Styling Mother Tomcat Jeans for Winter

We haven’t had a lot of snow here the last few years, so when we got our big snowstorm last month, I took the opportunity to get some wintry outfit pictures. I had just received these Mother Tomcat straight ankle jeans, and I wanted to try styling them for winter.

You may remember that I shared them in a Try-On Haul a while back, and wasn’t sure about them. Plus, at full price, they’re quite spendy.

All that to say, I sent the first pair back. But then they went on sale at Anthro over the holidays, and I decided to give them one more try.

Remembering that they ran small, I ordered both the 28 and the 29, but the 29 got canceled so I’m wearing the 28 here. They are pretty snug! I would definitely like to try the 29 for comparison’s sake.

These jeans have the perfect grey wash, and the fabric is fairly thick but with just enough stretch so as not to feel constricting, but I’m still not 100% in love with them. It may have to do with the high rise and the front-tuck.

I tried it both ways, and Alison agreed that the front tuck was necessary to keep a good balance, but I’m not loving the way my midsection looks in these pictures. #justkeepingitreal

I also think they need to be a little bit shorter to get “the look” just right. A cuff didn’t look quite right, so I just wore them as-is, but I suppose I could have them hemmed.

They’re actually pretty flattering from the rear… I feel like they have potential, but I need to play with them some more at home.

I kept the outfit monochromatic with a black turtleneck and black boots, and then I added a plaid scarf for pattern and interest.

My sweater is old, but it’s comparable to the Halogen cashmere turtleneck, which is still on sale and well stocked. In fact, I think I would like the Halogen one better because it doesn’t have that wide ribbed band at the waist, so it front tucks a little easier.

The weatherproof Aquatalia boots I’m wearing here are also old and out of stock, but they work well with these jeans because they have a tall, slim shaft so the jeans easily fall over top.

This pair of La Canadiennes would work well too, and they’re also weatherproof; but this pair actually has a more similar shape to mine, and they’re 68% off!!! I’m not familiar with that brand, but they look nice, and the price is fantastic.

Then I topped it all off with my grey wool cocoon coat from J.Crew. I like how the lighter shade of the grey contrasts with the darker colors of the outfit, and keeps the monochromatic look going.

This coat goes on sale from time to time, but it’s full price at the moment. I did find a similar style at J.Crew Factory for much less, if you’re interested.

I also found a similar plaid scarf at Amazon — the color is Gray Plaid 2.

Anyway! Even though I’d like to make some tweaks to this look, I decided to go ahead and share it anyway, if for no other reason than the scenery is so pretty.

For those not from around here, these pictures were taken at Washington’s Headquarters in Valley Forge National Park. It’s such a pretty area, with walking trails connecting the various points in the Park.

What do you think? Would you wear it?

Shop the Post:

Mother Tomcat jeans (also at Shopbop) // similar sweater // similar boots (option) // J.Crew cocoon coat (option) // scarf (option – Gray Plaid 2) // sunnies (option)

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photos: Alison Cornell

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94 Responses

  1. Love this outfit. So fresh and not skinnies!  I think length works. 
    I would totally wear these if they weren’t so expensive!

  2. I love the outfit but personally don’t like the pant length.  In my humble (probably outdated opinion) that cut is too short with those boots. 🤷🏻‍♀️  Happy New Year to you & yours!

    1. I must be getting old. I just can’t get used to this look. I feel like the pants look too high with those boots and I feel like the high-rise mom jeans is just not a good look. Sorry, I just can’t get used to that new style. I feel for you on the not sleeping. Going thru the same thing and it’s torture. I’ve been told it is part of peri-menopause. As if women have not suffered enough–lol.

      1. Yes, it is part of menopause but the good news is you don’t have to suffer!! My doctor prescribed several natural herb remedies and I found just what I needed on Amazon. It is Menopause Support by N.O.W. Foods. I take one in the morning and two before bed. It’s been amazing…wish I had found it sooner!! Hope you get relief…no one should have to loose sleep. 🙂

      2. Omigosh, I was saying the same thing to a friend today, Don’t we go through enough with childbirth and a lifetime of periods? And now all this. Things I will ask God when I get to heaven….

