The best mom jeans—those familiar high-waisted, tapered-leg pants with no stretch—have evolved from simply having a moment. Once a fad jean of the ’90s (think Cindy Crawford’s airport style or Olivia Newton John’s iconic all-denim looks), the mom jean has established itself as a staple in our wardrobes over the last few years as heritage denim brands like Levi’s and Wrangler embraced the once cringeworthy, now runway-worthy style.
Thanks to Hedi Slimane and his vision for Celine, the mom jean was the hero of several recent shows. The models wore them with oversized blazers or sports jackets, embodying our post-quarantine mood board: a hybrid, work from office/work from home scenario where we have traded our casual knits and leggings for blazers and this tried-and-true denim staple.
The mom jean silhouette is a specific one. Its defining features include a high-waist, which helps to streamline the figure, as well as an ever so slightly baggy leg. Most purists will say that mom jeans fall straight on the legs, but the truth is that there are already an infinity of silhouettes within this category, as long as they keep the high rise: Flared, baggy, and balloon are some of the most popular variations.
But which mom jeans are preferred by actual moms? I consult Karla Martinez, editor in chief of Vogue Mexico and Vogue Latin America on her preferred pairs—Slvrlake’s Beatnik style and Khaite’s the Kyle jean. “I secretly wanted to spend the day in leggings before the pandemic began, but once it started the last thing I wanted to wear were exercise clothes unless I was exercising.” she says. “I spent the last year living in my Slvrlake jeans paired with T-shirts and sweaters. With the world opening back up again, I am in the mood to pair my favorite cropped Khaite mom jeans with boots and blazers.”
As for myself, despite the fact that I’m a couple of years into motherhood, I’m a recent convert to the school of mom jeans—I don’t think I’ll ever wear low-rise jeans again! The high waist is so much more flattering and has allowed me to explore wearing more colors than my usual rotation of black and navy-hued darker washes, which I gravitated to for their slimming capabilities. These days, I’m wearing lighter-colored denim, like the Frame Le High cropped white jeans.