What’s old is new again! Yep, ethical mom jeans are now a ‘thing’. And they’re not going anywhere for awhile.
By Lora O’Brien
When it comes to jeans, styles come and go. And while it appears the reign of the skinny jean has finally come to an end, there is one style that is making a serious comeback: the mom jean.
As a 90’s kid, I have a serious fondness for the mom jean. And it seems I was onto something! According to Matlan, the most searched for jean style in the last 12 months has been for the mom jean, having racked up over 3 million searches in the USA alone. There were an additional 1 million searches in Germany, and another 1 million in England. Whoa, right?
Comfy, stylish and easy to wear, it’s no surprise they’re making a comeback! Being rocked by moms and housewives since the 80’s, the style features a high waist and loose fit around the thighs and hips. They’re perfect for a more relaxing feel!
Mom jeans are retro, easy to throw on and effortlessly stylish. Whether you wear them with a simple cropped tee, style them up with a pair of boots and a jacket, or go full-on glam with some stilettos, this is a style of jeans that looks good on pretty much every shape and size.
Why ethical jeans matter
Ok, so we know they’re comfy. We know they’re trendy. But why is it important to ensure you’re buying ethical mom jeans?
Well, there are lots of reasons.
First of all, conventional cotton used for typical jeans is often genetically modified, heavily fertilised, and needs tons of pesticides. All of those toxins aren’t good for the planet – or for your health. When you’re wearing clothing whose fibres are soaked in chemicals, they can easily transfer into your skin!
Secondly, conventional cotton takes loads of water to grow. But the finishing processes employed to make your typical jeans also consume vast amounts of water. These processes include dyeing, washing and special visual effects, such as stone-washing. Incredibly, one common pair of jeans uses up to 2,900 gallons of water to manufacture!
Thirdly, the dyes used in conventional denim are often highly toxic. These chemicals not only pollute waterways and kill marine life, but can easily rub off on your skin and cause serious health issues. Oh, and one of the main dye companies, IG Farben, grew fat on Nazi slave labour and developed the Zyklon gas used to exterminate Jews. Hmm…not sure I’d want to buy a product that supported a company like that!
And finally, most jeans companies will pay labourers a pittance and force them to work in horrendous conditions. But ethical jeans brands will always do all – or at least most of – the following:
- pay workers fairly
- offer a safe and clean working environment
- use organic or recycled threads
- use safe dyes
What’s not to love?
How to style ethical mom jeans
This is a jeans style that’s a bit ironic. A bit retro. You don’t want to look like an actual, you know – ‘soccer mom’. But you do want to give a nod to that iconic look. So how can you do that, and still look cool?
Try these styling tips:
- Choose a trendier, more modern style that’s cropped at the ankle
- Pair your jeans with some chunky slides or trainers
- Contrast the baggier style of the pants with a tight or cropped top
- Leave your jeans unbelted
Not sure where to shop the best ethical mom jeans though? Read on!
The Best Ethical Mom Jeans
When your favourite jean meets a modern decade! The Casey is a fun modern twist on the 90’s style jean. The pants are made from a premium non-stretch Japanese denim for that vintage vibe. They also feature an easy straight leg and an extra high rise, which will also give your booty a lift!
Price: Around $100
Best for: Throwing on when you’re working from home
Perfectly imperfect, The Casey is a stylish twist on the mom jean. Instead of being a generic denim shade, these ethical mom jeans come in a faded eco wash. They have a high waist with a straight leg, with a uniquely cool, asymmetrical fly.
The fabric used to make these is OCS-certified organic cotton and Tencel, a natural raw material that comes from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees.
These will look fabulous in all seasons, whether you’re pairing them with a simple t-shirt or layering them up with chunky knits and boots during the colder months.
Price: Around $168
Best for: A touch of grunge in your wardrobe
If you’re looking for a pair of jeans that feel a little dressier than normal, these tapered jeans by Reformation are just perfect. The Kris jean is fitted at the waist with a relaxed leg. They feature a centre seam, which helps make the leg look slimmer. These look fabulous paired with a shirt and heels for a dressier look.
