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Chic and comfortable picks from Levi's, Agolde, Everlane, and more.
When mom jeans started making a splash on the scene a bit ago, many of us were dumbfounded. But a few years on, fashion lovers have kissed goodbye to their formerly beloved skinny jeans, and made mom jeans their new normal — and honestly, it makes sense. Their high rise is what most people are comfortable in, these days; their slight snugness at the thigh hugs our curves without feeling restrictive; and the more relaxed tapering at the calf allows room to breathe. Plus, mom jeans’ relaxed silhouette allows you to pair them with both tight and flowy tops.
Meanwhile, while mom jeans typically have a similar design to one another, slight variations such as a straighter leg, a cropped length, or a specific wash may help you get the exact look you’re looking for. We spoke to six fashion experts as well as did our own research to find the best mom jeans. We looked for styles that offer inclusive sizing, high quality materials, and different washes and cuts to suit various occasions and aesthetics. Wear any single pair from this list, and we know your mom would be proud.
Best Overall: Levi’s 501 Original Fit Women’s Jeans
What We Love: 501s are classic and can last decades without needing to be replaced.
What We Don’t Love: The button fly makes your life more difficult.
The Levi's 501 is as classic as they come — meaning many of our real-life moms wore this style when they were our age, hence mom jeans. “Levi's 501 Original Fit Jeans are the way to go if you want a classic fit and versatility,” says style expert Katya Bychkova. “It's not your typical stretchy denim but a sturdier weave garment that improves with age. The more you wear 501s, the better they fit!” That’s something to keep in mind if you feel — as some people do — that the fit isn’t exactly right the first time you try these on.
While the button-up fly is a little annoying, we have a feeling it’ll be quickly forgiven once you see just how well these jeans will come to suit you. They’re high-waisted and straight-legged with just the right amount of tapering and come in a ton of different washes, since they’re constantly being reedited. Not only do they go with just about any outfit you can conjure up, but they’ve also been known to last for actual decades, so they’re truly one of the soundest clothing investments you can make.
Price at the time of publish: $98
Size: 23-34 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 26 to 32-inch | Washes: 17
Best Budget: H&M Slim Mom High Ankle Jeans
What We Love: They’re made from part recycled cotton and contain spandex for stretch.
What We Don’t Love: The sizing is inconsistent across washes.
At just $25, it’s hard to find a better pair of jeans for such a reasonable price — and those who have bought denim from H&M can testify that the cult Swedish brand knows exactly what it’s doing in that department. These ankle pants in particular have everything we’re looking for in a mom jean: an extra high-rise, a slim fit at the thigh, and a tapered bottom that still allows for a little breathing space around your calves. They should hit just shy of full length on taller people.
These jeans are available in a great range of blue washes, plus a dark gray and a black, and their fabric is also a selling point, since they’re made from part recycled cotton as well as some spandex for stretch and comfort. These tend to run small at the waist — though less so at hip level — and sizing is pretty inconsistent between different washes, so keep all of this in mind when deciding which size to buy.
Price at the time of publish: $25
Size: 0-20 | Material: Cotton, spandex | Inseam: 27-inch | Washes: 7
Best Splurge: Moussy Vintage Moskee Tapered-HI Jean
What We Love: They’ll last you for years on end.
What We Don’t Love: The cowhide leather patch makes these unsuitable for vegans.
Brittany Sansone, a fashion and lifestyle influencer, is obsessed with these ‘90s-style jeans from Moussy Vintage. They’re a bit more tapered around the leg and cropped at the ankle than your average mom jean, but they totally nail the high-waist and retro style — down to the whiskered wash and the discreet distressing. As such, they’re a perfect wardrobe basic that will go with plain t-shirts just as well as they will with pretty blouses, all while adding a little understated flair to your overall look.
