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MDX Redbeat

The return of the ‘mom’ jean on the fashion scene

It’s been almost an entire decade since the ‘mom’ jean slowly disappeared from everyone’s closets, but now the trend is coming back and its revival is stronger than ever. Baggy denim is taking over #Fashion, engulfing it in each of it’s tent-like pant legs.

Recently, while looking through old, grainy pictures of my parents, aunts and uncles from a bygone era that I never experienced personally, I noticed one thing that was common in almost all of them.

The ‘mom’ jean. 

Stills upon stills of the women in my family, wearing large, loose-fitting denim.

What struck me was that although these images were from the 80’s and 90’s, I’d just seen someone post a picture on ‘Instagram’ wearing the exact same thing. The caption said ‘#Fashion’.

Who called them ‘mom’ jeans anyway?

The term ‘mom’ jean is a relatively new invention, attaching itself to a whole category of denim to make its return to the fashion scene. It really is an umbrella term that encompasses all the different shapes and fits of loose, high-waisted jeans. 

When ‘mom’ jeans first came into fashion in the late 80’s and early 90’s, they weren’t ‘mom’ jeans. They were just jeans. The graduation of a generation from youngsters to middle-aged adults was parallel to a shift in what was trendy. The new ‘youth’ began wearing more form-fitting pants and many of the ladies who had now become moms, stuck to their baggy denim. The millennials adopted the skinny jeans, the fresh mint of the fashion world, and decided that the boomers who didn’t weren’t cool anymore. 

Hence, the name ‘mom’ jeans. 

Interestingly enough, this slang term that once had a negative connotation for being uncool is now the cool kid on the block.

Now, that’s some irony right there.

The icons: the past and the present 

Maria Cisco, an Italian fashion and lifestyle blogger based in Dubai, recalls her earliest memory of the ‘mom’ jean.

“I remember watching the T.V. show ‘Friends’. Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox, who played ‘Rachel’ and ‘Monica’, used to wear them all the time in the initial seasons and they looked so chic. Anything they wore or did with their hair always became wildly popular. They definitely made that style of jeans really popular,” she says, adding that during her time as a high-school student, everyone owned a pair, including herself. 

Mom jeans, a recurring trend of denim. Photo credits: Unsplash

The late Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, is regarded as one of the trendsetters of the ‘mom’ jean look. The loose-fitting denim was her go-to choice and she always styled it with some great wardrobe staples, like a classic white button-down shirt or a comfortable jumper. Some of her street-style outfits from her later years still serve as fashion inspiration to people all around the world. 

A few others of the numerous famous faces to have rocked the ‘mom’ jean include supermodels Cindy Crawford, Julia Roberts and Iman. 

Today, it seems everyone is hopping onto the ‘mom’ jean bandwagon, from actress Zendaya to the younger generation of models like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s own daughter. 

What does the bona fide expert think? 

Mona Mirzaei, an Iranian fashion journalist who writes for Comode, an Irani fashion publication, is all about the ‘mom’ jean.

“It’s my favourite type of jeans,” says Mirzae. “It’s totally a fashion must-have for so many reasons.  Besides being perfect for casual, smart-casual or formal looks, it’s also suitable for different body shapes,” she explains. 

The anatomy of trends 

The world of fashion is an incredibly dynamic environment. Trends can change within months or years and something current is always coming up. Naturally, a shift in the popular style of denim doesn’t come as a surprise but what’s interesting is that this new trend isn’t new at all. The ‘mom’ jeans have not emerged but resurfaced after having spent a brief period in limbo.

“Trends are cyclic,” says Cisco, talking about the recurring nature of trends.

“They come and go like waves and who knows, skinny jeans might come back in another ten years.” 

When asked about why she thinks the baggy fit has made a comeback now, at this point in time, she said that not just ‘mom’ jeans in particular, but denim in general, of any kind, is timeless. 

“This is the era of unisex or ‘genderless’ fashion. Loose denim serves that really well so, for sure, the baggy fits are a boom now.” 

Several factors have contributed to the recent popularity of the ‘mom’ jean. Besides being a fantastic piece for androgynous fashion, it is also uber comfortable, thanks to the high waist and the loose fitting, and extremely versatile. Like any denim, it’s considered a wardrobe essential.

Mom jeans are comfortable, yet a trendy piece throughout most seasons of the year. Photo credits: Unsplash

Mirzaei agrees, attributing the priority given to comfort during the pandemic and the lifestyle people have been compelled to adopt.

“These days, most people stay at home, work from home and they prefer to be relaxed and wear comfortable clothes. This is the season of comfortable jeans.” 

Skinny jeans are over: true or false?

A quick traverse through the land of social media will show you that many people do, in fact, think that skinny jeans have officially gone out of fashion. It seems like the days of the skin-clingingly tight denim are behind us. 

Whether you’re attending the #skinnyjeansareoverparty or not, it really all boils down to wearing what one feels most confident and at ease in. Trends are just that. Trends. And we all can be trendsetters in our own ways. Fashion should be a sketch of your personality, a way of unique self-expression and something to be enjoyed. 

Fashion inspiration for all 

Cisco has specially curated two looks that you can take inspiration from to style your own pair of ‘mom’ jeans. 

Keeping it casual: Wear your ‘mom’ jeans with a baggy sweater and some chunky sneakers for a comfortable and casual daytime look. Add a small shoulder bag if you’re all about that 90’s vibe.

Dressing it up: Dress up the basic denim with a white turtleneck, white leather boots (with a killer stiletto heel), chunky gold earrings to add some bling and a messy low bun to pull the look together. Bonus points for throwing on a pair of sleek vintage ‘Valentino’ shades.

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