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Reinventing “Mom Jeans”: 10 Updates to Classic Looks You Can Try Today

The 1990s ushered in an epic, high-waist wearing, acid-washed era of jeans that celebrities donned on TV, film, and the runway. And it seemed that just five minutes later, they fell out of fashion and became forever known in modern vernacular as the dreaded “Mom jeans.”

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But you can’t deny it: there was just something so fun and satisfying about those Mom jeans, even if we didn’t dare leave the house while wearing them. Plus we could rock them indoors and out, whether at a playdate or hiking through a local park in our favorite outdoor gear.

Well, you’re in luck if you never really gave up hope on Mom jeans making a raging comeback. Levi’s has officially announced its sexy retro re-release with the appropriately named Wedgie Jean.

These jeans keep that high-waisted look our 1990s selves loved. But now they’ve been updated with a snug fit at the hips and bottom, and strategically cut and placed pockets – all with a vintage style. Yet, depending on who you ask, this look may or may not be ideal. Maybe Levi’s just doesn’t realize these jeans look rock-solid on a celebrity with a personal assistant, but may miss the mark with all of us moms who have given birth to multiple children.

But you can still rock the vintage-turned-modern mom vibe by updating classic looks. Use your favorite jeans as a staple to maximize your wardrobe, and go from looking disheveled to modern at your next play date.

1. Start with Jeans That Actually Fit

Let’s just tackle the fashion elephant stampeding the room first. You need to reevaluate the fit of your jeans if you’re still trying to rock a pair from your pre-mom body, or the ones that looked hot on you during pub crawls from 20 years ago. Let’s get brutally honest: there’s a 100% chance those jeans are way too tight in all the wrong places and are creating a muffin top that has nothing to do with irresistible pastries from the bake sale.

Either dump those Mom jeans and get a fresh new set, or take your favorite pair to a tailor who can help hem and resize accordingly. Remember that Mom jeans are an investment in yourself, and can affect your self-worth and the first impressions you make in the world. So wear Mom jeans that make you feel like a million bucks.

2. Re-purpose Hideous Mom Jeans

Believe it or not, you can pull Mom jeans out of your closet from the 1990s and start wearing them tomorrow and still look fashion-forward. The trick is re-purposing them and tapping into modern fashion trends that make you look and feel sophisticated. One of the easiest ways to do that is by turning your Mom jeans into a trendy little pair of shorts.

Start by mapping out how short you want to make your hem and start trimming. The best part about denim shorts is you can have slightly uneven, frayed ends and they still look trendy. Distress areas around the thighs or pockets with a box cutter to give them a well-worn and comfy look. Slip them on and feel like the high-waisted mom you are while looking uber-fabulously fashionable.

3. Embrace the High Waist

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High-waisted Mom jeans once signaled a terminal case of the frumps. But today, you can pull off that high-waisted look with flawless execution. First, make sure those Mom jeans fit well around the waist and compliment your figure instead of just expanding it. Pair with a crop top to accentuate the high waist instead of covering it with a long, sweeping shirt.

Would you rather do your taxes during an OBGYN visit than show your midriff? We understand. Instead, tuck a brightly-colored blouse into your Mom jeans to accentuate the high waist.

4. Go from Dud to Star-Studded Fashion

Every mom needs a little bling in her life that extends beyond the princess glitter and faux Barbie jewelry found in every crevice of her home. Fortunately, bedazzling a pair of Mom jeans-turned-into-trendy-shorts is a hot look for the season.

Get out the gemstones or Bedazzler and start adding studs and stones to your favorite Mom jeans. Remember that a little bling goes a very long way. Start with a few embellishments around the pockets and branch out from there. You can also skip the shorts and glam out a full-length pair of Mom jeans instead. Focus on the pockets and pepper a few on the lower legs and cuffs to update your favorite look.

5. Accessorize It

We get it. Wielding a Bedazzler isn’t every mom’s idea of creating fashion-friendly jeans. Instead, focus on accessorizing your look with your favorite pair of Mom jeans as the cornerstone focus. Add an oversized hat with brim and matching heels to make your high-waisted mom fashion look totally chic and intentional.

Give a nod to the 90s by incorporating some of your long-lost loves like bangle bracelets and oversized tote purses. They’ll look fabulous with your Mom jeans and pull together your look for a whole new you.

6. Go Ultra Modern

Moms can look modern whether stepping into the office or onto a playground with the right look. Choose a ruffled shirt with a pattern and top with a modern, fitted black blazer. Just remove the blazer if you’re feeling a little overdressed, and slide on when slipping out for a quick bite with a friend.

Play up the modern look even further by pairing with a silk scarf or fitted peacoat to give the impression you’re in the know of mom fashion. And if anyone asks, just say you were tired of drowning in denim and just threw a few things together.

7. Pair with a Chic Top

What you wear on top of your Mom jeans is just as important as those well-worn jeans themselves. We already touched on crop tops and brightly-colored tailored looks. But you can take this a step further by looking for super-sophisticated fun patterns and textures that give your look a pop.

Try ruffled, silky patterns on a dark background paired with your favorite jeans. Sleeves with round poufs at the shoulder with buttons near the wrists are also popular choices. Or try pleats if you’re not into poufs, and iron your clothing for a crisp, clean look.

8. Turn Mom Jeans Into an Ensemble

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Mom jeans don’t have to stand alone in solitary confinement with whatever happens to be shoved in your dresser drawers. Turn your look into a classic ensemble from head to toe.

Pair cowboy boots with a brimmed sun hat and oversized sunglasses for an outdoors woman look. Black boots with a blazer and black clutch can turn your look into a casual dinner out.

But there are also plenty of options if you just need a fun but comfortable look for playdates and school pick-ups. Pick up a pair of brightly-colored ballet flats and match with a pair of earrings in a similar shade. And a small black studded belt can add flair without going overboard on accessorizing.

9. Give Your Mom Jeans a Tailored Look

Those Mom jeans don’t have to step straight out of the Peach Pit from Beverly Hills 90210 circa 1995. Update your jeans with a clean, crisp tailored look. Opt for straight-leg trouser jeans that taper at the ankle and pair with low heels. Trouser jeans look sophisticated and sharp without compromising on comfort and toddler durability.

Your favorite go-to jeans can also be updated just by choosing a slightly different cut. Low-waisted, wide-leg jeans may be making you look a little on the frumpy side. Opt for a high-waisted, straight-leg look that pairs well with your new red ballet flats or signature high heels.

10. Turn to Stylish Alternatives

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Still not feeling that tried-and-true Mom jeans look? Or maybe jeans just don’t speak to your fashion sensibilities? There’s no shame in retiring them altogether and giving your wardrobe a fresh new start. Look for jeans that help shape and sculpt while you wear them, like these tummy tucking jeans. They mimic the look and cut of modern jeans right off the department store rack, while sucking in problem areas.

Don’t be afraid to push your jeans to the sidelines and start fresh. A stylish pair of leggings in a bold pattern, lace, or classic black topped with a brightly-colored shirt are also fun and comfortable choices.

Regardless of what look you choose, remember to own it. After all, why should our kids have all the awesome jeans we wish they made in adult sizes? The real trick behind reinventing frumpy and outdated Mom jeans is feeling and looking confident, whether you’re stepping out to the grocery store or a girl’s night with plenty of wine to go along with it.

What’s your favorite way to update Mom jeans without falling victim to a fashion catastrophe? Let us know by leaving a comment below:

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