    2. I hear ya, my eye has adjusted from seeing it on other stylish women, but I can’t seem to get used to it on myself… so maybe it just doesn’t work for me. I will keep trying new conbos. I think I would prefer them slightly longer.

  3. I love this color scheme. I am a winter and I only wear cool tones. I have not seen anything all Fall and winter that is styled with these colors in mind. I love the outfit but the front tuck draws attention to the mid section. I think it’s because the black is so much darker than the jean . Thanks for all you do!

  4. I love everything about the outfit- except for the jeans. Looking at them on you, I think the rise is too high. The site said 10.75 inches. For me, the sweet spot is between 9 and 10 inches. Of course, everyone’s body is different. If you are short-waisted, though, I don’t think the super high rises are as flattering as some slightly lower rise. But I love the color of the jeans! I plan to copy this look. I bought a gray coat at TJ Maxx that looks almost identical except that it’s probably lighter weight. I even think I’ll order the Amazon scarf, though I may dig around for a similar one in cashmere because though I’m an anti-wooler, I LOVE a good cashmere scarf and I’m trying to stop buying winter fashion scarves.

    I love Valley Forge National Park!

  5. I actually love these jeans on you especially with the boots. Thanks for keeping me inspired to try new things.

  6. I know some people like only high end stores, but, Old Navy, Target, and Walmart all offer activewear that is stylish and reasonably priced. Get several outfits for the price of one piece at other retailers!

    1. When it comes to winter running gear, it’s hard to find all the necessary features at those retailers — usually best to stick with brands that specialize in activewear, but the prices at Athleta are really getting up there. I did find a winter running jacket at Old Navy that I ordered to try. I’ll see what else I can find, and include them all in a future try-on haul.

  7. I really like this outfit. Weirdly, on my monitor, the jeans look bluish in all the pics except one. I’ve been tempted to try Mother jeans, but I just haven’t yet. I love the Mother Tomcat distressed jeans, but I’d lose the cool hem detail because I’m so short. I’ll have to keep my eye out for a sale on these…

  8. Love Valley Forge National Park, I try to get there a couple times per year! Love the Arch monument for photos! Your outfit is awesome, reminds me that I have a pair of grey denim that I need to locate and style. The jeans with the boots are perfect and the scarf just finishes off the look. Love that tiny pop of red! Looking forward to a “worst of” post. I will try not to be offended if all those outfits are in my daily rotation! HAHA!!!!!

  9. I love the length of the pants on you, with those boots!  Personally, I am tired of crop jeans and hate wearing them in winter because I get cold!😂. Happy New Year.

  10. I ordered these jeans and wasn’t quite sure about them, but seeing them on you, I think I do like them! I did wear a cropped sweater instead of doing the front tuck and it hid just a little of my mid-section! Thanks for always showing us so many options. 

  11. Great outfit- fresh and updated! 27 Edit is Naturalizer’s “higher end” brand.  Have a few pairs of this brand very comfortable, would recommend 

  12. Yes, you are experiencing perimenopause.  Remember Dr. Barbara Taylor the menopause specialist?   Menopausetaylor.me.    She explains/educates everything menopause.  Her goal is to truly educate women about menopause because no one really is.   It should not be a taboo subject and there is so much false info. out there.  She’s on Insta, FB, YouTube, and you can completely educate yourself on EVERYTHING menopause.  Don’t cost a penny either.  Just your time to educate yourself. She is truly dedicated to women empowering themselves.

  13. You’re right, beautiful scenery, especially with some snow still on the ground.  So, I really like this outfit with the coat and scarf on.  It’s so easy on the eye.  I agree with you that the style of the black sweater isn’t exactly right.  The straight leg jeans are still a look I am trying to adjust too.  I do see them as being more versatile than bootcut jeans though, but having pants baggy below my tush is something I am trying to ignore.  I sure hope you can take a nap today.  When I worked, I was up at 3:15 and out the door by 4:15, and went to bed around 8, so I feel you.  Have a great day!

