Fashion Friday: Are Boot Cut Jeans the New Mom Jean?

Reader Whitney says: I’m hearing lots of talk on fashion blogs about bootcut jeans being the new “mom jeans.” I’m not sure what I think about this – what about you?

I say: Funny thing happened the other day when I was at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets.  I discovered a brand new, okay, four-week-old addition to the offerings at the mall — a Joes Jeans Store.

Be still my beating heart!

Of course I had to wander in and check it out, although my recent shopping splurge in Seattle prevented me from trying on anything.  I know better than to tempt fate.  Once I start taking jeans into the dressing room, I’m destined to buy a pair.  What can I say, I’m a cheap date.  Okay, so I’m not so sure about the cheap part.  But when it comes to denim, I’m easy.

As I perused the styles, I picked up a boot cut jean that had a great casual wash — distressed without being juvenile.  They were a great pair of jeans. I knew this post was in the works, and I take my research VERY SERIOUSLY so I asked the sales girl working, who is approximately 12 years old, if she still sells a lot of boot cut jeans.

Yes, she replied, as a matter of fact, we do.

So you don’t think they’re going out of style just yet? I pressed.

No, she said.  I think boot cut jeans are one of those things that will always be in style.  They’re just a classic.

I laughed knowingly and replied in my most patronizing tone, Oh, no my dear.  EVERYTHING goes out of style eventually.  I’m a child of the 80s.  I remember when boot jeans were unheard of.  They’ll be on their way out before you know it.

Okay, I really wasn’t snotty.  I promise.

So what did you have? she asked innocently? Flares?


So I regaled her with tales of the 80s and what we believed at the time to be the “classic” style of pant — tapered with pleats, of course.  While that was a fad I certainly don’t miss, I believe we need to come to terms with the fact that all good things must come to an end, and I’m pretty sure that at some point, we will say good-bye to the boot cut jean for a time.  Hey, don’t shoot the messenger.

But I do not think we’re there yet.  Since Whitney posed that question, I’ve been paying attention. I was paying especially close attention when I was in Seattle, because I kind of expected it to be all skinny jeans all the time out there.  But it wasn’t.  There were a lot of stylish women wearing boot cut jeans and looking fabulous, including the young woman who helped me with my denim purchase at Nordstrom.  (I opted for a straight leg, by the way.  They are the ones I was wearing with the sequin top in last week’s CAbi post.)

I do feel that skinny jeans (or straight jeans) look more modern, but it will take me a while to get rid of all my bootcuts.  I’m phasing them out, but I still wear them with heels.  When I’m wearing flats, I opt for one of my straight leg styles.

All that to say, I’m not ready to declare boot cut jeans the new mom jean just yet.  I think the key is how you wear them.

What do you say? Are boot cut jeans becoming the new mom jean?  Is it only a matter of time?  Or will they indeed become a classic?  Is anything TRULY classic? As in, it won’t go out of style, EVER?


Join The Conversation

59 Responses

  1. I think you are probably right, but I am glad they are not gone yet. I still have not found a pair of straight leg or skinny jeans that fit as well as my bootcut jeans. I also haven’t had the luxury of shopping a ton of different brands though. I think they will hang around for a long time though, because they are flattering to just about any shape.

  2. Oh noooooo. I refuse to ever admit that boot cuts are out of style. They are UNIVERSALLY flattering, unlike the tapered with pleats and unlike skinny or straight jeans. Come on, can’t we just keep a good thing around forever?

    1. I totally agree! I haven’t found a pair of skinny jeans or straight leg jeans that are flattering or as comfy as my boot cut jeans. If they become the new Mom Jean then I guess I will just be a dork wearing them.

  3. I think there will be a time (which is NOW) that they are not cutting-edge fashionable (skinny jeans, ladies?), but I think they will always stay “classic”…which is not the same a dated.

    1. I’d like to think so, but nothing seems to stay around forever. The good news is, it always seems to come back around again at some point!

  4. “So I regaled her with tales of the 80s and what we believed at the time to be the “classic” style of pant — tapered with pleats, of course.”

    Don’t forget the pegging of the tapered leg. It made it that much more fashionable.

  5. It’s a good thing you reminded us not to shoot the messenger, because I find myself getting all sorts of riled up at this post! NO WAY can boot cut jeans go out of style! We’re not all thin enough to wear skinny jeans! It should not be done. My body – and many others, I believe – should never wear a skinny jean. NO WAY!

    See? Riled up.

  6. I hope not! I have too many expensive pair (pairs?) for them to go out of style. I did invest in some skinny and straight leg jeans but I’m not ready to give up my old favorites!

  7. I don’t like boot cut jeans. I am 5’4′ and they make me look short. A straight leg jean or a skinny jean is much more flattering.

    Now if I could just find a skinny jean with a higher rise and more room in the hips! My current skinny jeans are a juniors size–loose in the waist but tight through the hips–I can’t size down to a waist that fits.

