Mom Jeans vs Girlfriend Jeans: What’s the Difference? How to Choose?

A Woman and a Man Wearing Jeans

Mom jeans versus girlfriend jeans is not a generational clash but a fashionable social response to the quest for more comfort.

We know well how the original jean fabric was born to be sturdy and everlasting, but many women started to look for freedom without giving up their favorite pants.

This is how these two types of jeans launched on the market – but in different decades – and from everyone’s house arrived on the big screen.

In today’s post, we are going to simplify your shopping choice by showing the main differences, how to choose the right one for you and nail the best style combination.


1. The Mom Jeans

A Woman Wearing Mom Jeans

1.1 A Quick Introduction

We saw how, during the ’70s, jeans evolved into slim but flared models; in the ’80s, lines expanded into baggy shapes making pants for everyday life rather than just fun.

“Mom jeans” saw their heyday exactly between the ’80s and the ’90s.

After that, they have been marked as unfashionable and uncool.

We want to unveil a fun fact. Although housewives and ladies – and youngsters as well – loved these comfy jean pants, this name was coined in May 2003 during a Tina Fey’s skit at the Saturday Night Live.

The rise of low-rise jeans and skinnies worn by pop stars doomed mom jeans at the start of the ’00s.

Hopefully, they are back in the current trends and with more grit.

Read also: Mom Jeans vs Straight Jeans: What’s The Difference?

1.2 What Are Mom Jeans?

“Mom jeans” would be the jeans your mom would likely wear to stay at home or for a quick shopping trip.

Comfort and unpretentiousness are the characteristics of these pants, which translates into very relaxed shapes.

Mom jeans are usually high waisted – above the navel – and larger on hips and legs.

They tend to sign the waist tighter with large belt loops or an elasticated band but they leave too much space on the zipper area.

This jean type does not constrict the body or put too much flesh on display.

Unfortunately, this comfort has some downsides. It causes extra crinkles on the front, while the high and long back pockets make the buttocks flatter and disproportioned.

See also: Mom Jeans vs Boyfriend Jeans: What’s The Difference? How To Choose?

1.3 How to Style a Pair of Mom Jeans?

Labelled as unfashionable, mom jeans have an underestimated cool factor that you can pull out as influencers do. In this section, we are going to show you how.

The secret to wearing your mom jeans is updating and upgrading them so that they do not look belonging to your mom’s wardrobe.

Never pair your mom jeans with cardigans or sweatshirts!

These garments are either too classy or too heavy, and they will definitely give your mom jeans that “mature look” you want to avoid.

Instead, play with the high waist by tucking in a plain T-shirt, a shirt or a sweater.

A great combination is with white shirts – minimal or vintage logos are more than welcome – and tie-dye sweaters.

Read also: Are Mom Jeans Still in Style in 2021? + 5 Suggestions

Vintage is a winning choice. The ’90s revival reminds you that mom jeans were actually the jeans for cool kids.

You will see it if you watch some episode of Beverly Hills 90210. You can combine them with a blazer for a relaxed chic look, maxi jackets and leather bikers too.

Depending on the mood you want to create, you can match your mom jeans with Vans-style slip-on and sneakers for casual looks, but also with low heels and ankle boots to slim and lengthen your figure. You can roll the hems as well!

You might also like: 7 Best Mom Jeans for a Pear Shaped Body That You Should Try this Year

2. The Girlfriend Jeans

A Woman Wearing Jeans

2.1 A Quick Introduction

Compared to the mom jeans, girlfriend jeans are not just a younger option but also a relatively young creation in the jean market.

They launched around 2014-2015 as the female version of the popular boyfriend jeans.

Its difference lays in the word “slightly”, a “barely there” feeling, as we can read in the following jean makers descriptions.

For Topshop, their girlfriend jeans offer “a slightly slimmer fit”; White House Black Market says its pants “sit just below the waist”, while River Island’s are “slightly cropped”.