  14. Sorry to hear about your sleeping issues. I had those issues last yr. I find when I haven’t exercised in a while or my VitD is low, I don’t sleep well. My daughter also has sleep issues, and I got her this from Christmas. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZFOB4BK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I agree with you on the hem of the jeans with booties. The hem needs to be longer or a bit shorter. I’m not a fan of the high rise jeans because they seem to accentuate the fact that I had 2 big babies. I must admit, I haven’t tried a pair of high rise jeans lately, but my pooch has only gotten bigger (thanks COVID), so…

    1. Yep, this rise is definitely not my sweet spot. And I agree, too, with the length. I will look into that product. I’m never going to survive this year without some intervention.

  15. The pictures ARE pretty! Taking these jeans just as they are– length & fit– IMO, they would work better either in a very casual outfit (sneakers with ankle showing, cropped T or hoodie) or quite dressy (heels, either pumps, sandals, or a sock-type boot) and a cropped dressier top or sweater. I’m not a fan of front tucking with high-rise pants, so I don’t buy them because I don’t buy the cropped tops that work so well with them. All that said, I love the pieces you’re wearing, and it all looks nice, just maybe not the best jean style to make a mid-range outfit look modern. I love that you try different things together though so we can all experiment with you, and I appreciate that you don’t always wait for the “perfect” outfit to share photos. We all learn a lot together when you share & discuss the misses and the “almosts” as well as hits 🙂

  16. Love the monochromatic look! I actually have the Halogen turtleneck in my shopping cart and need to pull the trigger. I was thinking the jeans are too short on you but maybe they aren’t short enough. Definitely a look to work with.

    1. Yeah, I think they’re an awkward length. The thing is, shorter ones often get caught on the shaft of my booties. Longer tends to look dated… but maybe those longer straight styles are on their way back.

  17. I like the look on you. I think jeans with that high of a rise would be on my rib-cage and uncomfortable. Maybe a less full sweater would look better to you?

    1. Yes, it’s worth a try. I’ve got a few more I want to experiment with but I don’t have a lot of shorter sweaters. I think that’s part of the issue with new denim silhouettes — they often require different styles of tops and shoes too. It gets overwhelming (and expensive!)

  18. Jo-Lynne,
    This was a great outfit to start out the year. It is so flattering to you! I have been lusting after that cocoon coat and missed the fabulous sale in December.  Am fairly new to your blog and am enjoying it.
    Happy New Year, Julie

  19. I think this is a beautiful outfit, and I particularly like the colors in the outfit. I guess you could wear a different pair of jeans with the outfit, but I personally think the length looks fine. But maybe that’s because I am only 5’1” and that’s a look I often get in jeans.  The background in the photos is beautiful and really help sell the outfit. 

  20. One of the things I truly appreciate about you is that you don’t just show the perfect outfits. I admire that you are willing to present a look that needs a little adjusting and you take “suggestions” on how it could maybe work better without getting defensive, lol! First, the scenery in these photos is a beautiful winter wonderland! Second the outfit. I don’t think it is terrible by any means. I like the look from the side and back but it is the front with the rise of the jeans and tuck that is throwing it off for me. I am not a huge fan of cropped anything (tops) but I think here something slightly cropped may work better and would avoid the tuck. I think jeans this style look darling with heels but obviously they wouldn’t work in the snow and we have not had much reason to wear heels in the last while. I almost always find if a outfit isn’t working I throw a cute pair of heels on it makes everything better, not practical always but looks good!

  21. Love the scarf are you wearing!  I cannot find that exact look on the link you posted.  Can you tell me the exact colors?  Thanks!  

  22. I really like these jeans on you! I think the look is fresh and modern. This silhouette is definitely becoming more popular with the wider leg and higher waist, and I like seeing this as an example! I even think the length works with the boots for winter. I would wear this outfit exactly as is, or maybe only subbing a more cropped sweater to avoid the front tuck. 

