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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 13:00 GMT
Is this the end of the muffin top?
By Denise Winterman
BBC News Magazine

This could be you
From the catwalk and into M&S, high-waisted trousers are now firmly part of the fashion mainstream. Is this farewell to the fleshy overspill inevitable when wearing hipsters?

The only muffins most women want are from the bakery. Unfortunately what they get is the other kind - the roll of flesh spilling over their jeans.

Like so many trends before it, fashion's long-running love affair with low-slung trousers doesn't quite translate from a size zero model to the traditional British pear shape.

The result is High Streets the length and breadth of the country awash with the unsightly bulges, just like the doughy overspill on a freshly baked muffin - only not so appetising.


But with high-waisted shorts, trousers and mini skirts among the mainstays of Marks and Spencer's collection for next summer, it means they have hit the mainstream. So is it the end of the muffin top?

Model in M&S high-waisted trousers
High-waisters look good on her, but beware mere mortals
It's hard to believe as hipsters have been a mainstay of our wardrobe for 10 years. Along with the fleshy overspill that goes with them.

The term was popularised by the hit Australian comedy Kath and Kim shown on BBC Two. The term proved so apt and popular that it is now embedded in our vernacular, even making it into the dictionary.

The finger of blame for the muffin top can be pointed at designers, says Andrew Groves, head of fashion at Westminster University.

"They worry about what looks good on the proportions of a model but not your average woman. As a result, there is a mismatch of image from the catwalks to the High Street."

The average woman also has to bear some responsibility.

"Some women place wearing what they think is fashionable above looking good," says Mr Groves. "They shamelessly flash their muffin tops and don't seem to care it looks ghastly."


And when people wear a look badly, those at the forefront of fashion run a mile - hence high waists. So is it really the end of that waistband bulge? Not quite, according to some.

"I don't think it's the end of the muffin top, but perhaps they will be in retreat for a while," says Laura Craik, fashion editor for London's Evening Standard.

"The high waist might seem scary at first, but it does eliminate that overspill. Most importantly, at least it presents women tired of low-rise trousers with another option, and options are always good."

Men can have them too
But how often do designers come up with something that's easy to wear? Like never.

So before storming your local branch of M&S for the first high-waisted garment you can lay your hands on, a word of warning from the experts.

"If you don't have a good figure you'll get a stomach bulge," says Mr Groves.

So while it could be adios muffin tops, it could also be hello belly bulge. Now all we have to do is find a cute name for it.

Below is a selection of your comments.

Every day I see women with tree-trunk legs, beer guts and flabby arms squeezed painfully into low-slung skinny jeans and sleeveless tops. I never cease to be amazed at how many women just blindly buy the clothes they see on celebs who are a totally different shape to them...
Sue, London

The simple answer would be that women (and men although fashion doesn't hit them as hard) should eat less junk and take care of themselves. Chubby women out there who think they are thin should take a lesson from those who are happy with being more curvacious and tend to dress in a more appropriate manner. Lose the muffin I say, be fit and healthy.
James, Cardiff

If you wear trousers that actually fit you there won't be any muffin top or belly bulge to worry about. Wear clothes two sizes too small and badly cut and you're going to look like a sausage covered in elastic bands regardless of what size you actually are.
JP, London

Lower-cut trousers and skirts are more flattering on women with more shapely and defined waists and hips. High-waisted trousers are a disaster for curvier women since they make your bottom look larger. They are also a disaster for shorter women and totally unflattering.
Karen, London

I suspect many muffin topped women are wearing trousers that don't fit - it's difficult to find any women's trousers on the high street that are cut to fit hips and a waist, they're all straight up and down (I should know, I took yesterday off work and spent most of it trying on trousers that didn't fit).
Rosie, Cambridge

Overweight people who insist on wearing clothes too small for them will not look good in any fashion!
Susie, London

Thank God - the low waist was one of the biggest and most unnatractive fashions in years and I'm amazed it lasted this long. It does nothing to make the best of the female figure, unlike higher waistbands which help highlight the curves.
Iain, UK

The belly bulge is known here as a "bagel roll."
Frelkins, NYC USA

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