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Mom jeans are the trendy staple you need in your closet — here's why

Flattering, cool and comfortable, these jeans check all the boxes!
Courtesy Emma Stessman / Courtesy Danielle Murphy

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From flared styles to patchwork pieces, recent denim trends have encouraged us to get creative with our jeans collections, expanding them way beyond our favorite skinnies. And when it comes to the biggest styles of the moment, none have captured our attention quite like mom jeans. The high-waisted, straight-leg style may have been the butt of a joke or two over the years (remember that "Saturday Night Live" sketch?), but recently, their popularity has soared as people have discovered just how comfortable and flattering they can be.

"It’s such a classic, cool fit," New York City-based stylist Sheyna Imm told Shop TODAY. "The way that they are cut allows room for different body types to kind of make them their own, and they look really flattering on a lot of different shapes and sizes."

Here, Imm walked us through how to identify the trend and offered some tips on how to wear your own mom jeans.

What are mom jeans?

One of the defining factors of mom jeans is a high waist — it's part of the reason why they’re thought to be so flattering, Imm said. They typically hit right below the belly button and are a little narrower at the waist with a bit of give in the hip and a wider thigh, she said. Another key detail? The straight-leg design. “It’s not really hugging you in any places other than the waist, so it accentuates your waist and gives you more of an hourglass figure — even if you don't have one,” Imm said.

The styles we're seeing today are much more varied than the ones that we had in our closets back in the ‘90s. They now come in tons of different washes, denim weights and have unique pocket aspects and distressed details, Imm added. All of this only adds to the fun of styling them.

How to style mom jeans

The nice thing about mom jeans is that they can go with just about everything in your closet, so they’re a true wardrobe staple. “It’s one of those things where you can invest in a pair and you know you’re going to get a lot of use out of them,” Imm said.

Plus, the style can suit any season or occasion. For a winter look, Imm suggested pairing the jeans with a tucked-in tight turtleneck and zip-up boots. She also recommended wearing them with an unbuttoned long-sleeve shirt over a tank top and trendy loafers for "a more casual out and about look." They pair well with heels too, so you can even slip them on for a night out.

Because of where this specific style hits at the hip, if your pair is too tight, you might notice that it can creep up a bit in the front. While it's completely normal and something many women experience with a variety of different types of pants, it's also preventable. When shopping for mom jeans, Imm suggests making sure the pair isn't too tight around the waist. "That's one of the aspects that makes mom jeans so great; they are very flattering with a little bit of room and give." If you find that they feel a little tight around the waist, you might want to consider sizing up.

With all that in mind, here are 15 mom jeans that are sure to become staples in your wardrobe.

Mom jeans

H&M Mom Loose Fit Ultra High Jeans

Imm said that you can find some cute mom jeans at H&M. This stylish pair, which is just $30, is made from 100 percent cotton and features an extra high-rise waist and gently tapered legs. They come in four different washes, including white and three shades of blue.

H&M Mom High Ankle Jeans

One reviewer called these H&M pants their "favorite pair of mom jeans," and it's not hard to see why. Shoppers say that they are "super flattering" thanks to the high waist. Plus, they have some room in the leg area, which people say gives the pants a true mom jean feel.

Zara ZW The ‘90s Mom Fit Jeans

According to Imm, Zara is another great spot to find the popular style. The brand's '90s Mom Fit Jeans look like the perfect nostalgia-inspired addition to your wardrobe. Even better, they're a sustainable choice since they're made with at least 15 percent recycled cotton.

Zara Mom Fit Jeans

You can also grab this pair from the retailer for less than $50. The jeans are designed to hit right at your ankle, making them a great pick to wear with booties or heels. According to the brand, the jeans run small, so you might want to consider sizing up when purchasing.

Re/Done Comfort Stretch High Rise Stove Pipe

Re/Done is another brand that Imm recommended for the mom jeans trend, and these are one of the company's bestsellers. While the price tag might make you hesitate at first, the stylist is quick to remind shoppers that a good pair of jeans is often worth the investment. "I think it’s always wise to invest in a pair of jeans," she said. "They last forever, they always circle back into style, and they have a high resale value — so I just think it’s a win-win."

Levi's Premium Wedgie Straight Fit Jeans

"Levi’s makes the Wedgie Fit, which is super cute and it's a more medium price point, so I think it’s an attainable denim," Imm said. According to the brand, the "wedgie" style is designed to accentuate your curves and give your backside a nice boost.

Levi's Premium 501 Original Fit Jeans

Of course, we can't talk about mom jeans without mentioning Levi's 501 style. The classic pair features the straight fit and signature button-fly design that Levi's fans have come to know and love. Plus, they're available in two length options and six washes to fit a range of styles.

AE Stretch Mom Straight Jean

These American Eagle mom jeans have racked up hundreds of five-star reviews, and it's not hard to see why. Available in two different washes, they're said to have a comfortable stretch fit and are made with sustainability in mind. “I love these jeans!" One reviewer wrote. "These ones are my first pair of mom jeans, and the quality, the length, everything is just perfect!”

Madewell The Perfect Vintage Jean

Madewell says that its bestselling Perfect Vintage Jeans are like "'mom jeans' ... if your mom was a '90s supermodel." With old-school feel and a high-rise waist, these pants are the definition of cool. These jeans were one of the best purchases I made in 2021 — I love how flattering they look on, and how comfortable they feel, thanks to the stretchy denim material. Plus, they come in petite, standard and tall sizes to fit a range of body types.

Madewell Classic Straight Jeans

Reviewers have raved about these old-school straight-leg jeans, and they're even a favorite of Shop TODAY associate editor Danielle Murphy. According to Madewell, the pair is a "booty-flattering" classic with just a touch of stretch.

Reformation Cynthia High Rise Straight Cropped Jeans

These jeans from Reformation — which are another staple in Murphy's closet — seem like a worthy investment. The brand describes them as a rigid jean with a cropped straight leg and finished hem. One helpful thing to note: If you’re looking for a more comfortable fit, Reformation recommends ordering in a size up.

Gloria Vanderbilt Classic Amanda High Rise Tapered Jean

With more than 5,000 five-star ratings, many reviewers have raved about how comfortable and stylish these jeans are. "These pants!!" one verified reviewer wrote. "What can I say about them except THANK GOD they exist. I bought my first pair randomly (and cheaply) at Costco. When I got home, I was surprised to find that they fit perfectly. And now I know I can order them from Amazon and get that same perfect fit, any time I want. The length is right, the waist is not too low, they're well made ... I love these pants!!"

Urban Outfitters Vintage Lee ‘90s Mom Jean

When we first wrote about the mom jeans trend early last year, we included these options as one of our must-have picks — and they were a clear shopper favorite. These jeans are part of Urban Outfitter's Urban Renewal Vintage collection, so they're a true vintage pick from the '90s. Each pair is unique, so yours will likely look slightly different than the product picture — which is part of the fun!

Abercrombie & Fitch High Rise Mom Jeans

When you hear the name Abercrombie & Fitch, you might have some flashbacks to wandering the local mall as a teenager, but the brand has become pretty popular again. And its jeans, in particular, have gotten a lot of love on TikTok. This pair is perfect for anyone looking to try out the trend. They come in a variety of washes, though many sizes are already sold out, so you'll want to get them while you still can.

Good American Good Straight Split Pockets

Good American is known for creating jeans that fit people of all shapes and sizes. This popular mom-style pair come in sizes 00 to 30. They're made from a sculpting and smoothing fabric that the brand says is meant to hold its shape, even after repeated wears.

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