look sharper might be better in this case.

  • Jane replied 5 years ago

    Yay! It looks fab. Thank you for posting your photo. I think the collarless look balances out the detail on the sleeve and looks very good. 

  • Barbara Diane replied 5 years ago

    If the pants hit your belly button it seems you’d have only a sliver showing, right? I was imagining a hands width.

    I saw, make brunch or museum plans today!

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    I really like the look of it on you, once you add high-rise jeans. I wore a similar style back in the 90s and liked it -- do it now while you are young and slim! :-D 

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 5 years ago

    You live in a brunchy neighborhood, want to go to brunch more often, and now have a new brunch shirt—perfect! Just make sure those egg yolks aren’t runny ;)

    Seriously, it looks great on you. My first impression of it on the webpage is that it looks like the popover part of a popover shirt or dress. Maybe that can give you some idea about what, if anything, to wear under it when the weather gets cooler.

  • Gigi replied 5 years ago

    I think that this will look super fab with high rises. I'm so glad you got the top. I find that when I keep coming back to an item (like you did), it will give me a high happiness factor.

    If you ever want to cover up the midriff area, I think that a sheer black tank underneath the top would be amazing. It would technically cover up the midriff but be sheer enough to see skin through it.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    A long-delayed photo: here’s the shirt with a very high waisted skirt. I do think I’ll need a tee or tank under it unless it’s over a dress... I’m not so sure it’s the best shirt for me after all? (The photo is also not the most flattering since I’m standing at a funny angle.)

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    Greyscale, I like it very much — the proportions look deliberate and are plenty flattering enough. At least what I can see on my phone — you’re kind of small in the uncropped photos, but it’s nice to see the lovely architectural detail of your door frames too. :-)

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    I should start cropping the photos! Sorry about that. It’s the one place I can rest my phone and take photos with the timer.

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    I love it!  I think it looks great on you and I really like it with the high waisted skirt.  I totally want one now even though it would be for a fantasy lifestyle (and a fantasy body).

  • Gigi replied 5 years ago

    Hmm, I wonder what would happen if you tried the top with a bottom that was slightly less high rise? To me, what is less flattering is that the hem of the top coincides exactly with the waistband of the skirt. It might be more interesting if you could differentiate the demarcation more (either with a higher rise or a lower rise). Right now, from the front, it almost looks as if the blouse is tucked.

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Interesting point, Gigi. Maybe that's why I was so unsure of it after I saw this photo. I think the effect in person is better because when I move, it's obvious that it's not tucked in, since it stands out from my body quite a bit.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    I like it! Beautiful architectural shape and perfect with higher waisted items or a simple dress. Would it work with the new Everlane tee dress beneath?

  • bj1111 replied 5 years ago

    love the architectural shape, the high-low hem and the curved back hem vs the straight front hem.

    i would wear with a white tank under if headed for work.  if strictly for play, then have at it!

  • Angie replied 5 years ago



    Best with a higher waisted bottom for work, but SHOW that cute midriff for leisure time.

  • Jessikams replied 5 years ago

    Love it, especially the lower back hem. The side view is fab. If you have a solid color tube skirt with a high waist, that might look even better (without the button placket of the jean skirt). It could work over some jumpsuits too.

    I just saw your comment from weeks ago, about a bit of sun allergy. This happens to me too, the first sunny/hot day every year. My dermatologist says possibly because of birth control pills. A little Aveeno hydrocortisone clears it right up. You are not alone!

  • Jessikams replied 5 years ago

    Also, nice to see that midriffs are Angie-approved for leisure time!

You need to be logged in to comment