Gen Z has made it clear that they don’t approve of “out of style” skinny jeans. Mom jeans, on the other hand, are now perhaps the most ubiquitous silhouette with no signs of petering off any time soon. We’re not talking about the pleated, belly-pooch-inducing pairs from the ’80s (or that infamous SNL sketch). No, we’re talking about stylish, high-waisted styles you’ll actually want to wear out in public. This denim style has become a staple in all of our wardrobes, thanks to a waist-cinching, high-rise fit and the roomy slouch through the hips. Honestly, we’re fans of any pair of pants that are comfortable to sit in. Here, ten mom jeans outfits you should definitely wear in 2021—and two you should retire ASAP.
10 Mom Jeans Outfits We’re Loving for 2021 (& 2 to Retire ASAP)
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1. Ruffled Blouse + Blue Jeans + Stiletto Heels
Loose-fitting denim has a tendency to feel super casual and a bit masculine (mom jeans and boyfriend jeans are pretty closely related, if you think about it), which is why we love the idea of pairing cropped mom jeans with a flirty top and vampy heels (yes, they can absolutely be kitten heels if sky-high stilettos aren’t your thing). Pro tip: Tucking in your top, no matter the style, will keep you from getting lost under all that fabric and will give the illusion of a smaller waist.
2. Cropped Jacket + Ankle-length Jeans + Booties
A structured jacket that hits just below the waistband of your jeans has the same flattering, waist-nipping effect as tucking in your shirt, but it’s way more comfortable—and won’t create any awkward bunching of fabric around your hips. Feel free to use the style of your jacket to inform the other elements of your outfit (e.g., go colorful with a floral blouse and bright boots, or keep it sleek by pairing a chic black turtleneck with square-toe, block-heel sling-backs).
3. Leather Jacket + Striped Top + Distressed Jeans + Booties
The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” absolutely applies to this timeless combo. We’re not going to go out on a limb and say that a striped shirt and a leather jacket with jeans is trendy, but we do want to applaud this reliable standby for getting us through years and years of wear. And don’t feel obligated to stick with a traditional moto silhouette, a modern leather blazer will work just as well.
4. Long Jacket + Collared Shirt + Dark Washes + Boots
One of the key features of mom jeans is a higher rise. And if you have a longer torso, this cut can sometimes compress your curves or distort your body shape to look out of whack. Adding a long duster, trench coat or even just a blazer that hits past the widest part of your hips can help return some length and proportion to your overall look.
5. Basic Black Top + Faded Jeans + Black Sandals
Yes, there is a way to make loose jeans in light washes—even those with distressed knees and raw hems—look polished. Opt for minimalist black (or white, navy or brown) pieces in slim-fit silhouettes, like a high-neck tank top, fitted turtleneck tee, simplistic sandals or sock booties, to balance out your casual bottoms. And while you can definitely add a pop of color with a bag or fun sunglasses, stick to equally minimalist designs rather than patterned pieces or anything with too much detailing.
6. Oversize Sweater + Fitted Jeans + Pointy-toe Shoes
Remember when we said you should always tuck your top into mom jeans? Well, there are some exceptions to that rule. Case in point: a cozy tunic sweater that hits just below your hips. This outfit will work best with mom jeans that have a slightly more fitted leg. Finishing your look with a pair of printed pointy-toe kicks, either heels or flats, ensures you look polished and chic rather than frumpy.
7. Silky Blouse + Cropped Jeans + Pointy-toe Ankle Boots
We prefer cropped mom jeans to full-length styles because that hint of ankle works wonders for slimming the line of your legs (and it also prevents you from looking dowdy). So how’s a gal supposed to keep that sliver of sex appeal when wearing boots? Choose ankle boots that feature sharp, clean lines, like a pointy toe or a slim heel, and make sure they fit close to your ankle. Now is not the time for western booties or slouchy styles. Of course, it never hurts to match your footwear to a posh leather trench coat, too, for an extra dose of chic.
8. Colorful Cardigan + Neat, Undistressed Denim + Coordinating Heels
This simple combo is great for any upcoming events or parties where you want to bridge the gap between dressy and casual, and works well no matter what styles, prints or colors you choose for your knit and shoes. (That said, we highly suggest opting for a mid or dark wash denim over anything too light or acid wash.) Want something that feels extra festive? Pick a cardigan with rhinestone buttons, satin or patent heels and some sparkly statement earrings.
9. Patterned Top + Wide-leg Jeans + Heeled Sandals
Wide-leg pants are having a major moment right now, so it should come as no surprise the hybrid wide-leg/mom jeans are also popping up everywhere we look. The result is a fun ’70s vibe that we suggest leaning into rather than avoiding. We suggest pairing your denim with a patterned blouse (ruffles and mixed prints are definitely welcome) and some chunky heels. Oh, and a bouncy blowout that would make Farrah Fawcett jealous, too.
10. Black Trench + Black Top + Faded Jeans + Block-heel Boots
When in doubt, wear black. The easiest way to look like a cool girl is with a sleek black trench or duster coat. And make sure the rest of your accessories are in the same shade of noir—except, perhaps, for a vibrant pop of color by way of your handbag.
Skip: French Tuck + Clunky Sneakers
Listen, it’s time the clunky dad sneaker and the faded mom jean get divorced. This pairing looks especially dated (we’re talking all the way back to 2019) when there’s a half-French tuck involved, so this is one outfit to retire from head-to-toe.
Skip: Glam Styles + Beachy Washes
Remember earlier when we mentioned sporting sparkle-adorned cardigans with your favorite mom jeans? That small touch of glam works well with dark washes and clean cuts. But piling tulle ruffles, rainbow bows and other flashy party-ready pieces on top of distressed, light-wash denim is just too much contrast for one outfit. We suggest swapping your casual weekend mom jeans out for a clean dark-wash skinny or even wide-leg cut instead.