While vegans should note that these jeans are finished with a cowhide leather branding patch at the back, this pair utilizes some of the highest quality materials — including the leather patch, but also the 100 percent cotton fabric. This means that these jeans are not stretchy, which is a selling point if you’re looking to keep your jeans for a long time without needing to replace them. You can definitely count on these to last you years and years after purchase, which is great news for your wallet and for the planet.
Price at the time of publish: $350
Size: 24-31 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 26.5-inch | Washes: 1
Best Plus-Size: Old Navy High-Waisted OG Loose Jeans for Women
What We Love: They’re super comfortable as well as stretchy.
What We Don’t Love: The tall and petite inseams tend to sell out.
Despite not being the most glamorous brand around, Old Navy is an all-time InStyle favorite for trusty pieces at fair prices, which cater to a wide range of body shapes and sizes. These particular mom jeans come in sizes 00 through 30, and in three lengths: regular, tall, and petite, so you’re much more likely to find your ideal fit than you are with many other brands. We have noticed that the petite and tall sizes tend to sell out, so don’t wait if your size is available.
These are mom jeans through and through, though they are a little looser at the calf for those who feel more comfortable with some extra breathing space there. Other than that, these jeans are high-waisted and fitted around the butt and come in many washes to suit every style. Importantly, they’re stretchy and incredibly comfy, so jeans can once again be your casualwear staple without feeling restrictive. Oh, and we’re giving out bonus points for the brand using part recycled cotton here.
Price at the time of publish: $45
Size: 00-30 | Material: Cotton, spandex | Inseam: 28.5 to 34.5-inch | Washes: 9
Best Petite: Everlane '90s Cheeky Jean
What We Love: They’re so soft and comfortable you’ll want several pairs.
What We Don’t Love: The sizing can be hit or miss.
The mom jean trend was pulled straight out of the 1990s, so you can pretty much guarantee that any style with the term “‘90s” in its name will hit the nail on the head in this category. “If the ‘90s were a garment, this would be it!” says SJ Adams, a designer, celebrity stylist, and personal style coach known as SJ Style Guru. “Made from premium non-stretch Japanese denim, these mom jeans give off the perfect vintage look. They come in a good range of washes and have an extra-high rise which lengthens the legs and flattens the tummy. As an extra bonus, these have a butt-boosting rear fit, giving you curves in all the right places.”
Sansone is also a fan of these jeans, as are hundreds of reviewers, which achieves the perfect balance of loose and fitted. Available in three inseam lengths, they’re particularly great for petite ladies who have a hard time finding jeans that don’t bunch up at the ankle. They’re also made from super soft cotton, managing the rare feat of being a very comfortable jean without the need for a little spandex in the mix. Some people find they fit true to size while others prefer to size down, but once you find the exact size for your body type, prepare to start collecting these in allll the washes.
Price at the time of publish: $110
Size: 23-33 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 26.5 to 30.5-inch | Washes: 4
Best Tall: SLVRLAKE Grace High Rise Wide Leg Jeans
What We Love: The wider leg style is comfortable and on trend.
What We Don’t Love: The different washes aren’t all hemmed the same way.
While mom jeans are typically more tapered from the knee down, many people will find having a bit more breathing space around the calf more comfortable — and wider-legged styles like this one look great, too. “Mom jeans could be unflattering, but Slvrlake Grace High Rise Wide Leg Jeans hug your body all in the right spots and look fantastic,” says Bychkova. “I love mom jeans for the comfort that style provides, a perfect fade, and the overall look. This non-stretch option gets the most wear of all the mom jeans in my collection.” With a 32-inch inseam, the tallest among us should find these pants fit like a glove.
We always appreciate a jean style that comes in a wide range of washes, and Slvrlake truly delivers on that front as well. The white option is a perfect summertime pick; the black ones are ideal for work; and we just plain love the “Lovesick Blues” medium wash with its beautiful fading and whiskering. It truly doesn’t hurt that these jeans are handmade in Los Angeles from GOTS-certified organic cotton, either. Our one note? Just pay close attention to the hem on your wash of choice, since some are classically hemmed while others are frayed, which makes for a very different look.