    1. I wish I had that problem. Everything is tight in my waist. Kids. They ruined what little bit of a waistline I ever had.

      1. I have three kids but I changed my waistline with the Flat Belly Diet. 🙂 I ate chocolate truffles every day and lost 33 pounds. 🙂

  8. If bootcuts are the new mom jean then I LOVE MOM JEANS!! I can barely remember what life was like before my bootcut jeans, but I don’t think I liked it.

  9. I love bootcut jeans, I def need that to balance me out, does anyone have the problem if their jeans “growing”? I find it so annoying that as the day wear on they get baggier and baggier and then they look horrible. Im not saying I want my jeans tight but when they start to bag out under my rear it just doesnt look good.
    thats my biggest problem with jeans.

    1. Yeah, it seems to happen with pricier jeans as well as not so pricey brands. The sales girls always advise me to buy them tighter than I think I want them, and they’re always right.

  10. Seriously??? It’s all I have (granted I only have three pairs of jeans because…I’m cheap). I would love to wair a pair of skinny jeans and feel all trendy, but I’m hippy so I feel like it’s impossible. I’d give it a try on a cheap pair (maybe I’ll check walmart?)

    Any tips???

    1. I actually did a post on that recently. Search “how to wear skinny jeans” on my search bar. Sorry, I’m running out the door or I’d find it! 🙂

  11. I love my boot cut jeans! I finally found the perfect pair last year and it took forever. I’m not ready to start a new hunt for the perfect skinny jeans – though it would involve shopping…

  12. I even had a pair of jeans (in the 7th grade!) that had the zipper in the back. Oh my! How did I miss your CAbi post? Where is it?! I just got my first pair of CAbi jeans last week and can’t wait to wear them out tonight for the first time. They are SO comfy – I just needed the weather to cool down a bit before I could wear them outside.

  13. Oh, please don’t tell me that. I honestly don’t know what’s in fashion, but I KNOW I love my boot cut jeans. I love the way they look on me. I hate straight leg jeans on me. Whatever will I do if/when they go off the scene?

  14. When Land’s End picks it up and J. Crew phases it out, I know it’s happening soon. (No offense to L.E. I have some nice basics from them and they have a new line called “Canvas” that is a little hipper ;)) I have about 8 pairs of J.Crew, Joe’s, AG, etc. jeans GIVEN to me by my oh-so-fashionable sister. They’ve been sitting in my closet for 2 years now waiting for me to get back to my pre-pregnancy size….sigh…maybe by the time I actually get there, they’ll be totally hip again.
    I think I agree with an earlier comment that they will always look classic but not cutting edge which is fine with me because I tend to do trends with accessories. I think “Classic” is when you look at someone and think, “Wow, she looks good.” When you don’t notice a particular trend, but just notice the effect of the outfit. Maybe thinking, “What would Jackie choose?” when you shop. 😉
    Thanks for keeping us 30-somethings abreast of the trends.

  15. Love my bootcut – have one straight leg pair bit not my fave. I prefer not to look too trendy – like my 13 year old! Just trendy enough not to be an embarrassment…..it’s a fine line!!!!

  16. I love the boot cut jean, say it isn’t so!!!

    I will admit, however, that recently I’ve been buying flare jeans and a single pair of “straight leg” jeans to wear with flats. I like some variety in my denim wardrobe but the boot cut is a classic staple I plan to keep around.

  17. So. I don’t know how many of you out there are old. Ahem. Like me. I remember bell bottoms. Not just watching the older kids wearing them. I wore them. And so did my brothers.

    So, as sort of a living historian 😉 heh I think all things extreme go out of style quickly. Flares and boot cuts are flattering and can be worn by a lot of different body types.
    Alexa Carrington and 10″ shoulder pads
    Tapered-leg jeans with pleats
    6″ high stiff feathered hair
    and…narrow jeans

    That’s my prediction.

    1. Yeah, but it seems that even the concept of “classic” evolves. I remember the 80s, and bootcut jeans were unheard of. I remember seeing them on the shelves at a store and asking my mom what they were.

      Don’t get me wrong. I hope they’re here to stay. But I find it hard to believe.

      1. Totally agree. I’m responding to will boot cut be the new mom jeans – well i guess it might eventually, but I’m predicting the narrow jeans will go out first.

        1. I hope so! That’s why I’m buying straight jeans and wearing them as skinnies. I think the skinny-skinnies are best left to the under-30 crowd. 🙂

  18. Well, if they are the new mom jeans – they are ALOT more stylish than the old version LOL You’ve gotten me all anxious about the possibility of my favorite jeans being phased out and now I’m feeling the need to stock up for the future LOL!