Price: Around $200
Best for: Jeans with an elegant touch.
When it comes to classic jeans, Levi has been nailing the mom jean since the 70’s. The 501 has been a classic with fans of the iconic jean brand, and it’s no surprise!
The 501 offers a blank canvas for self-expression and can be dressed up however the wearer chooses. Whether it’s paired with a blouse, a vest or a sweatshirt, this will be a staple pair of jeans you’ll want hanging in your wardrobe.
Price: Around $140
Best for: Super trendy, ethical mom jeans
Made from a combination of TENCEL, organic cotton and recycled cotton, the Hailey Utility Jean is perfectly fitted at the waist, hip and butt, then it lets out for a more comfy fit around the thighs.
We love the length! These would look great with a heeled boot or sandal.
Price: Around $148
Best for: Super comfy, ethical mom jeans with 70s vibes.
ASOS has started to offer consumers more ethical options. For example? Their ASOS Reclaimed line sources authentic vintage clothing and reworks it to update the clothing into modern designs. So, if your style is a fusion of on-trend fashions with throwback vibes, you’ll love these vintage mom jeans!
The high rise pants feature belt loops and five pockets. The super wide leg gives them a relaxed feel. Since they’re so loose and roomy, these are perfect to throw on with some flip-flops and a cute crop top!
Price: Around $50
Best for: At only $50, these are the best ethical mom jeans for those on a budget
Looking for ethical mom jeans with a twist? Barrel-leg denim is another huge jeans trend, and they have the best part of mom jeans, too. With a high-rise waist and a loose-fitting leg, they’re cropped just above the ankle and flatter apple and pear body shapes.
Because investing in a decent pair of jeans shouldn’t come at a cost to your conscience, Frank & Oak’s Linda jean is made with recycled denim and uses a water-free Hydroless process. The jeans have a recycled zip and a recycled paper denim patch. They’re also made without rivets to facilitate the jeans recycling process when you eventually part ways with them.
Price: Around $99.50
Best for: Those with curves
DL1961 have created a design that has many of the above styles morphed into one jean. Vintage-inspired with modern comfort, the Patti ankle grazer is high-rise and relaxed through the leg. Made for ultimate comfort, DL Vintage includes rigid and comfort stretch denim women with certified, cotton for an authentic denim look and a fit that will beautifully fit your body.
DL1961’s denim starts life off as a mixture of ethically sourced American cotton fibres and natural plant-derived indigo dyes. The jeans are then created in the brand’s factory which is powered by solar energy and its own in-house power generation plant. Any wastewater is recycled through an on-site water recycling plant. Wow, right?
Price: Around $280.00
Best for: Dressing up with heeled sandals, or down with vegan slides.
We all need a pair of jeans in our wardrobe that we can throw on when we want to feel comfortable. And the Abigail is that pair! Whether you’re running errands or meeting your girlfriends for cocktails, the Abigail is soft, comfortable and organic. The high-rise jeans will hug your waist and legs with the relaxed mom-jean vibe that we love so much.
Plus you can shop with confidence knowing that Outland Denim is a highly sustainable brand. Outland creates their products on-demand, to help reduce material waste in its supply chain, while also reducing wastewater, energy use and carbon emissions. Their denim uses plant-based dyes and has eliminated the use of all toxic chemicals.
Price: Around $200.00
Best for: Those who have high standards when it comes to sustainable denim
If you’re looking for a jean that’s like something Rachel Green from Friends would love, then the Frieda jean by Hush is the one for you! These pants are woven with a touch of stretch for comfort, styled with an authentic blue wash. With a classic silhouette, these ethical mom jeans feature a roomier waist, offering the wearer a comfy fit. In fact, there’s enough room in the waist here to accommodate an early pregnancy!
And if you’re specifically looking for maternity jeans, LuciesList.com has a little cheat sheet that can help you find the right pair based on what’s important to you.
Price: Around $105
Best for: Retro style, a la ‘Friends’.