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Whether a high waist will work for you depends entirely on your overall proportions, says fashion expert Amy Verner.

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The question

How high is too high for high-waisted skirts and pants?

The answer

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The top edge of your pants or skirt is called the waistline – not the hip line or the rib-cage line – and it serves as the demarcation point between top and bottom. Although jeans can sit low on the hips or rise up past the navel, they still must fall in the general vicinity of the anatomical waist.

Determining just how high your waistline should go, however, can be tricky. If you put three women side by side, they could look quite different in an equally high-waisted jean, depending on the relative lengths of each one's torso and legs. Someone with short legs might benefit from a high-waisted garment, which can help to elongate the lower half. But if a woman's torso is also short, a high waist is not flattering.

Similarly, some leggy types might come across as gangly with their pants reaching their rib cages, while others could look gorgeous. Whether a high waist will work for you depends entirely on your overall proportions. To get a fresh perspective, have a friend or salesperson take a full-length picture of you from eye level (which, of course, is higher than waist level).

Finally, bear in mind that high-waisted pants are typically favoured by hipster girls. Go figure.

Amy Verner is The Globe and Mail's Paris-based style reporter. Have a fashion question? E-mail or follow her on Twitter @amyverner.

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