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Why are Mom Jeans called Mom Jeans?

When mom jeans started to compete skinny jeans, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Suddenly we could show off our natural waists and do kart wheels and jumping jacks without the squeeze. This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating mom-inspired fashion by explaining the origins of mom jeans.

Some of our moms still wear the original mom jeans, from a time when they were just called jeans. Even though they went out of popularity for at least a decade in the early 2000s, their revival has been in full swing for several years now.

What are mom jeans?

A woman wearing mom jeans on a bike

Mom jeans are a jeans fit popularly produced in the late-80s and early-90s. They were originally worn with a thicker belt, and they have a natural (high) waist and looser fit around the thighs. They taper, landing anywhere from just above the ankle to low-mid calf.

They had already earned their name by 2006, when Saturday Night Live made this parody of mom jeans. The voiceover narration says, "This Mother's Day, don't give Mom that bottle of perfume. Give her something that says, 'I'm not a woman anymore. I'm a mom!'" At that time, they were associated with ultra-basic moms running errands in minivans. 

Before mom jeans were cool

A woman sitting on the ground wearing mom jeans

Before the tide turned in their favor, one reporter claimed “mom jeans flatter almost no one.” The article casts shame on the physical changes mothers undergo after pregnancy, calling them the ”cruel effects of multiple pregnancies, weight gain and the natural changes in your body that come with age.” Mom jeans signal an emergence from this kind of toxic rhetoric. 

Thank goodness body-positivity has helped us honor fullness in fashion again. Women shouldn’t feel they’ve been reduced to a non-sexual lump of clay just because they’ve had a baby. Nor should they be expected to wear stretch jeans made with polyester elastic fibers that break off as microplastics in the wash.  

Why we like mom jeans

A woman sitting on a cabinet wearing mom jeans

Besides, mom jeans have a low key vibe for those times when you just want to listen to music or burn incense and do some self-care journaling. In other words, mom jeans are named after moms, because they’re as comfy and nurturing as moms. 

Plus, they look hella good with crop tops, contrary to the claim that they aren’t flattering. You can find style inspiration on all of the early 90s sitcoms on characters like Ashley Banks on Fresh Prince of Bel Air and DJ Tanner from Full House. Now, the trend has taken off and almost every major brand makes their own version of “mom jeans.” 

Thrifters know that finding the perfect mom jeans for cheap isn’t really that hard. The style was everywhere until stretchy low rise bell bottoms from shops like Wet Seal became popular. You don’t need to buy fast fashion at all to get a pair of classic mom jeans. 

This Mother’s Day, give the gift of thrift. Shop our preloved Mother's Day Bundle to help her remember what she wore when you were just a baby. 

 


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