What makes girlfriend jeans a young pant is that little extra comfort, which does not deny female shapes some attention.

2.2 What Are Girlfriend Jeans?

For your next jeans, there are many versions you can choose from.

If it is true that the style of any jean depends on the maker; in the case of the girlfriend jeans, the way they sit on the waist depends on the label too.

They can have a slightly higher or lower waist but always higher than a boyfriend jean.

A rule of thumb wants them with a high waist, fitter hips, some extra space between the legs, and a straight and more tapered cut for the legs, which can be with or without rolled hems and different lengths.

2.3 How to Style a Pair of Girlfriend Jeans?

You can match your girlfriend jeans with different tops and shoes so that you can get many outfits from the same pair of jeans.

The freshest and most casual way to wear your girlfriend jeans is with a large T-shirt or shirts tucked at the front.

A belt with a large buckle or signature decoration will suit them to perfection.

You can top up your white t-shirt with a leather jacket for rocker vibes or turn your jean sweeter and ready for meetups or a lighter office day with a floral or delicate blouse and a blazer.

Sneakers, flats, heels and ankle boots are all excellent choices.

You can also opt for flats and sandals for a daytime look if your height is not a problem.

3. Mom Jeans vs Girlfriend Jeans – The Differences

A Woman Wearing Jeans

The differences between mom and girlfriend jeans are quite evident but a quick recap is very helpful to understand how to choose the right pant for you.

3.1 The Cut

The mom jeans have a very relaxed and spacious cut. It looks like they are made to give freedom and let your skin “breath”.

Unfortunately, this comfiness has an extreme downside: a lack of body definition.

The girlfriend jeans, instead, are made with young female shapes in mind.

Whilst they fit comfy between the legs, and sometimes along the legs, they are slightly straight on the hips and thighs and define hips and waist with fewer constrictions.

3.2 The Waist

The hight waist is one of the many features responsible for mom jeans’ unfashionable aura.

This type of jean has a high waist, sometimes ultra-high, which tends to make the tummy area bigger and with many crinkles.

Also, the girlfriend jean is a high-waist pant but the heigh is variable for there are low-, mid- and high waist jeans.

3.3 The Lenght

Another classical characteristic of traditional mom jeans is the cropped length.

Their large, tapered legs are usually ankle-length but they can also have pre-rolled or rollable hems.

On the other hand, girlfriend jeans offer more options for better wearability. They are available in different leg cuts, from full length to cropped.

3.4 The Fabric

The comfort of mom jeans is to be found also in their material made of light cotton fabric in a light blue wash.

The mom jean for the teens looked sturdier if you refer to ’90s movies and series.

The rather common plain wash has been superseded by black, medium tones and different degrees of fabric stress for a younger look.

The girlfriend jeans are like the male counterpart.

The jean fabric is sturdier like that of a boyfriend jean; it can be also distressed or ripped and in many different washes making them very versatile and playful.

4. How to Choose

If you stumble upon the choice between mom and girlfriend jeans, your body shape will give you the right answer. In this case, the wrong choice risks to look very unflattering and unsatisfying.

The mom jeans can be very nasty with petites and curvy women. They can shorten your legs, enlarge your tummy and hips, as well as flatten your bottom.

It is a better choice for slim or average figures, which feel comfortable wearing slouchy clothes. The girlfriend jeans is a better choice considering the available rise and length options.

This type of jeans is harmonious with petite’s figure, fits well on average body types and on those with curves.

Basics Styling Series | Girlfriend Jeans

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5. Conclusions

In conclusion, do not look for comfort – as both jeans are comfortable enough – but look for the best partner for your silhouette.

There is plenty of choice and style ideas for your next jeans whether a mom jean or a girlfriend jean is for you.

At the end of this article, you could play with mom jeans’ ’90s revival or enjoy the cool vibes that distressed girlfriend jeans can offer you.

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