Trend Watch: Mom Jeans


It seems that this year, fashion is digging into our old photos and deciding to bring out everything we thought was never coming back into style. Maybe this time around, we’ll learn not to abandon old trends so quickly, because now we have to go out and re-purchase the items we already owned (and donated) decades ago. First, it was the bell-bottomed and hippie looks from the Seventies that came back. Then, we saw Nineties grunge take its place in the spotlight, showing off choker necklaces and flannel shirts tied around the waist. And now, we’re seeing a comeback that nobody ever thought would be possible… The return of the “mom jeans.”

What are mom jeans, you might ask? Mom jeans are also known as high-waisted denim, but they’re not the modern high-waisted jeans we know. They’re the original, light-wash, 100% cotton jeans that weren’t dubbed with their moniker until 2003. New Republic described the turning point: “[I]n May 2003, unfashionable denim turned into something special, when Saturday Night Live aired its famous ad for Mom Jeans.” It featured Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Rachel Dratch hilariously trotting around in the jeans that grossly enhanced their rears—a look unflattering for the days of microscopic-zippered hip huggers.

But what was once the, uh, butt, of a joke is now a fashion statement. Yes, ladies, mom jeans are back. And it’s not a gentle comeback. It’s so prominent, in fact, that fashion editors, celebrities, and fashion websites are showing us all kinds of variations of Mom Jeans.

Huffington Post's Michelle Persad goes so far to say that mom jeans are "legitimately cooler than skinny jeans"; Daily Mail reported on the fact that it-girl Kylie Jenner is sporting Mom Jeans these days; and Lyst is showing more variations than you could ever imagine. Some of the looks on there are more modernized than others, but the overall consensus is the same: high-waist, high- and wide- set pockets, and some kind of retro denim wash we thought we’d never see again.

And just when we thought that Mom Jeans couldn’t be a more unflattering term for a pair of pants, Levi’s took it to a new level and recently released “Wedgie Fit” jeans, their take on the Mom Jean trend. The aim of the Wedgie Fit is to lift your bum and separate the cheeks for a coveted backside. The brand even goes so far to call these pants the “cheekiest jeans in your closet.”

Though once a crime in their earlier days, a large-looking caboose is generally desirable for the fashionable modern woman, making Mom Jeans a total hit. They may take a bit of getting used to, but luckily we’ve been easing back into the high-waisted trend for quite some time. Now we just need to accept the full reversal of lame-made-cool, which will likely take some careful styling.

The key to styling Mom Jeans is to mix in modern pieces so as to keep the look up-to-date and chic. A popular technique is to wear a crop top with a longer blazer or jacket over top to play with proportions and appear much more “cool girl” than “soccer mom.”

Whatever you do, just don’t actually put on a pair of throwback Mom Jeans. There are new versions for a reason.