I’m a Fashion Editor and I’ve Tried So Many Mom Jeans—Here Are the Best Ones (2024)

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I’m a Fashion Editor and I’ve Tried So Many Mom Jeans—Here Are the Best Ones (4)

By Alison Syrett Cleary

I’m a Fashion Editor and I’ve Tried So Many Mom Jeans—Here Are the Best Ones (5)

    Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

    Roughly 10 years ago, I had the chance to ask model Miranda Kerr what she thought about mom jeans. I was interviewing her about current denim trends—read: a high-rise denim cut beloved by the mothers of millennials in the ‘80s and ‘90s—happened to be one of the buzziest new silhouettes floating around the mid-2010s zeitgeist. The term was actually so inside baseball at the time that the model looked at me in confusion and said, “I don’t know what that is, but maybe I should find out now that I’m a mom.”

    The irony is that, back then, the whole point of the design was that its connotations had totally flipped. Rather than catering to those on the playground scene, it was a youthful, IYKYK choice for a downtown crowd that had tired of skinny jeans. You’d be more likely to find it in a hole-in-the-wall thrift store than jean shopping on Amazon (where now, a quick search currently yields seven full pages of results). But these days? The high-rise, vintage-esque staple has finally been popular long enough to become a permanent part of a style lexicon—not only does it work for everyone, but there’s just so much variety out there to choose from. The selection of 2024 pants caters to all body types (curvy, petite, tall), and generally feels classic enough to work for different age groups. Better yet: Many labels have finally figured out how to solve the dreaded waist-to-butt gap situation in the back of the waistband.

    Meanwhile, the very definition of a “mom jean”has shifted. Now it generally describes denim with a certain high-waist, retro look, while the width and crop of the legs often varies. Finding a pair that works is a very personal process, and depends on the look you prefer—like, say, a baggy, wide leg Gen Z-adjacent vibe versus a more polished, ankle-baring cut that’ll show off your ballet flats. And as a fashion editor who’s been flirting with the look since its early days, these are the mom jeans I swear by as well as faves from industry colleagues and stylish friends whose opinions we deeply trust.

    The best mom jeans, at a glance

    All products are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    • Best Overall Mom Jeans: Levis 90s 501 Jeans

      1/10

      Levi's 90's 501 Jeans

      The OG of mom jeans, rugged and sexy Levi’s 501s used to be something one could procure only from the racks of a secondhand store. Now the heritage brand offers the bestseller in a host of different washes and fabrics, although this laid-back, straight leg fit at Free People (in the ultimate faded light blue) is one of the most versatile options out there. Depending on your preference, you may want to size down for a trimmer look.

      • Wash: 11 options (but not in every size)
      • Size range: 24 - 32
      • Inseam: 30"
      • Features: 10.5" rise, rigid denim

      Save on the best mom jeans with these Free People promo codes.

    • Best Petite Mom Jeans: Madewell The Plus ’90s Straight Crop Jean

      2/10

      Madewell The Plus '90s Straight Crop Jean

      The beauty of this pair—which offers sizing for petite, tall, and plus-size bodies—is in its precise proportions for every height. While the waistband hits nice and snugly at the smallest part of your torso, there’s still plenty of room in the rear to—ahem—accentuate one’s figure. There’s also a cool little rip on the upper thigh to give it a lived-in look without all the extra work of breaking it in.

      • Wash: 3 options
      • Size range: 23 - 28W
      • Inseam: 25.5" (petite), 26.5" (plus), 27.5" (standard), 20.5" (tall), and 33.5" (taller)
      • Features: Options for petite, plus, standard, tall, and taller sizing; fit is just the teeniest bit stretchy

      Save on the best mom jeans with these Madewell promo codes.

    • Best Budget Mom Jeans: Zara Straight-Cut Mid-Rise Jeans

      3/10

      Zara Straight-Cut Mid-Rise Jeans

      Slim but not skinny, just cropped enough, and the perfect shade of blue—this under-$50(!) buy from Zara covers all the key bases. It’s the ultimate entry point to the look as it’s simple enough to work with most any T-shirt in your wardrobe with minimal effort.

      • Wash: 1 option
      • Size Range: 25 - 32
      • Inseam: Not listed
      • Features: Made from a blend of recycled- and organically-grown cotton
    • Best Lightweight Mom Jeans: Everlane The Super-Soft Relaxed Jean

      4/10

      Everlane The Super-Soft Relaxed Jean

      If you are loath to wear jorts when the temperature rises this summer, consider trying this light and airy alternative. The denim is crafted with a looser-weave cotton than usual, so they feel soft and breathable in warm and humid weather. They also have a broken in feel that’ll complement all manner of featherweight knits, light T-shirts, and cropped cardigans.

      • Wash: 5 options
      • Size Range: 23 - 33
      • Inseam: 27.5"
      • Feature: Mid-rise made with a mix of 60% organic cotton and 40% Tencel with Tencel with Refribra

      Save on the best mom jeans with these Everlane promo codes.

