Megan Oneill in mom jeansMegan Oneill in mom jeans

6 Stylish Moms (and Moms-to-Be) Talk Denim Plus the idea of "mom jeans."

By Babe | Photo courtesy of Megan O’Neill

As mothers, our relationship with denim is forever changed. There’s the holy sh*t moment when you finally pop out of your favorite pair, and then fast forward a few months (or years), and there’s the notion that a super high-waist, rigid look might not be the best silhouette for running around the playground. Yes, as mamas, our love of denim is an emotional journey. So we polled four super stylish moms (and moms-to-be) on how they’re rocking denim these days and reinterpreting the idea of “mom jeans” to be as cool as they are.

Image courtesy of Megan O’Neill

Megan O’Neill

Beauty Editor and Writer

On the idea of a “mom jean”: “I want to feel strong, flexible, casual, sexy, and chic in my jeans or whatever I’m wearing, as a mom, as a woman. There’s that old-school idea that you become a mom and you have to dress in a less splashy, more demure way, which is so strange. As if you can’t be all the things you are and be and look like a mom, as well. Women like Rihanna, Emily Ratajkowski, and Jodie Turner-Smith look so stunning and sexy—they look like moms to me.”

On Her Favorite Style:  “I looove a baggy, skatery 90s’esque style these days as much as I love a high-waisted vintage Carhartt wide-leg from the 70s (that’s them in the pic above—it was love at first sight when I spotted them in a thrift store in Greenpoint. I think 70s is their era?).”

On How She’s Styling Her Denim: “I’m into a baby-tee, super-cropped tee, or halter top or bikini bandeau (like 70s variety-show-era Cher would have rocked) if it’s a sweltering New York City summer day with a high-waisted style—so fun!’

On her relationship with jeans as a mom:  “I live in them when it’s cold, but truthfully when it’s summer I’m all about a dress or a swishy skirt and halter top. I feel my most me swishing around the city, unrestrained.”

Images courtesy of Laurel Pantin

Laurel Pantin

Fashion Director, Creative Director, Brand Strategist Earl Earl & Your Mom newsletters

On the idea of a “mom jean”: “I mean, of course, I think of the SNL skit, but honestly being a mom, there’s nothing more essential to my wardrobe than jeans. From a practical standpoint – they have tons of pockets, don’t really get dirty, are durable enough for crawling around on the floor, and don’t need to be washed all that often, so it saves me laundry. I can’t think of anything I rely on heavily in my closet more than my jeans.:

On How She’s Styling Her Denim: “I just wrote about this! But I love to wear my jeans with a jean jacket, buttoned up like a shirt, or just with a big oversized button-down and no bra. Heaven.” 

On her relationship with jeans as a mom: “I live in them. I love them. I am Jean’s Mom.”

On your favorite denim styles now: “I like a mid-rise, straight leg, with no stretch. I like to suffer for my jeans a bit at first, but then for them to become part of me. I can’t see myself straying from that cut, I’m not really one to fuss with denim “trends”.”

Elaine Welteroth

Writer and Journalist

On Her Fave Denim Style: “I’m all about a boyfriend jean right now. Literally if I’m not wearing a dress, I’m wearing a boyfriend jean. It’s the only thing that actually fits and even those don’t zip all the way!

It started at Teen Vogue. I finally had a magazine job where I could wear boyfriend jeans. Before I was at Glamour, which was super preppy and professional. You would literally wear a slack and a sweater. At Teen Vogue, I was like, yes I can wear boyfriend jeans everyday! It was a casual chic approach.”

On Wearing Jeans During Pregnancy: “It’s an emotional journey. After my tummy popped, I was like nothing f*cking fits! I had to go to this event and I was close to tears. Here I was, paying money to get my hair and makeup done and I didn’t think I could go. My stylist gave me a top and jacket to pair with boyfriend jeans and it was my saving grace. I threw them on under my belly, I put on a heel and I felt cute and like me.”

On The Moment The Button Won’t Close: “It is humbling to not be able to fit into jeans anymore or to close them, but at the same time, I felt a surge of pride. I was like, ‘Look babe! My jeans don’t fit! I have a belly for real now!’ I had gone through so much with pregnancy that I wanted to have something to show for it. It felt good to have the outside match the inside.”

