Fully and partially elasticated waistbands are more popular than ever. More common on pants and shorts, but also seen on dresses, rompers, jumpsuits, tops and toppers. Here’s an assortment of items with elasticated waistbands for reference.
The comfort and size flexibility of full or half elasticated waistbands are their greatest advantage. They expand and contract with the width and shape of the waistline, thereby creating a very forgiving fit. The elasticated waist will fit and move with size fluctuations, remaining extremely comfortable. There’s no digging into the waist when you sit down, or after a meal. The stretch of the elastic will also mould to the shape of curves from waist to hip, which means that if you have a swayback or a relatively smaller waist and larger hip, the waistband will fit without the need to alter the size of the waist.
On the other hand, the visual impact of an elasticated waist isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It wasn’t that long ago that style experts in an awfully fickle and subjective fashion world were very down on bottoms with elasticated waists. They equated them with pyjamas and sweatpants. A structured waistband was thought to be the most flattering and streamlining option.
These days elasticated waistbands are verging on trendy. The Athleisure trend has given them a fashionable lease of life. Joggers and bottoms made of technical fabrics are usually made with full or half elasticated waists to promote ease and comfort. The strong influences of ‘80s and ‘90s aesthetics in today’s fashion took it a step further. Paperbag waists, tube skirts, bias-cut skirts, pleated skirts, knitted pants, utility pants, and palazzo-style flowing pants work exceptionally well with some elastic in the waist. Jeans, culottes and chinos can look fabulous too.
They come in many variations, and some versions look a lot more streamlined and structured than others depending on the cut, silhouette, and fabric of the item. And a partially elasticated waistband with front zipper and button opening looks more structured than its fully elasticated cousin.
Gone are the days that you have to hide your elasticated waistband. Showcase it with a cropped, tucked, or semi-tucked top. Or cover it with a topper or untucked top. Whatever works best for the look you are creating.
Other than lounge pants, I don’t currently have pants with elasticated waistbands, but would absolutely wear them again like I did back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I have to be careful with the fit because elasticated waists on pants and jeans tend to migrate upwards on my body type when the rise is too long, which feels uncomfortable on the crotch point. They can also pouf out too much on the tummy area when I sit if there is too much fabric. I do better with bias cut and pleated skirts with elastic waists, and have one of each at the moment. They are great.
Over to you. How do you feel about wearing full or partially elasticated waistbands on items other than pyjamas and loungewear?