The Triumphant Return of High Waisted Trousers. | A Continuous Lean.

The Triumphant Return of High Waisted Trousers.

Jan 27th, 2014 | Categories: Film, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

Her2

The most interesting part of Spike Jonze’s latest film Her, is not the introspective main character, Theodore Twombly (played deftly by Joaquin Phoenix), nor is it Scarlett Johansson’s sultry-voiced computerized companion, in fact the thing that sticks out to me most is not a character at all. It’s a pair of pants. From the moment the trailer for Her hit the internet a handful of months ago, there was already talk of Phoenix’s startling high-waisted trousers, but I don’t think that anyone was ready for the sheer volume of near-nipple high pants in the film. Just about every publication from Esquire, to Entertainment Weekly, to The Guardian, to the damn Today Show, has covered costume designer Casey Storm’s decision to clothe the film’s male ensemble in pants that hit well above the navel.

On the surface, Storm’s choice is curious, after all high trousers have been on a steady decline since the mid-twentieth century, and most pants on the market today are meant to sit around your hips, well below your “natural waist.” To me, the key to understanding Storm’s direction lies in another movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. For 2001, (as I wrote in this earlier piece) designer Hardy Amies crafted costumes that were more classically tuned, and in doing so framed the future as this familiar, yet foreign place. I would argue that Storm is using this same strategy in Her. Instead of relying on the ridiculous shapes, or absurd silhouettes that many movies set in the future use, Storm is recognizing the cyclical nature of clothing, by bringing back these higher waisted. They are clearly not of the present, but they are not so alien as to throw off the viewer.

Her

The truth is though, pants such as this are no longer as novel as they were even five years ago. With the recent rush of bespoke and made to measure/made to order businesses in menswear, waist lines have been heading north once again. The longstanding myth that a lower trouser is a better feeling trouser has been squelched as of late thanks to the rise (no pun intended) of custom tailors and haberdashers that are working to bring back the high waisted-trousers. Why you might ask? Because quite frankly a higher waisted pant is just more comfortable in every way. It’s for this reason that tailors such as the esteemed pants maker Salvatore Ambrosi, and stores such as The Armoury favor this more thoughtful higher stance. Some might say that these higher end establishment are only raising the waist line for those fortunate enough to afford it, but through Her Storm and Jonze have planted the flag for high-waisted pants for the everyman. After all, as Jonze himself has said, “These feel good! They feel kinda like you’re being hugged,” and if that isn’t a glowing recommendation, I don’t know what is.

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Comments: 12

12 Comments to “The Triumphant Return of High Waisted Trousers.”

  1. Caleb
    on Jan 27th, 2014
    @ 11:03 AM

    “I would argue that Storm is using this same strategy in Her. Instead of relying on the ridiculous shapes, or absurd silhouettes that many movies set in the future use, Storm is recognizing the cyclical nature of clothing, by bringing back these higher waisted. They are clearly not of the present, but they are not so alien as to throw off the viewer.”

    You don’t need to argue it; Jonze and Storm have said this was exactly their intent in multiple interviews.

  2. Christina
    on Jan 27th, 2014
    @ 11:33 AM

    I definitely walked away thinking she had used the pants as a tool to make us feel like we were in another place without making it seem completely implausible by recycling an old style. If I look around today for example I feel like we are back in the 80s when people in the 80s probably thought just based on movies that we would be wearing silver jumpsuits by now.

  3. BlueTrain
    on Jan 27th, 2014
    @ 11:40 AM

    You call that high waised?

  4. JD
    on Jan 27th, 2014
    @ 5:49 PM

    Those pants don’t really look like they hit any higher than his belly button. Over at the Her by Opening Ceremony, the male model’s styling (the pants are unisex) is tight and obviously uncomfortable; the female model looks more in line with Joaquin’s fit.
    To be honest, the side-tab is the unexpected detail from the future-past. Otherwise, pretty much dad’s khakis over at ll bean.

  5. Bogie
    on Jan 27th, 2014
    @ 8:25 PM

    not high waisted. this is high waisted: http://tmblr.co/Zc1IPu15dzdsZ

  6. Frankie
    on Jan 28th, 2014
    @ 1:25 AM

    I love this blog but no matter what the fashion pundits say
    I will never ever wear high waisted trousers. I am game for most things but not this. I am 5ft 9, Chinese and with
    A bit of a gut. I would just look like a tragic joke.

  7. James Phinney Baxter White
    on Jan 28th, 2014
    @ 5:40 AM

    It takes a real man to sport a long fly and wear his high waistees proud! Clark Gable did:
    http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3408509440/nm0000022?ref_=nmmi_mi_all_sf_24

  8. Redbag
    on Jan 28th, 2014
    @ 6:54 AM

    Storm has made a great decision bringing back these higher waisted, love them

  9. Jeff
    on Jan 28th, 2014
    @ 12:48 PM

    More broadly, this signals a return to pants and jackets with more drape instead of the close, “tailored” fits of the past few years.

  10. Steve
    on Jan 30th, 2014
    @ 8:21 AM

    I’m not following your argument.

    1) Custom fit clothing is, almost by definition, going to be more comfortable. High or low waisted doesn’t matter.

    2) High wasted pants are more comfortable because “a higher waisted pant is just more comfortable.” Yikes! Someone needs a logic refresher.

  11. Texer
    on Feb 1st, 2014
    @ 7:05 PM

    Jeff Goldbloom had this down in The Big Chill.

  12. Patti Disner
    on Feb 5th, 2014
    @ 5:18 PM

    I thought it gave Theodore a relaxed look. No belt, nothing crisp or pressed.
    I didn’t like it but it set a tone for the film.