On How She’s Styling Her Jean Right Now: “I’ll wear boyfriend jeans with a tight long-sleeve turtleneck and a heel or strappy open-toe heel. Or I’ll pair it with a dope sneaker that brings some color and interest to my outfit. I also love a blazer with it.”

Claudia Mata Gladish

Founder of Vertly

On the idea of a “mom jean”:“Now that I’m mom, I hate the term ‘mom-jeans.’  To me, that term unfortunately brings up an unsexy and boring connotation, and moms are the opposite!”

On Her Favorite Style: “I’ve gone through ALL the jean phases, squishing myself into the tightest and skinniest— and those days are behind me.  I’m all about comfort! I live in California now, so driving around is a big part of my daily routine.  If can’t sit in the jeans, they aren’t coming into my closet anymore!

I am a lover of most type of jeans except for the extremes: too low cut is not flattering for my current body situation (thanks, kids!) and I’m petite so I can’t do the super high waisted—that takes up too much of my body’s real estate.  I’m trying to experiment with more trouser jeans and white jeans.”

On How She’s Styling Her Denim: “Jeans are my favorite wardrobe staple.  I usually wear with a sweater or fitted shirt and sneakers for daytime running around and heels and boots for night.”

Caitlin Kelly

Founder and CEO, Caitlin Kelly Agency

On the idea of a “mom jean”: “If you’re a mom and you’re wearing jeans during the day – you are thriving! We are living in a time when leggings have become the norm and it all feels too casual for me. When I need to get to business during the day, even while working from home, I put on a dope pair of jeans. A mom in jeans is like a mom who has got it together for the day.”

On her relationship with jeans as a mom: I’ve always been obsessed with jeans and feel sexier and cooler wearing a great pair of denim and heels out at night, rather than a dress. Since becoming a mom, the only thing that has changed with my denim is the style. Pre-kids (2016 and before), I wore lots of skinny jeans with stretch; which actually would have worked out better for me as mom because those jeans were like pajamas. This trend shifted in the past few years and now I prefer more of a rigid wash.”

On how she styles her jeans: I have a full mom uniform: during the day, I will wear a pair of black, white or light washed Redone jeans in 70’s Stovepipe cut with a white or black ATM t-shirt and Vega sneakers. Gold hoops, black sunglasses and gold rings. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I remember when we were wearing dresses, full makeup and heels to work in the early 2000’s…so my denim uniform sounds casual, but far more pulled together than the common workout outfits of today.”

Nathalie Walton

CEO of Expectful

On the idea of a “mom jean”: “Now that I am a mom, the idea of “mom jean” means having the confidence to wear whatever type of jeans you want and not care what anybody else thinks about the style, fit, or popularity. As moms, our clothes have to give us freedom of movement – one second we’re sitting cross-legged on the floor and the next we’re up dancing to Cocomelon. Having a pair of jeans that allows me to focus on other things (namely, my baby) instead of what I’m wearing is the ultimate “mom jean.” To me, “Mom jean” is a mental state, not a type of denim.” 

On her relationship with jeans as a mom: “I’ve had a love-hate relationship with jeans since becoming a mom. After becoming a mom, I struggled to fit into and feel good in my pre-mom jeans for an entire year. One day I decided that I had enough, so I went to the store to buy new jeans for my new “mom” body. I’ve never felt more empowered than the day I stopped forcing myself into my old jeans and just accepted and embraced my new body. Who knew liberating yourself from old standards could be so comfortable?”

On how she styles her jeans: “As a mom who works from home, wearing jeans has now become a special occasion. My days are spent in constant fear of having an outfit ruined by little hands covered in pasta sauce or chocolate, so I tend to save jeans for going out to dinner or hanging out with my girlfriends.”

On her favorite denim styles: “Gen-Z might judge me, but I still love a great pair of high-waisted skinny jeans. One of the things I missed most in pregnancy was high-waisted jeans, so as a new mom, I’ve gone overboard on high-waisted jeans: skinny, mom, boyfriend – I love them all. You can never go wrong with an all-denim jumpsuit, so I’ve recently thrown a couple of those gems in my closet too.”

And now for some new HATCH Denim lovelies….