Price at the time of publish: $299
Size: 23-32 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 32-inch | Washes: 9
Best Curvy: Cotton-On Stretch Mom Jean
What We Love: They come in a wide range of sizes and can be rolled up for a custom length.
What We Don’t Love: The cost of the jeans doesn't cover free shipping.
These are jeans for people who would rather not wear jeans if they can help it, if such a thing exists. “Personally, I love the Stretch Mom Jean from Cotton-On,” says Gabriela Rosales, a fashion stylist and founder of The Stylist Witch. “I actually don't wear jeans super often, but I have three pairs of these and find them both flattering and comfortable. Plus, they are super affordable.” As Rosales notes, these jeans are stretchy, which helps offset any discomfort you might anticipate from a more tapered style like this one, especially if you have curvy hips and/or thighs.
These pants are high rise, slim at the thigh, and tapered below the knee, AKA the definition of a mom jean. We appreciate that they come in a wide range of sizes, and that they can easily be rolled up at the bottom, meaning they will fit many different body shapes. Also, Cotton-On regularly runs promotions on these jeans, so you can grab more than one pair at a time — handy, considering they currently come in 12 lovely washes. Sadly, shipping will only be free if you spend over $60, so one pair won’t qualify. Still, you can always ship them to a local store location if you find the extra spend too annoying (we totally get it).
Price at the time of publish: $50
Size: 0-20 | Material: Cotton, elastane | Inseam: 28-inch | Washes: 12
Best Cropped: Frame Le Jane Crop
What We Love: They come in different washes and different fabric blends so you can get exactly what you want.
What We Don’t Love: They feel tight on some people’s thighs.
For those who prefer to leave a little space between where their jeans end and their shoe begins, Frame’s Le Jane is a fantastic choice, thanks to its just over 26-inch inseam. “Here is a modified take on the mom jean by Frame,” says personal stylist and fashion blogger Tara West. “I like the ultra high-waist and slightly relaxed fit through the hips, but this style has a wider, cropped leg, which feels more modern instead of a taper.” Unfortunately, some people do find that the pants feel a bit tight around the thighs.
We love that these come in some fun pinstriped options as well as in more traditional jean washes, too. These non-pinstriped options are made from 100 percent cotton, giving you that retro ‘90s look you may be looking for in a mom jean, while the stripy ones contain a little stretch for those who like that flexibility.
Price at the time of publish: $270
Size: 23-34 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 26.4-inch | Washes: 5
Best High-Waisted: Zara High-Waisted TRF Mom Fit Jeans
What We Love: They’re a perfect wardrobe staple.
What We Don’t Love: We’d like more washes and more sizes.
Zara is another great destination for jeans at fair prices, as you may have already discovered for yourself. These mom jeans make an amazing wardrobe staple with their three classic washes and slight fading and whiskering, easily pairing with any top or shoes that strike your fancy. They have a more classic mom jean style, with a high-waist, a snug fit around the thighs, and a taper at the calf.
With a 27-inch inseam, these jeans are designed to fall at ankle length, though this will vary based on how tall you are. They also contain organically grown cotton for a more sustainable buy, and 1 percent elastane for comfort. We’d love to see these in more washes and more sizes, but apart from that we’re very much sold on them.
Price at the time of publish: $46
Size: 25-32 | Material: Cotton, elastane | Inseam: 27-inch | Washes: 3
Best Black: Mango Mom High-Waist Jeans
What We Love: The black wash is a true black, and the other colors are super cute, too.
What We Don’t Love: They run small and aren’t stretchy.
Black jeans are a great way to elevate the denim look: An incredibly versatile piece, they can be as casual as they come, but also suit your workplace or night out needs. These by Mango are a true black, with just a hint of fading around the stitching, but TBH, denim lovers will appreciate the other washes just as much. “I really love the Mom High-Waist Jeans from Mango because they are an especially relaxed fit and they come in some fun colors,” says Rosales.
