One day back when I was a teenager, I remember having the realization that if I didn’t come into possession of a pair of Gloria Vanderbuilt jeans, I would not survive the seventh grade. I had sworn to my mother that nothing would come between me and my Calvins, but no sooner did I pledge my allegiance to Mr. Klein, then the girls at school started showing up in Gloria’s dark denims. It was either switch or get banished to adolescent fashion purgatory, otherwise known as the bad lunch table. Of course, my mother was not happy about this and couldn’t understand my dire need for another pair of jeans when I already had two. I reminded her how important it was back in her day to have the right poodle skirt and saddle shoes until finally, she gave up and took me to the mall.
Over the years I have continued to ride the fickle waves of denim fashion. I happily took the plunge when the look was high-waisted and baggy and I have suffered through the latest look that is ultralow and skinny. I probably have 12 pair of jeans in my closet that I currently wear, as well as another 2 dozen that are out of rotation but waiting for the unlikely day that tie-dyed, pastel-colored, or striped jeans come back in style.
Still, through all of my denim do’s and don’ts, the one style that I thankfully never adopted was that ubiquitous fashion faux pas; the Mom Jean.
Utterly shapeless and devoid of style, it rides high on the waist and tapers down close to the ankles, giving the wearer the distinct profile of an upside down bowling pin.
For those who are really not sure, this is not a particularly flattering look.
It’s called the mom jean because it is a look favored by women who have small children and maybe have yet to fit back into their old jeans. Believe me, I’ve been there… twice! I know how disturbing this is and honestly, 10 years later, I still have yet to fit back into my old jeans. But somewhere in the style section of my sleep-deprived brain, I did have the common sense to realize that trying to cover up my temporary figure flaws with a fitted denim circus tent was really not the answer.
Certainly those ultralow jeans are not the ticket either, because honestly, the plumber look is less flattering than the mom jean. But what most women who wear mom jeans fail to realize is that the very thing they’re trying to hide, actually appears bigger… much bigger… in mom jeans.
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There is actually a mathematical formula for this. It goes:
1 x mom jeans = 10x your actual butt size.
The formula was developed by NASA after astronauts claimed they could see women in Mom Jeans from outer space.
Honestly though, you can’t blame the mom in the mom jeans for not knowing what’s going on behind her. I’ve found that most places that traffic in mom jeans don’t have multi-angle mirrors in the dressing room. From the front you might think, “OK they’re not as slimming as say, clown pants, but these jeans do give me a nice waist up there around my rib cage.”
Of course, if you’re not sure if you’ve purchased a pair of mom jeans there are some telltale signs:
-They have names like “super relaxed,” “real easy fit,” and “lift and load.”
-Instead of hanging on racks or stacked on shelves, they are sold in large bins.
-They have more fabric in the seat than the upholstery in your car.
While the realization that you have unwittingly committed a denim felony can be an alarming one, fret not, oh wearer of mom jeans. There is actually something worse in the fashion world:
The Dad Chino.
©2008, Beckerman. All rights reserved. For more Lost in Suburbia, visit Tracy Beckerman at www.lostinsuburbia.net, and check out her hilarious new book “Rebel without a Minivan” at Amazon and www.rebelwithoutaminivan.com