So, apparently, elastic isn't just for old people/sweat suits anymore—good to know, 'cause someday you will have a gut that even a Hollywood waist can't hide; and even gooder because on the day that happens, no one will remember how to make a pair of decent high-waisted pants anymore.

By then, though, elastic will be all bionic, to help out; it's practically there now, as a random sampling of women's clothing from the spring '06 Swell catalog shows. (In the world of basic surfwear, women get all the detail.) Consider, if you will, Billabong's Sangria skirt, which has absolutely nothing to do with that hangover-inducing shit but is all sweetness and white light (comes in white, see; yellow and blue too)—and a delicately elasticized waistband that stays up all by itself. Split's True Happiness dress is the same way, but it's a dress, so the elastic is also a styling detail that bisects you.

Need more? Billabong's Malibu tube top—with its awesome beach sunset graphic that, somehow, Ocean Pacific missed 30 years ago—uses elastic to keep the tube up where the, er, tube should be. Same idea behind Rusty's Catalina pants, wherein the elastic waist is outlined in white stitching on the waistband, making it—how you say?—a styling detail. Capital idea—except I'm not sure how true-to-life it is: Do people on Catalina wear pants? They must, mustn't they? It's cars, right? Can't drive cars over there. That's it.


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