  19. Gosh, this thought NEVER has crossed my mind until today! *sniff* I think it depends on where you live as to what is “in”. I live in a small rural/farming community where I am incredibly fashion forward (read-they think I’m insane!) by wearing skinny jeans and boots, which as you know, has been “in” for a few years. But here, it’s just now starting to come around. Fashion around here is a second thought and that’s ok too. Bootcuts will probably live forever in northern Indiana! Yea!! Hehe

    1. Yep, it definitely varies by where you live. I like it here in Philly. We’re not the first to get the new styles, but certainly not the last.

  20. Boot cut is still very much alive and God forbid we start calling them Mom jeans! 🙂 I’m a personal wardrobe stylist and I work at a boutique. At markets for next spring, I am starting to see that the typical boot cut is a bit more narrow through the leg with a “slight” bootcut at the bottom–not as big of a flare from years past. I love being able to tell my clients that all 3 cuts are in and it’s important to find the right one for their body type. Bottom line: Boot cut can be more flattering on many body types. Straight cut can be flattering as well. MANY women are afraid to try a skinny and honestly they are cut so narrow through the thigh that the skinny or even a straight will never work. I say, “Long live the boot cut!”

    1. That’s excellent news. Good to know. Perhaps we have evolved as a culture to the point at which we can have our cake and eat it too!? 😉

  21. Any tips on finding misses jeans in a size 4? So many of the fun jeans (like the Vanderbilt jeans that come in green) start at size 6. That’s why I ended up with skinny jeans in Juniors size 5.

  22. As someone who has biggger hips and thighs, I don’t think a skinny jean will ever be for me. So I’ll be the one in denial, wearing “mom jeans.” Hehe. Or maybe moving on to whatever the new thing is. Trouser cut? I can do those.

  23. My first reaction is to gasp in horror and say NEVAH! But then again, in the 80s I’d have done the same thing over the notion of the pleat-front tapered jean going out of style, so I’m torn. Odds are, we’ll be looking back at pictures of ourselves in boot cut jeans, shaking our heads, and saying, “WHAT WERE WE THINKIN’?” in 10 years or less. I like a trouser jean, and though I swore I’d NEVER, I bought my first pair of skinnies (at 43, no less) at Lands End 3 weeks ago, and I love ’em.

  24. Well, this whole debate is very concerning. I have a huge aversion to the skinny jean b/c I have chicken legs and have no desire to accentuate that fact. Here’s my plan… as long as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor carry boot-cut and trouser styles, I’m calling them “classics” and clinging to mine 🙂

  25. I think there are some fashion items that are classic – cardigan sweaters, button down shirts, and pencil skirts. They maybe had a few “revisions” to suit the decade but they all go back to the basic design. I think jeans will do the same thing. Skinny may be in now, but a pair of boot cut or straight leg are here to stay. And I’ve gotta say – after being in Chicago a few weeks I got tired of seeing everyone in skinny jeans with boots over. My boot cut jeans with Ariats stood out among the crowd.

  26. Na-na-na. I can’t hear you. 😉

    I really don’t want to believe that boot cut jeans are out-of-style. They’re my favorite style of jeans – for so many reasons. For starters, they look great on everyBODY.

    Also – I still can’t get into the skinny jean trend. I’m trying, but I think they only look good on a very select few (ahem…tall, super skinny people w/out curves).

  27. OH NO! I could see this being true, by what the majority of people are wearing. But I’m going to stick with my classic boot cuts for a while longer. Like the others who have posted I haven’t found skinny leg jeans that fit. I do have a straighter pair, but my boot cuts go with everything.

  28. Oh, no, don’t tell me I’m in the new “mom” jean…please. Just leave me in the dark for a little while. I actually prefer straight leg, but I have a hard time finding a really cheap straight leg that will fit me. My thighs prevent skinny jeans, and boot cut are really my only option right now.

    Just call me MOM. I’m going to cry now.

  29. hi! i am a denim addict and like to wear the cutting edge stuff. and i’m old, probably older than you are, Jo-lynne! My take is that skinnies are on the way out and the newer cuts are the wide leg and flares, both very flattering and a great way to balance your shape. The bootcuts went away for a bit when the skinny jeans were at their height but now they are back again. So, they DID go out of style for about a year and now they’re back! I think we are fortunate to have every style option with our denim. You do know that the pleated, peg legged jeans are a current look now? It’s all how you dress them up or down! love your post, btw. gonna bookmark it.

  30. oops, i didn’t even notice how old the post was! have you seen the baby bootcuts? not really sure what the difference is, oh- and the cropped flares? Both are back. anyway, thanks for your blog and your fast response. i also just noticed that your first adjective in your description is “Christian”- YAY GOD! This goes to show that we’re not all running around in birkies (and mom jeans) with no makeup on! hahaha!

  31. Skinny jeans are already one of those style fads that I regret participating in. Much like the pleather flares of my pre-teen years. And the leopard print everything, from my late teens.

    Bootcuts will never be old school. NEVER.

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