In case you haven’t gotten the memo yet, skinny jeans are out. We can probably thank the pandemic for that, with many of us resorting to roomier fits—if we decided to put jeans on at all.
Enter mom jeans, the cut that was so uncool for most of my teens, but—just like pretty much everything else from the ’90s—has once again come full circle to become the denim du jour.
So what exactly is the mom jean? An easy fit to wear with pretty much anything in your closet, the mom jean blueprint consists of a high waist, tapered legs, less-stretchy denim and a relaxed fit through the leg.
I have spent more time than I care to disclose searching for perfect mom jeans. It’s pretty much all I wear, pre-pandemic and post. And though the fit can be baffling to some, it can be extremely flattering if you know what to look for.
How to Wear Mom Jeans
Here’s my recipe for success: Look for an extra-high waist (think at or above the navel), rigid denim (break them in for the perfect fit) and a cropped leg (should hit above the ankle). With those boxes checked off, you’ll have the ultimate pair of mom jeans that can be worn with body suits, cropped sweaters or tanks, a blazer, a tucked-in oversize tee—the possibilities are endless.
Stylish and Actually Flattering Mom Jeans
These are my picks for the best mom jeans that you’ll wear for years to come, and—if they’re lucky—pass down to the next generation. After all, mom knows best.
Ripped Mom Jean
$49.95 at American Eagle
A magic pair of jeans? These could be it. Rigid denim meets a high-rise stretch waistband on this pair of mom jeans with over 500 5-star reviews. Choose from the 15 different washes—or collect them all.
Levi’s Wedgie Icon Jean
$98 $88 at Urban Outfitters
Another iconic pair of Levi’s, I love the wedgie fit to help accentuate what your mama gave you.
Curve Love High Rise Mom Jeans
$99 at Abercrombie & Fitch
Reviewers love these cropped mom jeans with just enough stretch that hugs you in all the right places. Plus, they come in eight different washes for that perfect pair of denim.
CRVY Georgine Mom Jeans
$98 at Free People
For those with a narrower waist and wider hips, this pair of denim combats that pesky waist-gap struggle.
Levi’s High Loose Taper Jeans
$108 at Free People
Levi’s is almost synonymous with mom jeans. This pair are a fresh take on the staple with a high rise and looser leg.
Kris High Rise Relaxed Curve Jeans
$128 at Reformation
When Reformation launched their denim line, I just about lost it. The brand was able to take their feminine, sexy style and apply it to jeans and, yes, even make the mom jean look sleek and sexy. The Kris comes in two different washes with a fitted waist, relaxed curved leg and rigid fabric to fit your body without stretching out too much.
High rise ‘Original’ mom jeans in lightwash
$29 at ASOS
This comfy, relaxed-fit pair comes in three different lengths (30, 32 and 34). And for that price? Sold.
AGOLDE Balloon Jeans
$180 at NET-A-PORTER
Add some oomph with structured, voluminous legs that taper at the ankle and sit high at the waist.
High Rise Cheeky Straight Jeans With Washwell
$89.95 at GAP
Reviewers call these jeans super flattering with a hip-hugging and fitted top, relaxed leg and rigid denim that keeps its shape.
Levi’s High Loose Taper Jeans
$108 at Shopbop
Yes, there is a third pair of Levi’s on this list. This pair features a high waist and tapered silhouette with added room in the legs that make these a favorite for those with curves or those looking for a relaxed, vintage look. Plus, they’re sustainably made!
BDG High-Waisted Mom Jean
$59.99 $39.99 at Urban Outfitters
Nearly 2,000 reviewers say these jeans are absolutely worth it. And at just $40, I’m not arguing.
Citizens of Humanity Calista distressed organic high-rise tapered jeans
$260 at NET-A-PORTER
I’m loving the look of these wider, tapered legs. Try them with heeled sandals or boots when the weather gets chillier.
$59.99 at Mango
Made with sustainable cotton, the simple silhouette and different washes of Mango’s mom jean = love.
The Curvy Perfect Vintage Jean
$115 at Madewell
Reviewers rate these a 4.7 out of 5 and love the fitted waist with relaxed legs that aren’t too baggy. A RetailMeNot staffer loved these so much, she wore them out of the store! A note that you may want to size down for a more-fitted look, and I also suggest checking out this ripped version for some extra edge.