Monday Musings- Elastic Waistbands and Flat Shoes

I’m in stores all the time so I see lots of trends before I even know they’re coming. I thought I imagined the resurgence of wide, visible elastic waistbands, but I’ve seen too many of them lately to think it’s random. I know trends take time to grow on us, but this one may only really work for the young.

I’m talking about wide, visible, heavily gathered elastic waistbands.

I’ve been feeling frustrated trying to find stylish clothes that don’t make me look like I’m trying too hard or look older than I actually am. We all know that fine line that crosses into frumpsville, and I know it when I see it. These heavily gathered, elastic waistbands would cross that line for me, so if it’s a trend, I won’t be going there. I love elastic waistbands, but I don’t want them to show. I’ve noticed several styles at Talbots that have this added elastic at the back, so I’m paying closer attention. Have you spotted them?



Dry eyes, dry skin, and dry sinuses are especially bad this time of year when the furnace dries everything out. I’ve bought humidifiers over the years that aren’t supposed to grow mold, but they all end up looking funky. I’m anxious for this one to arrive because it has smart sensors that keep it running until the unit is completely dry inside. That means there’s no water left behind for mold to grow in. I also love that the parts are all dishwasher-safe. They also have this larger model, which covers a bigger area.

This humidifier works differently than others. After you fill the tank, the water flows into the tray, where it is treated by passing through UV light. The water then goes through a paper (replaceable) filter. Then it’s evaporated by the fan, so clean hydrated air is dispensed invisibly. I ordered the pink for my bedside table to try and will let you know how it goes.

Let’s Talk About Flat Shoes

There are lots of options when it comes to flat shoes, and the comfort varies tremendously. Here’s what I am personally gravitating to. I’m willing to spend more for comfy shoes because I keep and wear them for many years.


I’ve had my black AGL ballet flats for so long that I’ve had to resole them to extend their life. They were a huge investment at the time (18+ years ago?) that has paid off because they’re classic, very comfy, and I’ve worn them so often, my cost of wear is pennies. At the time, I needed a stylish shoe that didn’t hurt because I was on my feet all day managing a boutique. The same exact style is now selling for $140 more, so their timelessness is evident.


I haunt websites to find them on sale and am often disappointed because my size is usually sold out. So in an effort to wear paler colors this spring, I bit the bullet and ordered these in beige with a black cap toe. I love their Chanel vibe, the silver strap with buckle and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of them.


I only have one pair of what I would consider true loafers. I wasn’t sure they would fit my style because I don’t gravitate to preppy, but I’ve found myself reaching for them often this winter. I like the bulk they add to the bottom of my silhouette when wearing chunky sweaters or wider-leg jeans. What I usually prefer is a driving mocassin or a smoking slipper.

fashion blogger jennifer connolly of a well styled life sitting on balcony wearing black outfit

A smoking slipper bears a close resemblance to a loafer. The leather or fabric is generally softer, the sole is more flexible, and they don’t have extra detailing across the top of the foot, like a band where you’d add a penny. Those bands usually make loafers too tight for me, so I prefer to forgo them. My favorite Birdies come to mind here because they really are as comfy as slippers for me.

Driving mocs are one step comfier because the soles are very flexible. They come with and without the extra strap across the top and often have a horse bit. They frequently have rubber pebbles on the bottom of the shoe to grip the pedals, which makes them extra cushiony to walk in. My favorite pair is by Robert Zur, and you guessed it, they’re also black. I have worn these so often that the leather is scuffed on the front as though I drag my toes when I walk.


I found these driving moc mules which come in tons of colors and I think they’ll be great this spring. Talbots always makes a lot of driving mocs in fun colors.

Jennifer Connolly from A Well Styled Life wearing Ecco sneakers, faux leggings and cashmere sweater from Ann Taylor

And then, of course, there are casual sneakers which I only embraced as everyday shoes when I bought this pair of Ecco Soft 7 sneakers back in 2018. Before that, I only wore sneakers to work out. Now I have quite a collection in various styles, shapes, and, yes, colors.

Which are your favorite type and brands of flats? Do you require arch support? Do you need cushioning? Are you better with a tiny elevation?

Thanks for reading and sharing your ideas with the community here.


  1. I have seen the new Talbot’s elastic waist pants online and don’t like the looks of them. Yes, you can wear your shirts untucked, but these pants pull tightly across your backside and don’t have back pockets as jeans do, so they emphasize the area. I would not wear them, and my 30-somethings would not be caught dead in them. I have a really old pai of summer pants from Talbots that have side insert elastic that a belt hides, and they ae great.