As the stylist touches on, these jeans are a bit looser throughout the leg than your average mom jean, though they’ll still fit snugly on those with curvy butts and thighs. To that point, many people will want to size up in these because they run small — and with their 100 percent cotton fabrication, they won’t stretch immediately. Speaking of their fabrication, these are made from part recycled cotton, which is at the very least a nod towards more sustainable clothing.
Price at the time of publish: $70
Size: 1-22 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 27.5-inch | Washes: 5
Best White: Re/Done High Rise Stove Pipe Straight Leg Jeans
What We Love: They’re extra stretchy for comfort and feature a cool raw hem.
What We Don’t Love: Some people need to size up, while others don’t.
“I love my Re/Done stove pipe jeans because they're super casual and fit so well but still have that effortless vibe,” says Lamb. “These are great for running around with my kids and feeling chic and put together.” Though you can grab these in a number of washes, we’re especially loving their vintage white option, which is ever so slightly off-white for an elevated take on pre-Labor Day dressing (and beyond, obviously, because you know we love to break a fashion rule).
High-waisted and straight-cut throughout the leg (hence “stove pipe”), these jeans are designed to hit at the ankle — where they feature raw hems for effortless cool. They’re made from 2 percent elastane to ensure they fit like a glove as you go about your day. Some people may need to size up for more space around the thigh and/or so the length is just right, but we’re willing to overlook some confusing sizing for these jeans’ otherwise flawless features.
Price at the time of publish: $225
Size: 23-32 | Material: Cotton, elastane | Inseam: 27-inch | Washes: 6
Best Light Wash: AGOLDE Criss Cross Straight Jeans
What We Love: The cross-over waistband is an unexpected touch.
What We Don’t Love: Not everyone loves a button fly.
Jeans are obviously a wardrobe basic, but that doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a little fun with your denim, like with these crisscross applesauce waistband pants — which give you an unexpected look without being overly loud. Not to mention, these just have a great fit and design all around.
“Right now, I love when mom jeans are a bit more fitted in the thigh and wider at the bottom, because they make the jeans more comfortable to wear,” says Alex Lamb, a personal shopper and wardrobe stylist. “These are still fitted in the upper thigh but allow me to wear them with a sneaker or a heel because of how they sit at my ankle.” This pair is perfect for those looking for proper ‘90s-style non-stretch denim, and their wider fit means you’ll avoid that uncomfortable stiff feel. Sure, we’d prefer a zipper to a button fly, but once they’re on, these are a real winning style.
Price at the time of publish: $208
Size: 22-34 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 30-inch | Washes: 6
Best Dark Wash : Levi’s 80s Mom Women’s Jeans
What We Love: They expertly give the mom jean style an ‘80s spin.
What We Don’t Love: The fabric is a little thin on some washes.
Mom jeans are typically associated with the ‘90s, but here Levi’s shows us that the style actually goes way back. These pants will lend you a late ‘80s grungy look thanks to their relaxed fit throughout and longer inseam, designed to bunch up ever so slightly at the ankle and perfectly complement a pair of vintage sneakers in bright colors. Similarly, while we tend to think of ‘90s-style jeans as light-washed and faded, you can really embrace the ‘80s look here with the “Running Errands” dark wash, or perhaps the “What Once Was” gray.
“I like the vintage look, and these Levi’s ‘80s style mom jeans are a chic choice,” says West. “They are at a great price of $108 and give the same premium design and wash you might see from other, more expensive brands.” While these aren’t designer jeans, they are still an investment, which is why it’s disappointing that they’re actually a little thin — with some washes showing panty lines and not holding up to machine washing as well as you might hope. If you plan to wear them with seamless underwear and take extra care of them, they can be totally worth it.
Price at the time of publish: $108
Size: 23-34 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 28 to 32-inch | Washes: 7
Best Medium Wash: AGOLDE Riley High-Rise Straight Crop Jeans
What We Love: You can choose from a few medium washes.