    • Best Curvy Mom Jeans: Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love High Rise Loose Jean

      5/10

      Abercrombie & Fitch Curve Love High Rise Loose Jean

      This selection has a slightly wide leg that makes it feel like a happy medium between the looser denim that’s all over social media right now and the silhouette’s original pre-internet form. Brand consultant and Fluffi CEO Beth Hitchco*ck, who describes herself as a “high rise queen for life” swears by this pair for its cool It Girl vibe. “These have that high-waist fit that I love so that the baggier style is still fitted through the waist and hips,” she notes. “They’re a good everyday pair.” And while they’re definitely the best mom jeans for a curvy body shape, the cheeky butt-enhancing cut will make most anyone look like they have an hourglass figure.

      • Wash: 14 options
      • Size Range: 23 - 37 and 5 inseam options
      • Inseam: From 28.75" (extra short) - 32.75" (extra long)
      • Features: Has a 10.5" rise with an extra 2" space at the thigh and hip area to avoid gaping around the waist
    • Best High Rise Mom Jeans: Khaite Danielle Stretch Jeans

      6/10

      Khaite Danielle Stretch Jeans

      Lele Sadoughi founder and designer Lisa Sadoughi, who loves mom jeans for the “endless possibilities for mixing and matching” they offer, is a huge fan of these light wash straight leg jeans from Khaite. “I love a vintage-inspired rinse,” she says of the style, which offers the perfect fit for being a blank canvas: a straight up-and-down shape with a high rise that makes everyone’s legs look a good three inches longer. The stiffer denim looks amazing with both T-shirts and dressier tops, like corsets or silky camisoles.

      • Wash: 5 options
      • Size Range: 23 - 32
      • Inseam: Not listed
      • Features: Made from a structured denim with just a hint of give for ease of movement
    • Best Trendy Mom Jeans: Ksubi Strider Heritage

      7/10

      Ksubi Strider Heritage

      These wide leg jeans come recommended by My Mum Made It designer Nyree Leckenby as an of-the-moment upgrade on the ‘90s-esque look—same high waist and vintage aesthetic but with a looser, more effortless fit that feels in line with what’s happening in fashion right now. “I really love these because they’re fitted around the waist and baggy around the leg,” she says. “I feel like they blend the polished look with a more relaxed style for diversity of wear.”

      • Wash: 1 option
      • Size Range: 22 - 34
      • Inseam: 33.5"
      • Features: Rigid, no stretch denim with a 12 ⅝” rise and classic 5 pocket styling
    • Best Baggy Mom Jeans: Old Navy Mid-Rise Boyfriend Loose Jeans

      8/10

      Old Navy Mid-Rise Boyfriend Loose Jeans

      These slouchy dark wash Old Navy ankle boyfriend jeans look so incredibly cool with a simple white tee and cropped leather jacket. The mid-rise is ever-so-slightly lower than traditional “mom jeans” too, making them ideal for balancing the proportions of short-waisted body types. The cropped cut is also excellent for showing off a cute pair of shoes—I suggest Mary Janes all summer, and a tall shaft ankle boot in the fall.

      • Wash: 4 options
      • Size Range: 00 - 30
      • Inseam: 26" (petite), 28" (regular), 30" (tall)
      • Features: Sits just below the belly button with a relaxed fit on the hips and straight leg

      Save on the best mom jeans with these Old Navy promo codes.

    • Best White Mom Jeans: Agolde ‘90s Pinch High Waist Straight Leg Organic Cotton Jeans

      9/10

      AGOLDE ‘90s Pinch High Waist Straight Leg Organic Cotton Jeans

      White denim can be tricky to pull off. But do it right, and you’ll look like Jane Birkin vacationing on the French Riviera. The secret? Opt for a heavier weight material (read 100% cotton, no stretch) with an easygoing fit. This stylish pair from Nordstrom in particular has an extra structured and crisp straight leg, making the jeans polished enough to dress up casual sneakers or chunky loafers—or give a rugged “I didn’t try to look this good” edge to any pair of heels.

      • Wash: 1 option
      • Size Range: 23 - 33
      • Inseam: 29.5"
      • Features: A fitted 12.5" front rise with looser, straight legs

      Save on the best mom jeans with these Nordstrom promo codes.

    • Best French Girl-Inspired: Sézane Brut Sexy

      10/10

      Sézane Brut Sexy

      When you picture the quintessential Parisian girl frolicking around the City Of Lights, straw basket in tow, she’s probably wearing something akin to this beautifully fitted—but not too fitted—cut with a rise that’s just high enough to skim the bottom of a boxy T-shirt. (It also is an excellent option for tucking in your top and belting.) Made from a cotton canvas material that’s just stiff enough to hold its shape, these still have a bit of give thanks to the subtle addition of elastane. They’re also, thanks to the slightly tapered design, fantastic mom jeans for skinny legs.

      • Wash: 3 options
      • Size Range: 0 - 16
      • Inseam: 27.6"
      • Features: Available in regular and tall sizing

    Alison Syrett is a freelance writer and editor with over a decade’s worth of experience covering all things fashion (with the occasional pivot into the worlds of wellness, beauty, and travel). After getting her professional start at Lucky, she spent 6 years covering shopping and style for the (now defunct)... Read more

    Freelance writer

    Topicsshoppingjeansdenimpantsbottoms90s fashion

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