  2. I wear a variety of elastic waist pants, but it’s usually a hidden elastic. Lysse, Jag Jeans, Wit & Wisdom (made by Democracy), Lisette. Some other brands, like Elliott Lauren and Krazy Larry make a pull-on style that has a dropped waist that contains elastic–this is what several of the brands I first mentioned also use, and it’s what fits me the best. I don’t do well with an actual set-in waistband.
    As for flats, my old feet like some structure and padding. I still like the look of flats, so I’ve done pretty well with Walking Cradles. They have nice support and comfort. I wear a 5.5/35.5 M, so my options are limited. Many companies (including Vionic) don’t carry my size. I’ve also discovered I do better in Italian or Brazilian shoes–my heels are narrow, and those lasts fit me better than shoes coming from Asia. Birdies are too wide in the heel for me. I do pretty well with Cole Haan and Ecco. But, brands aren’t always the same across the line–so I read the description. But, “imported” isn’t very helpful. I make a lot of returns.

  3. Just a heads up. When I click on the small humidifier link, it goes to brown ecco7 sneakers.

    1. Thanks! I fixed it.

  4. I feel your frustration at finding stylish clothes that don’t feel like you’re trying too hard or that make you look older! Most clothes from Talbots don’t flatter my figure (not sure why, but they make me look boxy) and I think elastic waistbands would add unwanted bulk at my waist and hips. I don’t have any interest in trying them. I still have several pairs of AGL shoes in that style from the last time ballet flats were trending. They’re incredibly comfortable, but the soles and heels do wear down fairly quickly. I’ve had to have them re-soled/heeled a few times.

  5. I’m watching and waiting on the elastic waistband trend. When I was a young girl, that’s the only pant style I would wear – ack! Although I’m wearing a pair of elastic waisted track pants so…lol…

    The humidifier is now in my shopping cart. This unit sure looks promising. I just love your blog – you sure have a keen way of reading my mind, of what’s next on the shopping, consideration purchase list.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I love elastic waist pants. I just can’t wrap my head around having it show😀

  6. suzanstew says:

    When I retired, I vowed never to wear sweatshirts with polo collars and birds embroidered on them and elastic waist pants. So far, no bird sweatshirts, but hard not to wear those great Eileen Fisher elastic waists and other similar waists that are covered up by a top.

    1. Made me laugh. For me it was no sweatshirts with collars and pictures of kittens on them.

      1. Lol

  7. Hard pass on those visible elastic waistbands, although I do have several pairs of jeans and other pants with less obvious stretch waistbands.

    I used to wear AGL flats and loved them, but my feet can’t tolerate them anymore. They just don’t have enough support. I do love the Ecco Soft 7 sneakers, though, and have them in several colors.

  8. I love my AGL ballet flats — I have three pairs (black, navy, nude), all of which I found on eBay as pre-owned, but in great shape.

  9. Rhoda Clark says:

    Love your post this morning! You are always posting about items that interest me. First, the elastic waist band, since I have retired my weight has gone gone way up and now back to my normal size, I’ve gravitated to either stretch jeans (Diane Gilman on HSN) that are great and slacks with the elastic in the back only (Issac Mizrahi on QVC). And am reading the reviews of Talbots pants to take a look at. Pockets are a must have for me so no side zips. Like most of the folks here, I use to love heels, but now I am mostly in flats or low wedges. Vionic is my go to and also Ecco and some Bzees. I find that comfort in all my clothing is most important. And have found that the styles now not only are comfortable but stylish as well.

  10. Hi Jennifer!
    On elastic waist pants- NO! Unless they are workout leggings – I want a true waistband! I’m in your camp here.
    Abd hurray for my night time bedroom humidifier! I use it year round —but I do have to clean it often.
    Really often!
    My feet started to feel different this past year but I do see a fantastic podiatrist every 6-7 weeks who is creating inserts and making other recommendations – some of these are helping! If my feet hurt there goes my daily 2-3 mile walking routine abd I cannot let that happen!

  11. I like flats as long as there is good support, and come in a comfortable width. I would like to try some of the brands you have mentioned on your blog.

