Mom Jeans Vs. Dad Jeans: What's The Real Difference, And How Do You Style Them?

Many are pleased, if not relieved, to see more denim on the shelves in recent years in styles beyond the skinny jean, which held a steady rule for over twenty years in the court of denim (via NPR). However, we may have gotten a little too comfy in our skinny jeans as donning new denim shapes has been an adjustment. Wide-leg, flared, boyfriend, mom, dad — the options can be a bit overwhelming.

If you're a millennial, you likely paraded around in flares and wide-leg bottoms, but mom jeans and dad jeans might be new territory. So, what exactly is the real difference? Both are looser fitting, high waist styles, but mom jeans are slightly tapered at the ankle, whereas dad jeans have a straight leg all throughout (via The Mom Edit). Don't get discouraged right off the bat; once you get used to wearing a new style of denim on your silhouette, styling the jeans is your next step. Here's some inspiration.

Keep it casual

Straight-leg dad jeans give effortless energy and exude comfort. Try a full-on casual look to encompass this vibe and pair your dad jeans with a graphic tee and Converse, Vans, or another pair of your favorite sneakers. After years of form-fitting skinny jeans, the loose dad jean will likely feel heavenly. Tuck in your graphic tee to highlight the high waist and give a slight form to your silhouette. A simple bag and a piece or two of understated jewelry are great finishes for this look.

The sleek minimalist

There's nothing quite like the simplicity of a black long-sleeve bodysuit and jeans. If you're more of a minimalist when it comes to fashion, try pairing your dad jeans (which make more of a statement than you might initially think!) with a solid top to accentuate the slouchy denim look we're loving lately. While dad jeans may have fallen off the map for a while, their return is bringing the perfect retro vibe and rejuvenating basic, minimalist looks everywhere.

Flowy and feminine

If you're a bit intimidated by the shape of the dad jean and would feel more at home incorporating some feminine pieces into the look, opt for a flowy, boho top and heeled booties to amp up the vibe. A cropped long-sleeve top is also perfect to show off the high waist of this style. 

Distressed dad jeans are another avenue to take if you're after a more updated version of the classic dad jean. Again, the comfort and movement of these jeans will likely have you reaching for them more and more often.

Show off your booties

The tapered mom jean is the perfect counterpart to the dad jean and you'll find a lot of your 'fits transition well from one pair to the other. High-waisted and often cut right above the ankle, mom jeans are practically made to be paired with cute booties. Try darker denim with your favorite black booties to elegantly take this look up a notch. If you find that the boot doesn't quite hit right with the length of your denim, try cuffing the mom jeans.

The French tuck

French tucks have been all the rage in recent years and it isn't hard to see why. Highlighting the waist and adding shape to the figure, the French tuck works beautifully with mom jeans. If you pair yours with a chunky sweater or another baggy top, the tuck will wonderfully frame both the jeans and your shape. Simple, low-top sneakers are the ultimate, comfy match for this mom jean fit. Coffee dates, errands, a walk in the park — you'll likely be donning this look over and over for its versatility.

The simple white tee

Keeping in line with the minimalist vibe, pairing mom jeans with your coziest plain, white t-shirt is the timeless look we're all after. Another winner in versatility, you can opt to dress up the look with heels or dress it down with sneakers. Pair the classic style with a red lip and you'll truly be unstoppable. Whether you prefer an oversized mom jean or a more form-fitting style, the look really is the simple answer to a quick self-esteem boost.