  23. You’re right the front tuck on a high rise jean and with such a thick material is not flattering. I think the faded grey with a more sophisticated look is not working. Perhaps styled with a  black leather jacket or a short puffer would work. I’d love to see you style this differently so we can spot why these pieces are not complimentary. 🤔

  24. Honestly, I love this look. The color palette is perfect and the jeans give a classical combo a fresh take. I can’t do the front tuck, but I’d wear all the pieces as is. And be very happy.  I would like to see those jeans done more casually, with sneakers and a hoodie. I’m ready for more variety in my jeans selection and I think these are worth playing with. 

  25. I love this outfit! Pretty background too. I’m a big fan of Mother denim, but the sizing seems to have changed. My older pairs are all size 27, but when I tried the Tomcat recently the 28 was super tight and wrong inseam for my height (needed an inch longer), so I returned. From your pictures, I think the length is good on you. I almost think they should be a half inch longer. Have you ever tried full length straight jeans? They’d fall over the top half of your booties more. It’s a look I personally like. That said, you look great in all the pictures above! 

    1. Interesting about the Mother sizing. I do wonder if these would look better slightly longer… it’s not a silhouette that looks especially modern to my eye, but I can see it coming back with all the other straight silhouettes. I think it would help b/c it would allow the rise to be a little lower, and tops to be a little longer, and keep the vertical balance. I’ll see what I can find to try. I kind of liked the AG Mari when I tried them in the dressing room last spring… they might be what you’re thinking of.

      1. Yes- I remember you trying the AG Mari- I tried them on at Anthropologie last February and liked the fit but didn’t buy (can’t remember why). I get what you’re saying about the length of the jeans. Using Instagram as a barometer it looks like most are wearing the straight leg jeans cropped slightly above the bootie so a little skin still peeks out. That’d work in my climate but you have much colder temps so it might be challenging! I wore Havianas flip-flops with my Vuori joggers to the grocery store yesterday so I may not be the best judge of winter style. LOL!  

        1. Haha! Sounds adorable… in June! 🙂

          Yeah, I like the look of the straight jeans above the booties, but it is a) too cold here for that right now unless I wear socks and b) that requires a short or tucked-in top, to balance out the shorter bottom half, and I don’t look good with high rise, tucked in tops. So we are back to square one. 🙂

    1. I assume you are referring to your two earlier comments under different names/emails that got held up in my comment moderation queue? My comment system automatically holds certain comments for moderation, usually new email addresses or inconsistencies, or spammy links. I don’t stay home, checking unmoderated comments all day long, so sometimes it takes a while for comments to show up.

      There are plenty of negative opinions on my posts, so I’m not sure why you think I only approve positive comments. I do, however, delete or disapprove rude comments. I look at my comment section like my living room. I welcome constructive comments and feedback, and I enjoy those discussions, but I won’t tolerate rudeness… in case anyone was wondering about how it works around here.

  26. You look beautiful as always.  Yes, insomnia is a big part of perimenopause and menopause.   I use a product by Neora called Sleep Chews and they help me fall asleep and stay asleep.  I don’t sell Neora but I am sure you know someone who sells it!    

  27. I am trying not to brush off new jean trends – I was late into skinny jeans from boot cut, and am hesitant to change again but dont want to look dated!

    Would love your opinion on the straight jean trend in regards to body type. I am heavier in the thigh area, athletic hamstrings and slim calves. I think the straight cut looks terrible on me because the thinner parts are not accentuated. Is this nuts? I disregarded the crop boot cut for the same reason but this is not leaving many new options.

    I think your jeans look good with the boots, and as you mentioned could be a little shorter to look just right.

    Happy new year!

