The Belting Dilemma for an H Shape to Keep Up Your Jeans


Dear Imogen, I recently discovered your blog and enjoy reading it. I hope you could help me with a belt dilemma. I’m a petite H, however, I find it necessary to wear a belt with my jeans and pants, otherwise they move down to my hips and my tummy pops out. Sometimes my underwear also shows and I feel cold in my lower back. Should I try a different cut, lower waist, or something else?

keeping your pants up h shape

Yes, one of the issues of having little definable waist, is that trousers, jeans, pants all fall down due to that lovely gravity that keeps us from floating away.  H shapes, V shapes and O shapes all suffer from this (As, Xs and 8s can wear a trouser that comes in over their hips onto their smaller waists, so their trousers stay up).  H and V shapes should generally go for a mid-rise jean (Xs and As are usually much better in a high rise jean).

Belting is something that may need to be done with your jeans and pants.  Small alterations may help, but often not enough with your H shape.  I’d recommend belting your pants up, if you want a smooth line, you could try the Invisibelt or the Beltaway which are smooth and don’t add bulk to your waistline, then you can easily wear your tops over the belt without a bulky buckle showing through your clothes.

When you’re buying jeans, try and find shapes that are aligned with yours – for example, Levis make a Curve range with different hips/waist ratios, you may find that their straightest jean (called a Slight Curve) works for your shape. You will find that different jeans manufacturers make different cuts. It would be worth going and describing your problem to the sales people in your local jeans store and see what options they have, you might be pleasantly surprised!


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  • As a tall “H”, i’ve found that a product called “BeltAway” is indispensable! I’ve tried Invisibelt, but BeltAway works much better for me. Rather than plastic with a slide buckle it is elastic webbing with a clip type buckle that is invisible under the tops I don’t tuck. It’s pretty fantastic.

    I prefer a mid-rise jean or pant like you suggest, Imogene. The main alternation that I end up having to make is to straighten the hip – I buy pants large enough for my waist, then have the hips altered to give a long, straight line down my leg. If I do tuck, I try to wear a longer cardigan or jacket on top so that all you see is the buckle.

    Thank you so much for your fabulous blog! I check it out every day and get lots of tips to make me feel good about the way I look!

  • I am a petite H as well. If I need to belt, I generally wear a longer top over the waist to hide it, as I’m shortwaisted as well. I find the demi-curve straight or bootleg jeans by Levi fit me really well. I also find the NYDJ legging jeans good, though a bit roomier in the waist, however as they have quite a high lycra percentage they don’t fall down.

  • Way out idea here. I wear secret belly maternity pants. An no I am not pregnant! I genenerally wearwith a long top, if the top is not quite long enough to cover the elastic belly of the maternity pants I use a cami band and it looks like I am wearing a camisole underneath. The matrnity pant instantly forms to my shape no need for alterations and no one can tell it is a maternity pant. Bonus… My pants never slip or slide down and there is no levi button or belt loops that leave unsightly bulges for form fitting tops!

  • I had made my own version of the Beltaway and Invisbelt out of the widest grosgrain ribbon I could find (stitched to doubled thickness with a piece of fusible interfacing for structure) and two metal rings. I usually have to “snug” it to a belt loop so it doesn’t loosen up. Not quite as elegant as the belts for purchase but it does the trick of keeping pants flat to my skin/prevent drooping with out big belt buckle and the added benefit of smoothing down the button-bulge. Use it all the time.

  • On a related topic, which is really embarassing: there is lots of advice to wear Spanx/ shapewear/whatever. But if I do, with jeans, pants or a jeans skirt, the slippery elastic in the shapewear (plus the lack of waist) makes the jeans/pants/skirt slip right down, even with a belt.
    The only solution I’ve found is to wear a black shapewear top outside the waistband, like a layer top which shows.
    As shapewear only comes in white, black or neutral this only works with black which does look like a layer piece.
    Anyone else have this slip-sliding problem and any other solutions?

    • I have the same problem and my solution is: don’t wear shapewear. I mean, the fat is squeezed out somewhere else anyway, where everyone can still see it… you can’t make it disappear after all. I have this problem with tights as well though.

  • Imogen, thank you for answering so quickly! And thank you all for your tips on working this out! I’ll put them into practice when looking for a new pair and let you know how it worked. Best regards, Jelena

  • I am so glad you tackled that issue! This is something noone ever talks about, because the majority of women seems to be very curvy (or at least the meadia believes that.)
    I am an H/V when I gain weight, but right now in my slim shape I am more of an 8. (waist to hip ratio changed from 0,78 to 0,73… if that’s even possible.) My belting problem has almost disappeared since my weight loss, but still it’s only high rise jeans that I can wear without a belt. This is why i wouldn’t recommend low rise jeans to most women with this problem, they just slip down, even on curvier types. We all remember the heyday of the low rise, when underwear very often became public by accident.
    Of course I know the problem with most high rise jeans…they are fitted for curvy women, which is why they mostly don’t fit an H or V. But there are so many new jeans out there with a flexible waist band and some of the more expensive ones don’t even look different to normal jeans. I found them to be helpful when I had that problem.
    Anyway, I am going to order one of those belt solutions you showed us… Not all of my jeans are high rise after all.

    • Different brands work for different shapes too. You will find there are some straighter high rise jeans around and some curvier, worth trying on in every different store!

  • I have learned so much from reading your blog, Imogene!
    I wanted to comment that although I am an 8 shape, I have a similar need to belt as you describe in this article. I am petite, & have a high waist and short torso. Although I have a defined waist, it is up higher than most jeans’ waistbands. Even if I could find a pair that would come up that high, it would make me look out of balance (just a bust sitting on a pair of legs!). It would also add bulk to my abdomen. I stick to mid-rise jeans, with an o-ring belt pushed to the side. However, I am going to look into buying one of the belts you suggested in this article, which would work well with fitted tops. Thanks!

  • Hi, I am straight up and down with small thighs, small hips, no butt, muscular calves and a thick waist with a flat tummy. I wear a size 4 jean usually, but a large (12/14) top. Belts don’t seem to work for me. They fall right down with my jeans and are very uncomfortable on my (lack of) waist. Most jeans that I try have so much stretch in them that they sag and bag a lot on me 30 minutes after I put them on. You cannot see my butt at all and I look like I’m wearing a baggy skirt! Also some skinny jeans (but not all) are too tight for my calves, but straight jeans are too loose for my thighs! I am 5’ 6”. Help!

    • Are you sure you’re not a V shape as that’s more of a difference between top and bottom? Trousers can be very hard to keep up and for them look flattering if you have a very straight waist – this is why men wear suspenders! Skirts and dresses are often more flattering and comfortable to wear when you have this issue.

  • Yes, I am probably a V/H combo. However, skirts fall off me and I look terrible in most dresses because in order for them to fit my shoulders and back, they hide my hips and butt completely and I look very strange. I really want to wear jeans most of the time, unless I go to weddings and showers, etc….

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