What We Don’t Love: The washes are all hemmed differently.
AGOLDE has more than earned its stripes as a fan favorite denim brand, as well as bragging rights as the only label to snatch two spots on our list of the best mom jeans. The Riley, recommended by Sansone, is a textbook mom jean and an absolute sure bet. Embrace your retro soft girl aesthetic in this cropped, high-rise, slim at the thigh, and tapered at the calf style.
We appreciate that they come in 12 washes, but if we were to choose, we’d recommend the medium washes above all — from the grayish blue Frequency to the rock concert-ready Haven. When you take your pick, pay close attention to the hem, since some are hemmed and frayed, some are raw and frayed, and others are more classically hemmed.
Price at the time of publish: $198
Size: 23-34 | Material: Cotton | Inseam: 26-inch | Washes: 12
What to Keep in Mind
Shopping for jeans that actually fit your particular shape can often feel like mission impossible, but there are guidelines you can follow to make the process easier. “The waistline fit is most important when shopping for mom jeans,” explains Bychkova. “Ideally, the pant will sit comfortably right above your natural waistline. Not only is the high-waist silhouette more comfortable, but it also creates the illusion of longer legs. Another essential characteristic of properly fit mom jeans is a relaxed fit through the hips and thighs.”
Like with all jean styles, it’s really important to choose mom jeans according to your body type, and both fashion and comfort preferences. For example, a 100 percent cotton jean, like Everlane The ’90s Cheeky, is perfect for achieving that ‘90s look. Cotton mixed with spandex or elastane is better for those who don’t love the stiffness of vintage denim. With a touch of elastane, Cotton-On Stretch Mom Jean are both chic and comfortable.
There’s a reason we’ve noted the inseam length for all the jeans on our list: This allows you to form an understanding of how the jeans will sit on your legs. “The inseam refers to the inner leg measurement — so the measurement that goes from the zip (crotch) of your jeans all the way down to the hem of your pants,” explains Adams. “This is determined by your height, so it is important to know this measurement to ensure that your jeans fit and hang correctly.” The expert adds that an ankle-length jean often looks the most flattering, and recommends rolling up styles that are longer than that to achieve the same effect.
Your Questions, Answered
What are the best shoes to wear with mom jeans?
Mom jeans are a definite basic, so you can get pretty creative with the shoes you end up pairing with yours — but style experts have some great suggestions to get you started. “Since we're wearing our mom jeans day and night, it's all about the full outfit look — if you're heading out at night, I'd opt for a chic heeled sandal or pump,” says Lamb. “I like being comfortable in flat, elevated sandals or simple sneakers if I'm in mom jeans with my kids. Come fall, I'll wear both flat and heeled boots with my mom jeans.”
What are mom jeans?
You’ve probably seen the term “mom jeans” around quite a bit over the past few years, but if you’re not sure exactly what these look like, West gave us a concise definition. “Mom jeans are high-rise, relaxed-fitting jeans that taper at the calf and ankle,” she says. “I think the term was made ‘cool’ by an SNL skit back in 2003 by Tina Fey. It stuck because it took a once-considered very ‘uncool’ look and made it acceptable and even fashionable.”
Why Shop With US
Iris Goldsztajn is a Paris-born, London-based freelance writer with 10 years of experience covering fashion, beauty, wellness, and lifestyle for the likes of InStyle, British Vogue, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Refinery29 and many more. As the former associate editor for Her Campus, she was responsible for all style and beauty news coverage. In order to write this article, she researched the best mom jeans out there, and spoke to various fashion experts who shared their recommendations: Gabriela Rosales, a fashion stylist and founder of The Stylist Witch; personal stylist and fashion blogger Tara West; SJ Adams, a designer, celebrity stylist and personal style coach known as SJ Style Guru; personal shopper and wardrobe stylist Alex Lamb; style expert Katya Bychkova; and fashion and lifestyle influencer Brittany Sansone.
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Read the original article on InStyle.