There’s no need to ask mom for her 90s hand-me-downs to fulfill your high-waisted, non-stretch denim dreams this summer — designers have finally made this fit into an accessible, crowd-pleaser that you need. After decades of stretchy, skin-tight skinny jeans, Citizens of Humanity creative director Catherine Ryu says this new silhouette — shed of its stigma-based name, the “mom jean” — is here to stay. “The skinny won’t go away tomorrow, but it’s no longer a fashion item,” she tells us. “There’s a definitive trend toward pants and jeans becoming looser and wider and we think this is the perfect go-to. If you were a fan of the boyfriend, this is a nice transition.”
But how can you make it work for you? We asked the experts for some tips for finding your most flattering fit.
Watch your back
The placement of a back pocket makes huge difference when finding a pair the suits you. Ryu says that the longer rise on super high-waisted denim can cause your butt to look too long and frumpy. “We made the pockets bigger and the placements are perfect and flattering,” she notes of the label’s Liya High Rise Classic Fit jeans. She wouldn’t give away the company’s secret sauce —“too technical,” she adds — but a wider, more square pocket placed strategically over the bum, angled out slightly toward the hips seem to provide the aesthetic the Liya boasts.
Creating length with styles as voluminous as the “mom” is the key to not looking too bottom heavy. “A lot of brands are having the issue where they’re creating shapes that are too baggy,” explains Alejandro Chahin, founder of New York-based denim startup Mott & Bow, which actually offers a complimentary backup size option (to return) for its customers. “You want to create some space in the thigh and butt, but you want it to be slimmer than a boyfriend fit.” Chahin’s label recently expanded into women’s denim and rolled outa Slim Boyfriend optionthat skims the body with a straight fit. “We gave it a 32-inch inseam so you can roll at the ankle — it’ll give the perception that you have longer legs,” he adds.
Waist not, wear not
Likewise, creating definition around your middle makes all the difference with this throwback denim — because unlike the slimming skinny or the balancing bell, mom jeans are … not built to flatter. Making sure the cut flatters your waistline — doesn’t dig in, fold over or run too loose —is also key to finding your perfect pair. Ryu explains, “It should feel cozy right above the belly button, but you want to make sure it fits throughout the torso area.” Plus, it’s about find the perfect pairing, “It’s about creating a waistline,” she continues.“Try cropped tops, or be sure that you’re tucking your shirt in to accentuate the waist. Belts help.”