Do you find yourself trying to decide what kind of jeans to buy when you want comfort and style? Both mom jeans and boyfriend jeans are trending now, but they present very different looks. When you compare mom jeans vs boyfriend jeans, what exactly is the difference?
The main difference between mom jeans and boyfriend jeans is that mom jeans have a very high waist and boyfriend jeans have a low, loose waist and seat. Boyfriend jeans hang more loosely all over, while mom jeans often have tapered legs. Mom jeans usually have full-length legs and boyfriend jeans typically have cropped or cuffed legs as well.
In this article, you will find out what mom jeans and boyfriend jeans look like. You will learn the key differences between these two modern styles. Finally, you will discover tips for matching the right style to your body type!
What Are Mom Jeans?
Mom jeans have a loose cut through the seat and thighs to provide extra mobility and comfort. They emerged as a trend in the 1980s for very high-waisted women’s jeans. Originally, this trend had a negative connotation–it was basically the frumpy, baggy dad jeans thing for women!No one wanted to see their mom wearing these looser, more casual denim style, back in the day. But then the fashion world caught on to the fact that this style combines comfort with a different look, and the rest is history. Mom jeans have seen a huge surge in popularity in the past several decades, to the point that they are considered a staple of the fashion industry today.
One of the reasons mom jeans remain so popular is that they suit many different body types, especially bodies with extra curves. The high waist smoothes over any pooch in your belly area and does not squish you into an unfortunate muffin top like so many tight and low-cut denim styles.
That said, keep in mind that “mom jeans” and high-waisted jeans are not always the same thing. Mom jeans have a very loose fit. Other jeans styles can have a high waist but may have a skin-tight fit in the seat and legs!
If you want to try a pair of mom jeans for yourself, one thing to keep in mind is that most big-name brands do not market this style under the term “mom jeans.” Instead, look for names like “high-waisted taper fit” or “high loose fit.”
Unlike skinny or straight jeans, “mom jeans” is more of a slang term for loose-fitting jeans with a super high waist. Because of this, the exact specifics of the cut may vary from one brand to another.
Usually, you can expect to find a very high waist, a loosely fitted seat, roomy thighs, and tapered, full-length legs in mom jeans. In some cases, you may find brands selling mom jeans that have cuffed or shorter legs as well.
What Are Boyfriend Jeans?
Boyfriend jeans are a loose, baggy style of jeans for women first popularized by Marylin Monroe way back in the 1960s. Marylin made the slouchy style into a symbol of carefree coolness, and they have remained popular for teens and adults ever since!Boyfriend jeans usually have a low-cut waist that rests loosely above your hip bones. They always have a roomy seat, extra space in the thighs, and straight, nontapered legs. All of this creates the appearance that the baggy denim more or less hangs off of your body.
Originally, the name “boyfriend jeans” came from the trend for young women to borrow men’s jeans from their significant others. Men’s pants typically have a different shape from women’s pants, which led to the idea of loose jeans that drape off a woman’s hips.
Today, you often see these jeans in fashion photos when a celebrity has a day off and is spotted in a Starbucks or at Target. Plus, this denim style remains super popular among teens who often pair the loose denim with a tight or cropped top.
While bf jeans offer lots of comfort and mobility because of the loose fit, they do not work for all body types as easily as mom jeans. The thing with boyfriend jeans is that you need them to look loose. If your curves fill up the extra space inside the denim, they will look stretched-out instead of hanging freely down from your hips.
Though bf jeans typically have straight legs that do not taper into a narrower leg opening, they do often have a short leg that ends above your ankle. In some cases, you will find these as cut-offs with a ragged edge, and in other cases, the legs may come with a folded cuff.
You can find some popular brands that describe their product as boyfriend jeans, but you will often find a more literal description. For example, Levi’s sells their original 501 for women in a cropped style, which is the brand’s version of bf jeans.
Mom Jeans vs Boyfriend Jeans: Key Points
Take a look at this brief chart to get an idea of the biggest differences between mom jeans and boyfriend jeans.
|Mom Jeans||Boyfriend Jeans|
|Cut||High cinched waist, but roomy seat and thighs. Tapered legs.||Low waist, relaxed seat, loose or baggy legs|
|Fit||Close at the waist, but loose through the seat and legs.||Very loose|
|Top||Close-fitting waistband but loose top overall.||Loose-fitting|
|Waist||Always high, sometimes several inches above the natural waist.||Usually low-rise waist|
|Leg Opening||Slightly tapered. Can come in full length or cuffed or shortened length.||Wider, with a cropped leg that ends 3” above ankle|
|How to Wear||Pair with tucked-in tops. FLowing blouses, fluffy sweaters, and loose tees all look great with these high-waisted pants.||Pair with tight blouses or tees, or crop tops.|
|Body Type||Works well for people with rounded, tall, or short bodies. The only exception is people with pear-shaped bodies.||Best for petite or tall and slender bodies|
What Is the Difference Between Mom Jeans and Boyfriend Jeans?