    1. You are not nuts. I am in the same boat, and skinny jeans tend to flatter me more than straight — basically, I need jeans that are cut slimmer in the thigh. So I’m also good with bootcut, when they fit snug to the thigh, but the straight styles really don’t work well for me, unless they’re the real slim straight styles of old. These days they are straighter from the hip. So yeah, I am feeling kind of lost for modern options, which is why I keep trying other silhouettes. I don’t see people around me – at least moms my age – embracing the straighter styles yet. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  28. Ugh, love that coat and scarf combo!  I feel like we’re in a sea of black coats so it’s nice to see an alternative this time of year.  The grey jeans aren’t really my thing, but I do like how they look on you and it’s nice to have a different silhouette for a change.  Re: sleep, it’s 100% perimenopause, sorry to say.  I found relief only by taking 1/2 a Unisom during the worst of it because it was making me nuts.  There are a million “remedies” but as with most things, it’s trial and error.  For me, at the end of the day, I just needed to do whatever it took to get a good night sleep.  On the plus side, after about 9 months, I was through the worst of all the various symptoms.  I realize that doesn’t sound very encouraging 😉 😉 

  29. At 59 I have already gone through menopause and not being able to sleep is part of it. Have you tried Melatonin. I take a 5mg and it helps me go to sleep. I sleep for about 6 hours.

    1. I haven’t, and I should. Supposedly it helps prevent/fight Covid as well. I’m used to getting 8-9 hours a night, so waking up at 2AM is not going to work for me! 🙂

  30. Love the jeans on you (grey color, straight legs, and good fit).  Maybe better with a shorter top so you can avoid the front tuck? I think they are the right size, they will get broken in with time, like jeans in the old days.  

  31. It is so helpful to know you don’t always land on the perfect outfit right away. It helps me to hear your thoughts. I feel that helps me learn. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 
    The weird thing is I remember not liking skinny jeans when they first came out (on anyone). Now I am use to skinny jeans and other types look off. So that leads me to question my own judgement. Do I not like something or just not use to it???? And that is my stopping point as I then decide whether to invest in it or not. 
    One thing I learned from you is to really like what you have. So I might suggest you keep looking for strait leg pants with more things you like about it then don’t like about it. I didn’t even realize how many brands are out there just in jeans! 

    1. Yes, our eyes do adjust as new styles take the mainstream. I also remember being afraid of skinny jeans, and then embracing them and sharing ways to wear them on the blog. So funny how styles cycle through. I agree, I need to keep looking. I think the rise on these is what’s really throwing them off. Unfortunately most straight crop or straight ankle jeans are also high rise.

  32. I tried on the JCrew cocoon coat in the light blue in the store last month. Only reason it didn’t come home with me is it wasn’t on sale. 🤣 It’s a gorgeous coat. The gray is probably a better choice but the light blue was so pretty. I was surprised how flattering the cut was and the higher neck didn’t bother me like I thought it might. I also loved the way it felt. Not scratchy at all. Anyone needing a nicer dress coat should definitely check this one out. Do they carry this style every year?

  33. I have to agree with the comments about the length of the jeans with the latest trend leaning towards the cropped ALL the time- I really don’t like it for the fall/winter so the look of this outfit I do like because they are longer than usual.  Also, if you could do a try-on of some reasonably priced jeans that would be greatly appreciated – I don’t spend over $100 on my jeans.  Appreciate all of the ideas you alway provide -especially loving my Halogen cashmere sweaters!

    1. Yes, I do try to include a variety of price points in my Try On Hauls. I actually tried to find a similar pair to these to link to in this post, but I came up blank. There was a pretty good pair from J.Crew Factory back in November – included in the Try On Haul I linked in this post, where I also tried these Mother jeans for the first time, but they’re gone now too.

      I don’t know what’s up with denim this year, but it seems like so many styles go in and out of stock really fast. I will keep looking!

      So glad the Halogen cashmere worked out for you.

  34. Love the color combinations, think it’s a chic look!

    As for your sleeping difficulties, it’s remarkable how many symptons fall under perimenopause/menopause.

    I went through it pretty early, finished by 49, so none of my doctors really considered it menopause. Trouble sleeping is terrible and I had the same problem.