    I have elastic in some of my pants, and they are not gathered and frumpy. A lot of pants come with elastic or stretch waistbands, like yoga pants, leggings, travel pants, leggings, jeans. The thing is, nobody knows because I wear my tops out. I think we can be stylish and comfortable. It’s all good. Have a great day ladies.

  12. Totally agree with you Jennifer that ‘full visible’ elastic waistbands are left better for the young. On that note though having lost inches in my waistline; last summer I did add elastic in the back of some of my bottoms to achieve a better fit that worked out well as seldom do a full tuck in tops or either wear a layer. That being said I recently purchased two pairs of casual bottoms that had no waistband at all (with a side zip) and not only like the appearance of them but find them super comfortable as rest just above the hip. (One is in faux leather and the other is in a linen blend.) As to flat footwear; my favourite brand currently is Naturalizer as seem the perfect fit without even trying on (I take a half size) plus so far am pleased with their quality but admit, wish they offered more in selection. Last but not least; do appreciate the foot wear you showed today as am on the hunt for a pair of cap toe ballet flats as well as sneakers, even though we are literally knee-deep in snow at the moment and Spring appears very far away …. lol!.
    P.S.: Hope your week goes better than last week.

  13. I love elastic waist pants. As long as the waist is covered with a top, they look great and are very comfortable, which is what I’m all about. There used to be an expensive woman’s boutique I shopped at that had mostly hidden elastic waist pants from expensive brands such as Lysee’. Hidden is the key though. Can’t wear heels now with bunions and arthritis. Hoping to try Birdies one day. I’ve had good luck with Arcopedico for comfort and support. Plus you can put your own orthotic in if needed. Hope you have a great week!

  14. Good morning! Those elastic waistbands remind me of toddler pants. Over a diaper. Thankfully not ready for that return cycle. Yet. LOL. Love those black suede flats with the thicker sole. With my previous work, always leaned toward Borne flats & they never seem to wear out. Recently tried to clean some shoes out & couldn’t bear to part with them yet. And the good news is they never really go out of style. Have a great week.

    1. They don’t seem to go out of style. I cleaned out some shoes over the weekend and I kept all of the comfy ones.

  15. for “woven” flats try Vivaia.
    Very comfy for around the house and out.
    They have a super cute option: black with a leopard across the two shoes,
    that I wore to a couple of dinners and parties at Christmas. Lots of embroidered
    options for people who like other animals. (dachsunds!)

    1. I have two pairs of vivaia shoes also! I love them better than my Birdies and Rothys for squishy comfort while supportive. So cute.

      As far as the elastic waisted trousers–I’ve seen them and immediately said “no”. But I do like to stay on trend with the younger set… so perhaps I’ll consider if they continue to pick up steam.

    2. I will check them out! I love woven shoes.

  16. No more heels for me! I ruined my feet with heels back in the day and now I am not sure I could last a day in them! Love your options.

    I know the visible elastic waist pants are not particularly flattering on older women, especially for those of us who are not thin as a rail. But, I have to say they are comfortable, and if you wear sweaters over your waist anyway, as I mostly do these days, then you can’t see the waistband! I bought a pair of cords last year with this trend and I have been wearing them often. And I have received positive feedback from strangers who ask where I bought my pants. I just don’t style them with the band visible.

    1. That is the best way to wear them. I need to keep an open mind more often.

  17. I am thrilled elastic waist may be a trend. I have had an injury to my arm that is permanent and am unable to wear pants with zipper or buttons. Getting dressed is an issue for me but I want to look good so bring it on!

    1. I’m so sorry about your arm! There are lots of pull on styles to help you.

  18. Good morning Jennifer, Great post! I wear wide leg jeans and trousers as well. They complement my pear shape body.
    Love the black loafers with thick sole, really nice. Really like the variety of flats. I’m a huge fan of flats.

    1. Those loafers are really comfy too.

  19. Good morning! I agree with most of you, the elastic waist pants won’t be in my closet! Especially the back only kind. I find they pull on my stomach and are very uncomfortable.
    I’ve been looking for some new flats for years, I’m excited to try the Birdies, Jennifer does the Starling style (I think that was your favorite) stay on the heel well? That’s my biggest problem .

