Samantha Bee tried it: the new mom jeans 

In her new column for Chatelaine, the comedian, author and mom discovers that the old, high-waisted jeans are suddenly It jeans.

Illustration, Sarah Lazarovic.

Illustration, Sarah Lazarovic.

You know what’s rich? You grow up, you give birth to children. You love them more than you love yourself, you feed and clothe them and try to give them all the things you never had. You stay up nights worrying about how they’re doing, whether they’re safe — are they happy? Oh God, please let them be happy. And then they go and make fun of your jeans.

“Mom jeans,” they say. You’re wearing “mom jeans.” Unflattering and unstylish, tapered in all the wrong ways, with giant pockets that spread too far across your backside, a wash that’s too light, a waist that’s too high. Mom jeans: a simple, reductive way to remind everyone that moms are behind the times, out of touch, can’t remember the name of that guy who was in the movie with what’s-her-name, lame.

Except that now, actual mainstream stores are selling products called “mom jeans” because — in a head-spinning twist of fate — the high-waisted mom jeans are suddenly cool. These most maligned of jeans are now being sold to young women, who at first embraced the higher waist ironically but are now realizing that the higher waist holds you in just right. The old mom jeans are the new It jeans, and actual mom jeans (in the pejorative sense) are the jeans style that 20-year-olds wore in the year 2000. That is to say, a low-waisted boot cut. Are you still with me? Cut up all your low-waisted boot-cut jeans and turn them into dishrags — or so say the people who care about these things. Take them to the desert and bury them in a shallow grave. Put them in a time capsule and shoot them into outer space. 

(Let me just make one thing clear: I tried the new high-waisted jeans and they are great and you should get a pair. They’re like a girdle that you wear on the outside! But better because they don’t hurt or scream “I’m wearing a girdle” and they’ll keep your shirt tucked in. They’re actually quite forgiving. Just make sure the wash is dark and the legs aren’t too loose at the knees. Thank you.)

Now, as a mother, the other point I would like to make is this: I gave birth to you and I can un-birth you any time I want. Stop making fun of our jeans! Haven’t the moms done enough? Must we stay abreast of jeans fashions too? There aren’t enough hours in the day to love you the way you want to be loved, and also read up on hem lengths and whether it’s yea or nay to ankle zippers.

But much more important than that, as a mom and a human, I have earned my right to wear whatever I please and not be talked down to by the international fashion establishment. Okay, yes, I have spent the last 20 years conspicuously avoiding that style of jeans. And yes, it’s confusing to find myself now embracing that very style. But still.

So please, stores, stop calling them “mom jeans.” Because if you don’t, I’m quite happy to take all of that terribly unfashionable “mom money” somewhere else if it’s too embarrassing for you. Come to think of it, I just might. But you can’t have the high-waisted jeans back. I’m irritated but I’m not insane.


Samantha Bee is a comedian, author, mom and correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Also, she’s Canadian.

Photo, Matt Carr/Getty Images.