Style tips from the 40s - How to wear high waist trousers

Style tips from the 40s - How to wear high waist trousers

Recreating vintage looks is a popular pastime, and it’s not just exclusively for lovers of retro clothing that are inspired by styles of a bygone era. An iconic item of clothing that has featured in trends throughout several decades is high waist trousers.

This versatile look can be worn in both casual and glam settings and offers a stylish addition to your wardrobe whatever the season.


The history of high-waist trousers


Before the 1940s, trousers were rarely seen in women’s fashion. At this time men certainly wore the trousers (not only in clothing). However, during this decade, progressive women began to showcase that this style wasn’t reserved for a particular gender. Without straying too far from the feminine silhouette of the Hollywood starlets, high waisted trousers offered the perfect alternative to a dress or skirt.

The flattering fit was crafted to emphasis curves and provide a versatile style that could be worn both casually and formally. The fit also nipped in the waistline and added an illusion of length to complement the ladylike styles of the decade. 

How to wear high waisted trousers


Women wearing high waist wide leg trousers in 1940sKatharine Hepburn 1940s

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

High waisted trousers and jeans have become a big trend in both vintage and modern styling. They create a beautiful silhouette and pair perfectly with a range of tops. One of the best ways to style them is to recreate looks from a bygone era. The 40s and 50s gave us tons of inspiration, such as Katherine Hepburn’s timeless and elegant outfits.


Simply put, it’s all about balance. 

High waist trousers are a focal point in any outfit so getting the right mix of fabric and print is essential. Tucking in a blouse also defines your waist and showcases any detailing around this area. There are a few things that can help you choose the best style of high waisted trousers for your body shape, including:

Stay true to size – Tailored and correct size trousers will highlight all of your features. As high waist trousers are made with a lot of fabric – wearing ill-fitting sizes can make you look out of balance. If you opt for a smaller size, you also run the risk of discomfort and the trousers flattening your natural shape.

Choose the correct hem length – When your trousers sit beautifully over your shoes or allow a little peek, this creates the ultimate tailored look. Plus, it makes your legs appear longer. If you go too short or long, it has the opposite effect on your figure. Many styles including our collection of wide-leg trousers can be altered to fit your leg length. So it’s easy to get the perfect fit whether you wear them with heels or flats. 

Avoid bulky embellishment around the waistline – High waist trousers are perfect for accentuating your figure. However, if you have large embellishments around this area, it can make your silhouette look out of proportion. Opt for styles with a simple belt or button design, and you’ll recreate the ultimate vintage look without overwhelming your outfit.


1940s Vintage Style Trousers Look

1940s Vintage Style Trousers Look

1930s Trousers

Joan Bennett, c. 1938

High Rise Wide Leg Brown Herringbone Trousers


Trending – 1930s sailor style trousers

In the 1930s, women rarely wore trousers. However, there were a few places that they were the norm – on the beach and playing sports. During this time, fitness and exercise were encouraged, and sportswear was later extended to include lounge pants and wide-leg trousers for everyday wear.

Another popular design in the 30s included sailor-style trousers. The nautical look offered a feminine twist on high waisted styles and included buttons at the front often in gold and silver-tone hardware. This style is still a fashionable look, especially during the summer months. Plus, opting for 30s-inspired sailor trousers with a striped top and cute cardigan also adds some modern touches to your outfit. 

High waisted trousers are a great way to incorporate 40s-inspired vintage style into your closet. Take a look at our selection of super chic trousers and recreate your favourite looks with a touch of feminine flair. 

1940s & 50s Vintage Sailor Trousers Look


1940s Swing Trousers 

Available in Navy, Red, Khaki and Black 

Retro 40s Style Forest Green High Waisted Trousers

Vintage Style High Waist Sailor Trousers

Available in Navy and Black 

Vintage Style High Rise Herringbone Brown Trousers

Joan Herringbone Wide Leg Trousers 

Available in Brown and Grey