Dad Jeans vs Mom Jeans

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I remember when I first transitioned from tight-fitting pants to trying out baggy jeans. If you don’t understand their features, you may end up with an unflattering fit like what happened to me. I struggled to create slimming lines without prioritizing comfort.

I’ve incorporated these pants in my various outfits over the years. Based on experience, I’m going to explain the similarities and differences between dad jeans vs mom jeans so you can find which would suit you the most.

Dad Jeans vs Mom Jeans General Overview

There’s a nuance in styling these jeans styles. The first step in figuring this out is understanding how these styles work.

Overview of Dad Jeans

Dad jeans are vintage-inspired denim pants. A high waistband, wide straight-leg cut, and a relaxed fit in the buttocks mainly characterize it. This style is baggy and quite shapeless compared to other jeans.

It got its name as this was the preferred style of middle-aged men, especially fathers, in the late 2000s. Over the years, it evolved into something that radiates functionality regardless of who wears it.

Overview of Mom Jeans

Mom jeans were initially designed for women who needed roomy garments to accommodate pregnancy and post-birth bodies. You can also hide belly fat in these jeans. Back then, the style had a negative connotation because of its frumpy silhouette associated with stereotypes of body changes due to pregnancy and motherhood.

Eventually, the design evolved into something that focused on comfort and practicality. In the early 1980s, mom denim jeans became a trend because of their high-waisted cut, cuffed hem, and relaxed fit.

Comparing Mom Jeans and Dad Jeans

For this part, I’m going to compare the features of these jeans to help you see why they are equally unique and would make great additions to your wardrobe.

Similarities

It’s quite tricky to differentiate the two because they still share some features, especially in the waist level, fabric, and designs. 

  • Waist level: These pants generally have high waist levels. However, some brands have low and mid-waist styles.
  • Fabric: What I love the most about these pant styles is that they often consist of organic cotton, giving them a soft feel and relaxed fit. Meanwhile, some brands combine cotton and synthetic fibers to add some stretch.
  • Design and prints: Both styles now come in various designs, including stonewashed, bleached, distressed, colored, or chambray.

Differences

These are the notable differences between the two pant styles that can help you select which jeans to wear.

Overall Fit

Mom denim jeans have a relaxed fit, whereas dad denim jeans have a baggy silhouette. These come from a range of features.

  • Dad jeans: This has a looser fit around the legs than the thighs. Additionally, it has a wider leg opening of around 13 to 14 inches. In effect, the overall fit has fewer flattering cut lines, resulting in minimal contouring.
  • Mom jeans: In contrast, this style tends to have a tighter fit around the legs than the thighs, with seven to 18 inches as the size of the leg opening. Because of these aspects, mom denim jeans can help make the waist look smaller while elongating the legs.

Length and Hem

The exact measurement of the leg opening varies from one brand to another. However, mom jeans often have excess material around the legs, which is why one of the easiest ways to style them is to make cuffed hems.

Despite being long, this style becomes more tapered at the leg, giving the pants more structure. Still, the laidback look would make it a great option for the best postpartum jeans

In comparison, dad denim jeans have a slightly bulkier look because of their standard hem length. This style also normally has a straight-leg cut, so the pants don’t taper in or flare out below the knees.

Major Distinguishing Factor

The style of dad jeans tends to have a loose fit on the legs and a tighter fit around the thighs. Meanwhile, mom jeans usually have a loose-fitting, straight-leg cut. These features let dad pants focus more on functionality, whereas mom pants provide more comfort.

When to Use Dad Jeans

Use dad jeans if you prefer a wider straight-leg cut with a baggy fit from the knees down. This is a good choice if you want a baggy style that’s more formal than khaki or cargo pants.  This is where you can differentiate the feel and look of cargo pants vs jeans.

These are the body shapes that would benefit the most from this style.

  • Inverted triangle body: This style has a baggier fit around the crotch. This style suits ladies with inverted triangle bodies because this feature adds proportion to the smaller hips.
  • Slim figure: If you have a slim figure, skinny jeans or slim-fit jeans can sometimes make your legs appear thinner. A good way to add volume is to wear this pant style instead. Dad jeans can make you a little fatter, just perfect to balance your look.
  • Athletic body: The slouchy fit provides the illusion of a curvier figure for an athletic body shape.

When to Use Mom Jeans

It’s best to wear mom jeans if you favor high-waist pants with a loose fit around the leg and a tapered cut. This is an excellent option if you want a more relaxed fit than skinny jeans, yet not too loose and casual, like sweatpants. Jeans differ a lot from sweatpants.

Different people standing with a woman in the middle wearing brown pants with loose bottom

Consider wearing this style if you have these aspects.

  • Tall height: The relaxed style is perfect for accentuating a woman’s long legs. Relaxed, slightly baggy clothing tends to stretch the silhouette horizontally, so if you’re at least five feet and five inches tall, your height compensates for this nuance.
  • Curvy bodies: Mom denim jeans are among the best jeans for pear-shaped bodies that need extra coverage in the hips and waist. The high-waist style and tapered leg accentuate the curves, giving a more contoured silhouette.
  • Love handles: This style of jeans is also perfect whenever I want to control love handles and belly fat. The loose fit prevents the formation of a muffin top while helping cover the waistline.

Which Style of Jeans Is Better?

Mom jeans are a much better choice if you need a looser fit around the thighs, giving you a relaxed fit with some shaping properties. On the other hand, dad jeans would be better if you need a baggier fit from the crotch to the thighs.

Dad jean pants will suit you if you prefer a more vintage style, whereas mom jean pants are ideal for those who want to prioritize comfort. Regardless of what you choose, the right style would depend on your size, body type, comfort level, and the figure you want to achieve. 

Related Questions

What Are the Cons of Mom and Dad Jean Pants?

Despite the comfort, bagginess can sometimes be a disadvantage when wearing dad and mom jeans, as it tends to overshadow the body’s curves. However, this won’t be a problem if you can style them according to your body type.

Can Dad and Mom Jeans Make You Look Fat?

Mom and dad jeans can make you look fat or as if you’ve added a few pounds when you style them in a way that accentuates your fats. If you choose the right size, you can pair these pants with other garments to give you a more defined figure.

How Can I Look Good in Mom and Dad Jeans?

To look good in dad and mom pants, the key is to wear slim-fitting tops to balance your body proportions. You can also use jackets, contrasting colors, and heeled boots in experimenting with different combinations until you find ones that don’t drown out your figure.

HONEST review of the CNROS Stretch Skinny Jeans

Final Verdict

While they both have a baggy look, dad jeans tend to have a straight-leg fit, while mom jeans are typically tapered around the thighs and hips. Whichever you pick, prioritize which would work depending on your needs on comfort, practicality, appearance, and overall fit.

   

Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.