High-Waist Pants and Boleros aren’t just for Matadors

June 10th, 2010

The matador, an often romanticized character, generally regarded as a fearless fighter who is able to stare his enemy in the eye while maintaining incredible style and grace. No wonder the fashion industry always looks to these bullfighters for inspiration. A few months ago Giorgio Armani designed a bullfighting costume for one of Spain’s top matadors. And women’s fashion has benefited from the matadors too, most notably in the form of high-waist pants and boleros.

Though a lot of women shy away from these two items, they are actually quite versatile and can fit various body types. You just need to keep a few things in mind when you decide to include them in your fashion repertoire

  1. Although you don’t need to be nearly as fearless as a matador when wearing high-waist pants, you do need a good deal of confidence to pull it off. These pants show off the body (see item #2) so stand up straight and pair them with a great pair of heels (item #3)
  2. With high-waist pants, always tuck in your tops. I know it’s 2010 and tucking in is for squares, but in this case it’s an absolute must. High-waist pants sit on your natural waist (not the low-rise-pants waist), which happens to be the narrowest part on your torso. So, unless you plan on wearing them with a very short top, don’t place your top over high-waist pants. This will only add bulk to the waist instead of showing off your figure
  3. High-waist pants elongate the legs so they look best with high heels. Pairing them with flats will make you look short and stubby instead. This is true of both skinny leg and wide-leg high-waist pants
  4. Wide-leg high waist pants generally work for everybody type. For those who are heavier on the bottom, the skinny-leg variety can be difficult to pull off. The wide-leg variety, however, can be quite flattering, as long as you can find a pair with a small enough waist AND enough leg room. If you’re heavier on the bottom, focus on finding a pair that fits (i.e. is loose enough) around the legs. Then take it to a tailor and have the waist taken in to match your measurements
  5. High-waist pants with pleats are not made for most body types because the pleats add bulk to the waist and hips. Unless you are on the very thin side or don’t have much in the way of curves, it’s best to avoid this particular species of high-waist pants
  6. Boleros can be used to dress-up an outfit or to simply make an outfit look more sophisticated and put-together. Take Michelle Obama’s grown-up but not-frumpy bolero. Combined with her classic A-line dress, the bolero further accentuates her figure while still adding an element of fun to this all-black ensemble. Had she worn a black cardigan with this outfit, it would have looked a lot more “mumsy”, as the Brits say.
  7. A funky bolero can be used to jazz up a little black dress. Check out this one-of-a-kind, gold bolero worn by Katie Holmes. This bolero has so much detailing and bling to it that there’s no need for any jewelry on this outfit. And the bolero frames her upper body, placing emphasis on her impeccable makeup and hairdo. It’s top-notch as is.
  8. On your wedding day, a bolero can be a fantastic multipurpose accessory – it can keep you warm (choose one with long sleeves, of course), add color to your outfit, or cover up bare arms (for churches where it’s a no-no)
  9. To get the best of both worlds, pair high-waist pants with a red bolero (reminiscent of the red cape used by matadors)