The Art of the Mom Jean

How to wear the butt-enhancing style like a pro.

Skinny jeans have been our go-to for, well, the past decade and then some. But things are finally starting to get interesting on the whole daily-wear-denim front. Exhibit A: the mom jean, which is perhaps best conveyed by its eponymous Songza playlist, Mom-Jean Jams, featuring a somewhat inexplicably eclectic mix involving both Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” It’s a coming together of old school, 1980s mom-style and our current fit preferences (read: butt enhancing obsession). Higher in the waist and more tapered in the leg than the boyfriend jean, the mom jean has been dubbed “The New Skinny.” Yes, the time has finally come.

But with a new style—tight in some areas, relaxed in others, high-waisted, often cropped—comes so many questions: How do I wear them? Where do I find them? Do these make me look like Brenda Walsh? Thank goodness, then, for Jane Bishop of Jean Stories and her exceptional professional knowledge. Cliff Notes: It’s all about the butt.

Nicola St. George-Hyslop

"Don't worry if your shoes don't interact perfectly with your hemline. With a 501-style jean, it's not about your shoes, it's about your butt."

On her "mom jeans"...

"I actually don't own a pair of mom jeans. I have a pair of vintage Levi's 501s, which have that high rise, cinched waist and wider hip and leg we now call Mom. A lot of people would definitely call them mom jeans today. The funny thing is, they are actually men's jeans!"

On her denim inspiration...

"I was looking for a pair that fit just like the 501s stylist Jessica de Ruiter wore for Jean Stories. Tight in the hips and waist, loose around the knees, and cropped. I was thinking: If I can find a pair that look as good on me as Jessica's look on her, I'll be set forever."

On what to wear with your mom jeans...

"Tuck your top in and don't worry if your shoes don't interact perfectly with your hemline, like most shoes do with most skinnies. With a 501-style jean, it's not about your shoes, it's about your butt."

On where to find the best high-waisted denim...

"My favorite high rise is Frame's Le High Straight. I also love J Brand's Maria high-rise and the Closed Skinny Pusher, which is really high, and hinged at the waist, so it gives you a super-cinched middle. Very flattering. The Alexa Chung for AG Revolution high-rise crop is pretty perfect, too, because it has a boot cut leg, which I love right now (all the other styles I listed are skinny)."

On sourcing and shopping for the perfect "set forever" jeans...

"When vintage shopping, don't be afraid to ask the shop people for help. Oftentimes there is a secret stash in the back. If shopping for new jeans, don't get attached to a size. All jeans fit differently, and really, truly, when it comes to jeans, fit is more important than waist size. Don't buy what you think you should buy, buy what makes you feel good. And if you love the color of a pair of jeans, but not how they fit, take them to a tailor and make them fit! You're the boss."

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