We’re sorry to report that, at least for the (Fall 2017) moment, denim is no longer a key player on the runways. Designers are moving toward a more grown-up aesthetic. Even previously denim-centric brands like Marques ’ Almeida and Ellery shunned the material in favor of tailored, office-friendly wool pieces (and not-so-office-friendly PVC flares).
And yet fashion’s obsession with mom jeans held strong. Of the designers that did stick with denim, a majority showed the high-waisted, (butt-accentuating) relaxed fit beloved by 80s suburbanites and lampooned in SNL skits. Forward-thinking labels like Gucci, Off-White and Adam Selman offered new takes on once-dowdy vintage denim. Alessandro Michele went with rather literal styling — 80s denim plus 80s band tee plus 80s hairdo plus 80s glasses plus vintage-feeling cowboy belt. Virgil Abloh reimagined the Canadian tux with high-rise mom jeans and an ultra cropped denim jacket. Selman outfitted one non-mom in embroidered true blue denim, a sheer floral button-down, a thick red belt and cool-kid Converse.
Of course, while the jeans were new, the styling wasn’t wholly unfamiliar. These days mom jeans run rampant on the streets. Celebrities and laypeople alike seem out to prove that the pant style goes with everything. Among mom jeans’ more visible (in all senses of the word) advocates is Kendall Jenner. The supermodel may not have tips for her servers, but she’s brimming with mom jean styling pointers. These include:
1. Blend the 80s, 90s and today. Pair your newly hip jeans with micro floral print and a chic belt bag worn as an actual belt. For your final accessory, add a pair of of-the-moment sunnies.
2. Go monochrome. Pair an oversized black band tee with XL black jeans. This time, strap your utilitarian micro bag over your shoulder. Polish up the look with white boots, The Matrix-style shades and a barely noticeable waist belt, the buckle of which provides a pop of color.
3. Keep the white boots, #FreetheNipple. Team bootcut jeans with a sheer statement blouse. (The going-out-top-and-jeans look strikes again.)
Bloggers, #influencers and other slightly lesser-known fashion folk are also experts in this field. They recommend pairing mom jeans with…
A strong-shouldered blazer and tube top.
A chunky ribbed sweater, lo-fi sneakers and statement earrings (in which case, reach for jeans with a fun fly).
Ripped knees, alternative shirting (ruffled, off-the-shoulder and striped, if it suits you), neutral block-heeled mules and a net bag.
All the things. Namely, a newsboy cap, vintage-inspired graphic tee, double trouble outerwear (a utilitarian army jacket tied around the waist, a silky slightly cropped jacket up top), combat boots and a cup of joe.
A silky gold blouse and industrial belt.
An off-the-shoulder crop top, chain-strap bag, neutral slides and a metallic pedi.
A half-tucked button-down, PVC coat, bold bag, translucent nylons and stilettos.
A monochrome one-piece swimsuit, rope belt, straw bag, #gorpcore slides and beachy waves.
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A millennial pink shirt with cute back details and emerald, rhinestone-embellished mules.
Ready to take mom jeans for a spin? Good. Below, find our favorite base options. Then go forth and start your own styling microtrend. (A word of caution: Due to their inherent bagginess, we’d recommend sidestepping the dress-over-pants look when it comes to this particular denim cut.)