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Trying new style trends is fun, but for me, that's often easier said than done. Along with a host of body image issues, I have an endocrine disorder that can cause me to gain 10 pounds in a month, which makes finding—and fitting into—certain clothes extremely difficult. One trend I love but could never seem to make work for my body? Mom jeans.
This is largely because mom jeans tend to run small in the waist, a place where I often gain weight first. My first pair—vintage Levis thrifted from a shop near my then-apartment in Brooklyn—made me completely miserable. Even wearing five sizes up from what I usually wear, I could barely breathe with the jeans zipped. I felt uncomfortable at best and horribly insecure about my body at worst.
In the years since, I’ve tried high-rise mom jeans from brands like Gap and Urban Outfitters with no success, feeling terrible about myself as I struggled to close each top button. But when I found American Eagle mom jeans online after months of searching, I was instantly intrigued. Available in cuts for all different body types and made of stretchy fabric, the jeans were what I hoped would be the light at the end of a tunnel filled with discarded denim. Here’s what happened when I put American Eagle mom jeans to the test.
What are mom jeans?
“Mom jeans” is a cheeky term for the high-waisted jeans style that was popular in the late '80s and early '90s. Once ultra low-rise jeans became the style for younger women in the late '90s and early 2000s, high-waisted styles that offered more coverage were deemed uncool and and something only your mother would wear, hence the term "mom jeans." However, in the last few years, high-waisted everything has become the "it" style—and suddenly, mom jeans are cool again. Searches for "mom jeans" are up 105 percent from last year and celebs like Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner have worn them over and over.
The mom jeans style is defined by a super-high waist, which rises above the navel and leaves extra room in the zipper, crotch, and leg areas. They’re designed to make your butt appear perkier and lengthen your body with a slightly tapered leg. Contrary to bootcut or skinny jeans, mom jeans have a more relaxed fit, which is what attracted me to them in the first place. They offer more leg room than skinnies and more coverage than low- and mid-rise styles.
What I love about American Eagle mom jeans
I had an overall positive experience with American Eagle’s mom jeans. To start, they fit better than any other pair of mom jeans I've tried on. The waist on mom jeans often runs really, really small. Because of this, in every pair I’ve tried other than American Eagle, I’ve had to order the jeans two to four sizes up from my usual size 6. I was nervous that the size 6 American Eagle jeans would be too tight per usual, but was ecstatic when I didn’t have to struggle into them due to their 1% elastane stretch. Finally—a pair of mom jeans that moves with my body, instead of against it, and allows me to sit down comfortably.
The jeans fit loosely but not too baggy through the hips and thighs, so I don't feel restricted during my everyday activities. The "short" length hits right at my ankles—I'm 5-foot-3. The jeans hold up well in the wash, I haven't yet experienced any shrinking, which can be an issue with jeans that are made of cotton (though the small elastane content of the American Eagle ones probably helps prevent that).
My first pair of the mom jeans was a light wash, but I liked them so much that I now own four pairs in various shades of denim. I've tried them in curvy and regular cuts and found the curvy cut fits significantly larger around the hips and smaller around the waist, which doesn't suit my shape, so I'm happiest with the regular cut.
Why I recommend American Eagle mom jeans
I can’t say enough how much I love American Eagle’s mom jeans. The waist doesn't pinch or dig into your skin and the stretchy cotton blend material makes them an easy pick for all-day, everyday wear, from running errands to going out with friends.
The mom jeans come in women's sizes 000 to 24 and in short, tall, and curvy options to fit a variety of different body types. They're available in both stretch and standard denim—depending on the feel you're looking for—and a wide range of washes, colors, and styles. You may choose ripped mom jeans for a grunge-chic vibe, a pair with a playful stripe for added character, and, of course, the classic stone wash for a "Friends"-era look.
One thing to note: The shipping can sometimes take longer with American Eagle as it often uses USPS or FedEx instead of UPS but the jeans arrived to me within a week of ordering them. And in my opinion? They're worth waiting for.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.