We love mom jeans.
For anyone who’s into vintage, you’ll be stretched not to find a pair of mom jeans lurking somewhere in their closet.
They represent everything about the retro denim obsession and by the nature of their fabric tend to be a long lasting investment for any potential owner.
Acid wash, stone wash, tapered, straight leg, relaxed fit, mid rise…the Mom jean varieties are vast and they can definitely be confusing if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for in the first place!
That’s why we’ve put together a short guide for you to work out exactly what style you’re after, how you want them to fit and ultimately, so you know which ones to buy. Which is all very important stuff especially if you are buying online and haven’t got the luxury to try on ten pairs in store until you hit the jackpot.
So first of all you need to think about the cut/shape you want. You can go straight leg or tapered.
With tapered you’ll find they come in at the bottom into a carrot like shape (hence the nickname “carrot” jeans). These are the most common and more flattering style because they roll up at the ankle easily and balance the baggier fit on the thigh, mirroring the tucked waist rise.
Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler all do this style. With a tapered leg the shape can come in varying bagginess so think carefully about whether you want the more classic oversized fit or a slimmer tapered style. Both styles look great with a belt and top tucked in.
Straight leg jeans give a more androgynous fit and Levi’s 501s are the go to choice if this is the look you’re after. The 501 was originally designed for men and have a square hem which, again, looks best turned up at the bottom – think This Is England paired with a set of Docs.
This leg shape is probably the harder of the two to pull off because it’s not designed for a female body but can still look just as good. It tends to look better on women with narrower hips because the body shape is more boyish.
With mom jeans you can choose between a mid and high rise. By their nature they will sit around your waist area which extends the illusion of your leg and is what makes them a flattering choice.
The classic straight leg Levi’s 501 will give you a mid-high rise fit which comes up slightly below the belly button.
It won’t sit like your classic skinny jean so don’t expect to be able to wear a crop top with it unless you want a lot of flesh on show. Instead, tuck in a vintage cotton t shirt or shirt of your choice. We like a fresh white one or a throwback 70s collar.
This style tends to be more popular if you’re looking for something to replace your high waisted skinnys. The waistband fit will be more similar than a mid rise jean.
The high rise tends to come up to your belly button or higher. When you’re pulling them on they can sometimes feel like they aren’t going to make it over your hips but hang in there! Once you’ve managed to navigate the hip shuffle you’ll find they come in nicely at the smallest part of your waist which is what differentiates them from a low rise boyfriend fit which has all the leg bagginess but none of the high waisted contouring.
You have a whole choice of denim washes. Vintage jeans tend to come in six shades: black, charcoal, grey blue, dark blue, mid blue and light blue stonewash.
More Vintage Guides..
If you’re looking for a more general guide to vintage jeans then you can head over to our Levi’s Jeans Guide where we’ve listed all the numbered series and explained what kind of leg shape and rise you cut you can expect to get with each pair. This guide covers both men’s and women’s styles.
And if you’re denim jacket curious head over to our Levi’s Denim Jacket Guide which gives you a bit of info on how to detect what era your Levi’s jacket comes from, whether it be 10 years ago or 100 years ago.
Anyway, here’s a video all about mom jeans to get you in the mood.