The main difference between mom jeans and boyfriend jeans is in the height of the waist and the cut of the legs. Mom jeans have a high waist, while boyfriend jeans usually have a low waist. Also, mom jeans usually have tapered legs that narrow in below the knee, and boyfriend jeans have straight legs that do not narrow below the knee.
Mom and boyfriend jeans both have a looser cut than many other denim styles, but you still find key differences between them. First, mom jeans have a more closely fitted waist than bf jeans, which have a loose, low-slung waist in most cases. Second, mom jeans usually have tapered legs below the knee, while boyfriend jeans have straight legs all the way down.
Traditionally, boyfriend jeans had a looser crotch area than mom jeans, though this varies a lot in modern brands today.
However, both mom and boyfriend jeans always offer a loosely fitting seat and roomy thighs.
Although both mom and boyfriend jeans offer a lot of extra room in key areas, the styles have very different fits.
Mom jeans fit pretty snuggly in the high waist but then loosen up in a roomy seat and comfortably expansive thigh area.
Boyfriend jeans drape from a loose, low waist into baggy straight legs. This fit gives the overall appearance of too-big, slouchy pants.
However, neither type of jeans should cling to your body tightly like skinny jeans. One of the key characteristics of both mom and boyfriend jeans is that they offer a loose, comfortable fit.
The top portion of boyfriend and mom jeans looks completely different. Boyfriend jeans have a low waist and a very loose, almost baggy crotch and seat area. (At least, they do most of the time–these days, you can also find slim-fitting boyfriend jeans that have a tighter cut).
The top of mom jeans, in contrast, has a high waist that is much more narrow than the hip area of the top. This is because women’s bodies typically curve in at the waist and out at the hips and this style replicates that natural shape. Mom jeans often have extra room in the hips, though, as well as a roomy seat and thigh area.
As you have no doubt noticed by now, one of the defining features of the mom jean is its super high waist. Sometimes you find elastic in the back of this high waist to help it fit snuggly at the waist and then curve out more generously over the hips.
Boyfriend jeans have a straight, low-cut waist that usually rests at or just above your hip bones. The exact rise (meaning the distance from the center of the crotch to the top of the waistband) can vary from one brand to another, though. Some boyfriend jeans have a looser crotch area to add to the overall baggy appearance of the pants.
The exact measurement of the leg opening for both mom jeans and boyfriend jeans is never the same from one brand to another. That said, you can expect several distinguishing features from each style.
Mom jeans almost always have slightly tapered legs instead of straight legs. This means the leg opening at or above your ankle will have a smaller diameter than the width of the leg at your knee. Also, mom jeans can come in a cropped or cuffed style or full-length legs.
Boyfriend jeans have straight, loose legs with a wider leg opening. The trend these days is for a leg that ends about 3 inches above your ankle, but you will also sometimes see full-length boyfriend jeans that have a loose, baggy leg opening at the ankle.
Best for What Body Type
Mom jeans and boyfriend jeans both have a loose and comfortable fit, but they look best on different body types.
Boyfriend jeans look best on tall and slender or petite and slender people. The loose fit can emphasize a more curved shape in an unflattering way. Even people with a straight body shape who can easily wear boyfriend jeans have to realize that this style does not accentuate your natural body shape like many more closely-fitting denim styles.
Are Mom jeans for everyone? Well, not quite. If you have a pear-shaped body, you may want to bypass mom jeans, as the tapered legs may highlight the pear shape more than you like.
On the other hand, mom jeans have that high waist that can nip in a rounded tummy and smooth over curved hips, so many people with extra curves enjoy wearing this style! Mom jeans also feel comfortable for people with varying heights. Shorter people may find that the high waist makes their legs look longer, especially if worn with heels.
Mom Jeans vs Straight JeansMom jeans and straight jeans have different cuts in the leg, as mom jeans typically have slightly tapered legs. Despite that, both popular denim styles have a looser overall fit, making them popular in recent years.
Straight-leg jeans have the same width in the leg of the pants from the hip to the ankle. As you can imagine, this means quite a wide leg opening down by your ankle! This loose fit allows for easy movement. In women’s jeans, the leg often ends at or just above the ankle.
Straight-leg jeans can have several different waist styles, including a high waist or a low-cut waist. Mom jeans, in contrast, always have a very high waist.
Also, mom jeans typically have a baggier cut in the seat and thighs than straight jeans. Straight jeans have a pretty rectangular, boxy appearance because they do not nip in or out like mom jeans, which shape to fit curved bodies.
How Are Mom Jeans Supposed to Fit?
Mom jeans should shape to your midsection without clinging like skinny jeans. Due to the looser cut of this style, you should have a half-inch or even an inch of room in the seat and thighs. This lets you move around, sit and stand, or even just breathe very comfortably!
Do mom jeans hide belly fat? In many cases, yes, because they have a high, close-fitting waist and then looser hips to make room for curves. This high waist comes with a long zipper and flat front to de-emphasize a belly.
One thing you may find challenging about the fit of mom jeans is that they have a loose seat, meaning that the denim may hang more loosely around your rear than you like. In fact, in the worst-case scenario, this loose seat can make your rear look quite flat instead of rounded. Then again, if you like an ultra-modest look, you may consider this an advantage!
