Friday, March 20, 2009

How to avoid "Mom jeans"

You've all seen them. You try to avoid them. And when you do encounter them you cower in fear and loathing. They're...

Mom Jeans {insert shriek here}

Yes, Mom Jeans, those super high-waisted, butt-encompassing pants that always add at least ten pounds and age you at least ten years. I think many a good woman has inadvertently fallen prey to this horrendous phenomenon... so I'm here to help.

As I find myself rapidly approaching my (gulp) mid-twenties, it has become more and more important to me to find clothing that is age appropriate. Which is not to say that I don't still own a large chunk of my collegiate wardrobe (especially since I spent so much on all those pairs of designer jeans), because I do. It's more about what clothes (specifically pants) will flatter my new and more womanly body (you know, one that actually has some curves). The sickeningly low rises that are readily available for the teenage and early twenties demographic are not that desirable, and the recent attempt to reintegrate the high-waisted jean into the fashion world has underwhelmed and disturbed many. I mean, we all remember this unfortunate faux pax:

All I can say about that one is, EESH. Sure, Ms. Simpson may be a bit more curvaceous than she has been in the past, but these make her look matronly. They do nothing for her "still-quite-skinny-no-matter-what-Hollywood-says" frame. Her stylist should be shot for this one. Or at the very least, fired.

But I have digressed...

One of the most important things you must know when seeking to procure some flattering jeans is your body. {Please refer to this post and this post for a refresher on body type/types of bottoms that work well for each shape.} Know what shapes work for you and which don't. Know what kind of rise (where the pants hit your waist area... typically, a lot-rise hits two-three inches below the belly button, high rise hitting at the belly button, etc.) works best with your body and that you're the most comfortable in. And don't ever be afraid to ask a salesperson for help... it's what they're there for.

I was recently asked the question of where one could procure "pants that cover everything without being labeled 'Mom jeans.'" It's a valid question, really... one that I will now answer.

I will preface this by saying that in the past I have been something of a "jeans whore" if you will... sometimes when I think about exactly how much I have spent on my 15 pairs of jeans I get a little bit ill. Regardless, I don't think it's necessary to always buy designer jeans. (Though there is a marked difference in quality and in wear.) Heck, I found a delightful pair of jeans at Forever 21 for less than twenty bucks. And they're great. But since I've been instructed to search for a specific type of jean, I have to be a bit more specific. When you enter a store, consider what demographic they're selling to. If you walk into a Forever 21, for instance, you're more often than not going to find clothing that is tailored to fit teens. So the rises of their bottoms are going to be geared toward teen fashion and not womanly fashion. Which can still work for you, you just have to be careful. The stores I am going to suggest to you all are the stores that aim at a bit more of the "mature, without being irrelevant and unfashionable" demographic that produce jeans that are not designer jeans. (If you all would like me to post about designer jeans, I would be happy to do so.)


The thing that is great about stores like the Gap is that they provide you with different jean styles and rises in a manner that is easily distinguishable and understandable. They also offer (at least online) petite and tall versions of their pants, to help those who often have trouble finding the right hem length. I think the most flattering cut that Gap carries is their Long and Lean jean. (And you know what, I actually own a pair of these, and really like them.)

As you can see, the rise of these jeans are really quite perfect, finding the delicate balance between too-low and too-high. You have full coverage in the front and the back without the appearance of the crotch-pulling/bum stretching traits that a Mom jean creates. This style comes in various washes and three different inseam lengths: Ankle (29"), Regular (32") and Long (34"). The also have a Curvy jean that accommodates curves without sacrificing a higher (but not too high) rise.

For a bit of a higher-end jean, go with Gap's sister company, Banana Republic, which has a higher price-point, but isn't as expensive as most designer jeans. If you're on the other end of the spectrum, Gap's other sister company, Old Navy has shown a lot of promise in the jeans department as of late.


Express is another store that affords a variety of jean styles in various lengths. They have a name for each rise {ex. Stella (low rise), Eva (regular rise), Mia (higher rise)} and various styles (ex. skinny, bootcut, boyfriend) for each rise. They also have three different inseam lengths (30", 32", 34") to accommodate your height. So the possibilities are many. I personally think the Mia Bootcut Jean is a great option. (I apologize there is not a picture for this one-- blasted internet-- but click the link; they're worth checking out.)

*I would also recommend checking out Levi's jeans. They're the original jean, after all, and have a TON of styles. You're bound to find one that works for you. They're available at various places (like Urban or even Kohl's) for various price points, and they put out a really solid product.

Well, I hope this little foray into jeans buying has been informative and helpful. Happy shopping!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Never tried Express jeans before; I will have to give them a whirl. And I really like my long and lean jeans from GAP, as well. They are the only jeans from the GAP that don't accentuate the rear-ward for me. Something about the cut...anyway. A BIT thank you for tackling this subject! I love your tips and totally trust your advice. Now, someday, I will have enough money to get the purse I dream of, the jeans I dream of, etc. etc. etc. Sigh.

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