    1. Yes they stay on me well. They seem deep so I actually wear a heel cup in my right (smaller foot) shoe to elevate it.

  20. Before my knee surgeries, I said I would wear heels forever, into my very old age. Well that changed real fast, and now it is flat or very near flat for me and I am enjoying the fact that there are so many styles now to choose from. I cannot wear a mule, but that driving style you showed reminds me of my Cole Haan dusty pink moccasins with a bit of fur inside. I have a wide variety of dressier styles as well. As for the elastic waist… just NO. There is a style that will make shopping a challange if it continues. More dresses in that case. Jennifer, I wish for you a much better week this week ahead.

    1. Happy Monday, Diane ♥️

  21. Mary Charters says:

    I love Rothy’s because there are so many cute styles and colors! Very comfy and throw in the wash when they get dirty! Made from recycled plastic too!

    I also love Tory Burch ballet flats and I have 3 pair of them. They are also very comfy and flexible. And my last fav is Sam Edelman ballet flats that I have 2 pair of.

    All well worth the $$$ in my opinion!

    1. Tory Burch is one brand I haven’t worn yet. I’ll give them a try.

    2. I love Rothy’s and have waaaay too many of them!

    1. Thank you Joan. I’m glad you’re here with us.

  22. I need arch support and cushioning because I struggle with plantar fasciitis. I am always on the hunt for comfortable shoes. Do the birdies have good arch support? I definitely won’t be jumping on the elastic waist trend. That would make me feel frumpy, too!

    1. I have 3/4 length orthotics that put in lots of my shoes including flats. I run and I have to pamper my feet after some runs and this helps a lot. I even run with them since menopause. (changes everything!)

    2. No, Birdies have cushion but not much arch support. Vionics are great for that.

  23. The hidden waistband slacks at J Jill are fine. But several years ago, J Jill added a partial elastic waistband to their high rise straight leg jeans and the authentic ft slim leg jeans in sizes above size 16. I hate the elastic and for me the older versions of these jeans fit better without elastic. Many reviewers have voiced their dislike, but J Jill is not listening.

    1. All we can do is continue to leave comments for the brands and hope they hear us. What they do listen to is what sells and what doesn’t. We speak loudest with our spending habits.

  24. Pat Patterson says:

    Good morning Jennifer, I have several basic black pants with invisible elastic waist got them at JJill. They hang nice, don’t wrinkle and great for traveling. However, 98% of my pants are from Talbots, great fit each time. I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts, once I discovered Birdies, that’s all I wear! I really like the black loafers with the thick sole you are wearing.

  25. Janet Schamback says:

    I like the wide elastic waistband. I recently bought a pair of Free People lightweight cargo pants with the wide elastic across the back of the waist. They’re really comfy and the elastic creates a perfect fit across the top. I think you have to watch the style and top silhouette to avoid “frumpy.” I wore mine with a stylish, untucked, cropped silk top and loved the look.

    1. Great point about the top! How we style things is so important.

  26. I wore heels to work for 40 years and it took a toll on my feet. I wear flats now even though I really like my heels. I like my flats with a small heel and I always buy quality shoes. You can find flats that are comfortable and stylish.
    I usually like pants that have a little give. I buy most of pants at Talbots . The fit my body the best. I have worn an elastic waist but prefer a side zip pant because those pants give a better look for me. I an 5’2: and weight 120 so weight is not an issue for fit.

    1. Side zip are my favorites! I agree, Talbots makes some fabulous ones.

  27. Ballet flats make my short legs look longer. Loafers do the opposite. The only issue with flats is getting enough support so feet don’t slide. I like some lift, not completely flat.

    1. I agree about leg length. Do you have a favorite brand?

  28. Surprised to see elastic waistbands returning as a fashion statement?! Ugh. Loved your review of a wide variety of flats. Huge fan of flats especially spectator flats; in fact, my kitten heel pumps are getting mighty dusty. Nordstrom Rack on line is my go-to for shoes. I’ve come up with some terrific well-priced finds; and free returns delivered to your door. What’s not to love?

    1. I agree. Nordstrom rack has some amazing finds and great customer service.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    I can’t believe you are talking about these frumpy elastic waists today! I was in Macy’s yesterday and almost all the pants – jeans, casual, even business attire – had elastic pants. I thought I left these behind when I was able to lose all the weight when I was above 200 pounds. I avoid them at all costs, except for shorts. I agree, there is the bulk. And if you are to tuck in a blouse or shirt, it is not attractive.
    Me, I can’t wear flats – foot is flat as can be, with a narrow heel. I walk out of them, they gap on the sides, and sound like flip flops when I walk as my heel comes out at the back.

    1. They’re becoming really common. What are brands thinking??

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