You should also make sure you get mom jeans with tapered legs to make you look taller and slimmer. You can find some vintage styles that have baggy legs or bootcut legs, and these may not fit as well.
Mom Jeans vs Skinny Jeans
Mom jeans have a very loose fit, while skinny jeans fit like the proverbial glove. Mom jeans and skinny jeans emerged into the fashion world at around the same time, but skinny jeans had an edgier, trendier vibe back in the day, while mom jeans had a frumpy reputation.
These days, both styles have huge popularity, but they create very different fashions!
Skinny jeans are the tightest-fitting cut offered by most brands. These pants always contain a good amount of elastic fibers to let the fabric cling to your frame. Skinny jeans will very clearly show the shape of your body.
The downside to this is that the tight fit makes this style extremely binding and constraining, in most cases.
Mom jeans, of course, have a super loose fit in the seat and thighs that makes it easy to move around while wearing them. They do not fit tightly anywhere except at the cinched-in waist. They have loose thighs, loose legs and will create a much baggier silhouette.
Despite their huge popularity in the fashion world, in general, only skinny or petite people feel comfortable wearing skinny jeans. But almost everyone can comfortably wear mom jeans!
How to Wear Mom Jeans
The best way to wear mom jeans is to tuck in your shirt, at least at the front of the waistband! This sounds simple, but it enhances the nipped-in high waist. Another nice way to make mom jeans look more stylish is to fold up the lower leg into a cuff, leaving about three inches of your ankle showing.
Beyond that, you can pair your jeans with a variety of tops and accessories to create many different looks:
- Wear stonewashed or light-colored mom jeans with a black shirt. You can go with the classic baggy tee tucked in at the front or a skin-tight tee to contrast with the looser cut of the bottoms!
- If you prefer dark wash or black denim, you can easily pair this look with black ankle boots or a leather jacket to create an edgier appearance.
- If you like a looser silhouette in all your clothing, try pairing your mom jeans with a baggy blouse, oversized tee, or oversized blazer. Just make sure you tuck in the front of the shirt, so you do not lose the benefit of the cinched waist!
- If you want a casual but dressy vibe, try pairing a loose, fuzzy sweater and high heels with your jeans. Tuck in just the front of the sweater hem to perfect this outfit.
- Mom jeans almost always look good with heels, ankle boots, or heeled sandals, especially if you have shortened or cuffed legs. This accentuates your height and offsets the baggier nature of the pants.
How to Wear Boyfriend Jeans
Boyfriend jeans can look edgy, laid-back, or even almost dressy, depending on how you wear them! Though it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, you often see these loose pants paired with a tighter-fitting top, especially for teen fashion. One cool exception to this rule is to build a stylishly slouchy look all over by wearing a loose, off-the-shoulder top or sweater with these baggy pants, though.
- Pair your baggy jeans with a close-fitting tee or a crop top. Want to look taller? Add heeled sandals to contrast the cuffed above-the-ankle legs!
- For a dressier but still slouchy look, try pairing a long and oversized blazer with a silky top and bf jeans. You can go all-in with heels or keep it casual with flats or Keds.
- For an on-the-road look, try lace-up boots without heels, a baggy jacket, and a vintage tee. You will get a somewhat rectangular shape overall with so much loose clothing, but with the right jacket, you can make the look quite trendy!
- For a classic, casually elegant look, try pairing your jeans with colorful heels and a slim-fitting silky blouse.
- For the mom-around-town or college student style that is so popular right now, pair your jeans with a long, oversized cardigan. Wear a cropped top or tuck in a baggy tee in the front to complete this style.
Dad Jeans vs Mom JeansDad jeans have the same air of loose comfiness as mom jeans, but they have more straight lines and fewer curves.
Dad jeans have a lot in common with boyfriend jeans, though you usually see them worn above the hips. They usually have straight legs and do not accentuate your hips, seat, or curvy shape. Instead, they give a very boxy appearance meant to look extremely casual.
You may find that you like pairing dad jeans with loose sweaters or hoodies to complete the casual, at-home look.
Think of the last time you saw your own dad wearing jeans–if his belt was the only thing holding up that saggy, boxy-looking denim, that is exactly what dad jeans should look like on you!
Should I Get Mom Jeans or Boyfriend Jeans?
Since both types of jeans have a relaxed, casual fit, how do you know if you should get mom jeans or boyfriend jeans? If you want to fit in with current fashion trends, you can follow a few simple guidelines to help you choose between these two popular denim styles.
You should get mom jeans if you have a curvier body type, if you are short and want your legs to look longer, or if you are tall and want your torso to look shorter. Mom jeans also hide a bit of belly pooch because of the high cinched waist. That said, mom jeans can also make your rear look quite flat and will make anyone with a pear-shaped body look even more pear-shaped because of the tapered legs.
You should get boyfriend jeans if you have a slender, straight body type, or if you are very petite and slender, as the low waist can make your torso look longer. Boyfriend jeans drape off your hips and have a super loose cut that pairs well with very casual styles like crop tops or tight tees.