    My advice to all women 40+ is to find an ob/gyn who is less focused on the “ob” side of the practice and more on the “gyn” side.

  35. I LOVE these jeans and how they look on you. I do think they would look better with a thinner blouse/button-down top or sweater.

  36. Love this outfit! So classic and beautiful winter colors without looking dark!! I really love the coat! Hoping it might go on sale soon!!

  37. Just so you know….La Canadienne is a Canadian brand from Montreal. They make high quality footwear…. their boots have waterproofing built in to the leather (although over time you should spray again). I love them and own many pairs of boots and shoes because they fit my feet which are more narrow and don’t fit cheaper brands.They can be found at lacanadienne.ca
    And since I have very long legs all my pants growing up were “high water pants” because I outgrew everything…..hence I hate short pants except maybe with flat sandals in Summer

  38. I like the whole outfit except for the style of the jeans. They just…don’t work for me somehow, and I’m having trouble articulating why. Maybe because the cut and style of the legs remind me of the Gap jeans I wore in college, lo these many years ago? I don’t know. I kind of wish there was a widget that would allow me to swap out styles of jeans on you, so I could tell if I would like it better with a different cut of jeans! 🙂

  39. I am not really familiar with Mother Jeans, because I just don’t spend that much money on my jeans, but my opinion would be if you are spending 200 plus dollars on a pair of jeans you better love them. I m looking forward to seeing what you come up with for a casual look for these jeans. I like what the reader Jane recommended about going really casual with them, (with a sweater). I think they looked really cute on you but I did not like the length of them very well. I m sorry you are having sleep problems. I went through that for years, and still have the problem. My hotflashes were so bad I had to go on hormone replacement therapy. Now I take Melatonin, 3 to 5 gram every night and a product called Somnapure. I buy it at CVS Pharmacy. It helps me relax and shut off my mind.

  40. Standing ovation to you because I am glad you show us what DOESN’T work as I think it is a great learning tool. I have always been a fan of Before & After photos of homes or rooms and there was a magazine that had a section of styling fashions with the same concept as a Do & Don’t. I don’t like the front tuck with the high-rise jeans. I’m not too sure about the high-rise being flattering on too many people. Also, not a fan of the shorter jeans/pants. I know the runway is trying to make this a new style, but looks a bit silly on anyone over 18 years old. I think if your jeans were longer the fashion would look much better. I guess if I have to force myself to like a style, then it’s not for me. I won’t feel comfortable wearing it. I have followed Cyndi for several years and I just discovered your wonderful site during your duo Days of Spring. I find myself drawn to your style and so has my wallet. Thanks for all you do.

  41. Beautiful color palate of the outfit combined with the snow.

    The rise is too high for a front tuck, IMO, but I do like the color of the jeans. Will be curious to see the other ways you come up with style them.

    At 58 I really don’t see myself wearing a very high rise jean with a cropped sweater but them again I’m always late to every new fashion trend.

    Thanks for all that you for the your blog. Love seeing real life try-ons and enjoy the WIW This Week posts.

  42. I wonder if the issue is with the height of the booties. Visually I think these straighter styles look better cropped and with either sneakers or some other shoe that shows a little skin. I also have had to realize that not all of the new trends are flattering for me. I bought several pairs of high-rise jeans in the last year or so and they are so unflattering on me. They really make me look like I have a large gut and I don’t. I have tried them with so many different tops and now the only way I will wear them is with a top that is not tucked in and that kinda defeats the purpose. I love to try new trends, but I only stick with the ones that are flattering on my body type.

  43. Please don’t bring up anything political.  I read your blog for the fashion ideas. If you are upset over politics I don’t want to know it, since I have stopped listening to nation news since the election.  If you are not up to writing your blog, don’t write it.

  44. I love this look!  Are you wearing a small in the J Crew Cocoon coat? Could you compare the J Crew cocoon coat to the Talbot stadium coat, I think you have talked about both.  The Talbot looks a little more fitted? I want to purchase one but have not been into try either on yet.
    Thank you!

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