Goldman Sachs Predicts That High-Waisted Jeans Are the Next Big Thing

Leah Bourne
Rachel Zoe - Runway RTW - Spring 2014 - New York Fashion Week

High-waisted jeans in Rachel Zoe’s Spring 2014 collection.
Photo: Getty

Say goodbye to your colored denim and low-rise skinnies, ladies. Retail analysts and executives are predicting that fashion’s next big “it” item among consumers will be high-waist jeans. Goldman Sachs did a deep dive into the trend in a recently released report, and said high-rise pants are “emerging as the apparel product of the decade.”

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“When colored bottoms took off at the beginning of 2012, they stayed true to the prevailing skinny silhouette, and were worn with oversized sweaters and tops [girls] owned from seasons past,” the analysts wrote. “Macro shifts, in contrast, are further reaching, much longer in duration, and serve as catalysts for complete wardrobe turnover. They are slower to take hold, since they create an entirely new shape on the human form and at first look odd or off-balance. However, once in motion, macro shifts can catalyze a powerful product cycle that creates both opportunity and risk for key competitors.”

In other words—since high-waisted jeans will be an entirely new silhouette for a lot of women, and one not many women already own, it is potentially a very lucrative trend for retailers.

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The analysts pointed out that high-rise jeans have recently been worn by “millennial favorites Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Selena Gomez.”

As much as retail analysts love to try to predict fashion trends, it’s a notoriously difficult prospect. Skinny jeans, which took off in a big way in the early 2000s, were praised by women for looking good on a range of different shapes and sizes—which might explain why the style has reigned supreme for over a decade. The same can’t necessarily be said for high-waist jeans, as evidenced by that somewhat unfortunate Jessica Simpson incident in 2009.

Furthermore, only a handful of designers showed high-waisted denim in their Spring 2014 collections (an exception being Rachel Zoe, a noted proponent of high-waist flares)—usually one of the biggest indicators of what the big new trends are going to be.

Still, retailers are hoping that high-rise jeans turn into the cash cow that skinny jeans once were. High-rise denim is “the biggest trend for spring,” VF President Susan Kellogg, who oversees 7 for All Mankind, Splendid and Ella Moss, said on the company’s February 14 earnings call. “It hits the millennials because it’s cool and new and it hits the little bit older customer who just needs more coverage. So whenever a trend like that is so commercial it means money.”

What do you think of the trend? Will you be running out to buy high-waisted jeans?