Put An End to Frumpy Mom Jeans

Put An End to Frumpy Mom Jeansů Slimming advice to stay fashionable at any age. Tips to find figure flattering and age appropriate

Slimming advice to stay fashionable at any age. Tips to find figure flattering and age appropriate jeans.

Dear Sharon: I was always thin until four years ago when I gave up smoking and gained 30 pounds. So far, I have lost 15 pounds and am presently more average size than slim.

I know it’s a healthier choice but I am having trouble feeling good about how I look in slacks or jeans. I "get" how I shouldn’t wear anything too small nor am I hung up on size. However, my grown daughter dropped a bombshell on me the other day– she said that my high waist jeans (Ann Taylor classic fit) were not very flattering and that they made me look more round than long and lean. Read: Your butt looks fat in them!

My daughter insists that flared legs and something hitting below the waist would be far more flattering. I disagree saying that since I have a bit of a belly I shouldn’t be bisecting it. If I wear a top outside and not tucked in then what difference does it make if the pants go to my waistline or below it? The real kicker is that she said I should wear flared leg pants and not peggedor straight jeans. I wore a lot of bell bottoms in the 1960’s so I don’t really care to wear them now that I’m in my fifties.

I’m sure her intentions were good, but I feel her rudeness supersedes her fashion advice. Regardless, am I way off-base? Should I be listening to her? Looking for some neutral advice… can you help? —AAA Threat (Ben Lomond, CA)
Dear AAA Threat: Yup it’s the Triple A– Age Appropriate Argument— rearing it’s ugly, old head again. Sorry mama, I don’t want to get in the middle of a mother-daughter power trip, but I’m with your daughter- for the most part.

I think it’s wonderful that you’ve stopped smoking and the few extra pounds that you gained will be more than worth the few extra potential healthier years that you’ll have to enjoy life. Sounds like you are on the right path to getting your old figure back. But, what’s with those frumpy jeans?


There is no better example of what jeans to never wear (unless you intentionally want to look 15 years older and 15 pounds heavier) than the brilliant Saturday Night Live commercial spoof for Mom Jeans— with the tag line, "I’m not a woman any more. I’m a Mom."

The SNL ad parody describes these style busters as having a 9-inch zipper, casual front pleats, a generous cut, and come in ankle length, Capri length or shortsŚ the only thing they didn’t mention was the strangely ôpleasantö periwinkle shade of denim. I’m not sure of exactly sure of the cut of Anne Taylor classic fit jeans or how that design suits your figure, but I am sure of one thing, if your jeans even slightly resemble Mom Jeans, we need to have a little style chat, now.

There is some bizarre and evil epidemic that brainwashes women of a certain age into believing that they must wear those hideously cut, extremely unflattering pegged jeans to avoid looking adolescent. So, instead of appearing youthful at any age, some women would rather just look dated, dumpy, and stylishly depressed- yuck.

You’re right- wearing an untucked top or tunic lengthens your torso and covers a tummy, but even if no one ôseesö the waistband, it defines the way the jeans fall on your body. There is a middle ground between teenybopper trends and sophisticated style. The highwaist jeans with a relaxed leg that tapers around the ankle only make your hips look wider and legs appear shorter. Plus, the high waist cuts into your gut, creates more of a belly bulge with its long zipper, and doesn’t fall with the curve of your backside so your butt either looks too flat or too big. Not to mention that this unflattering frump cut has not been in style since it was last ditched from the wardrobe trailers of 1980’s sitcoms.


What is flattering are jeans that follow the natural curve of your body and flatter the spots that are not so perfect, while accentuating your more positive attributes. Even the most traditional jeans styles have a little tweaking to stay modern and not look dated, whether it be the cut of the waistband or the shade of denim. Levi’s 501 jeans are probably the only true ôclassicö cut jean while just about every other style of jean has some amount trend value that should be updated every few years to look fresh and keep you out of a fashion time warp.

Things to consider when purchasing jeans:

To elongate your leg, the hem must reach the top of your shoe for a straight leg or cover your heel for a boot cut. Never hem away the natural worn edge of jeans if you need to shorten them.

– The width of the leg style should compliment your thighs. A cigarette or drainpipe jean looks best on thin legs while boot cuts flatter larger thighs. Bell bottoms accentuate thighs. A pegged bottom visually stunts your proportion. Straight legs are the most universally flattering cut.

– A jean with a more natural waist that hits right below your bellybutton is generally most becoming. Fashion may go dangerously low, but hiphuggers are reserved for those with flat tummies and no outpouring of flesh over the sides- go as low as you can go without creating a belly bulge.

Curvier figures do better with a bit of stretch to the denim and a wider, less defined waistband to glide over your womanly bumps.

Avoid Brokecrack Mountain and the wretched Camel Toe. Get jeans that neither slide down or ride up. Try wearing a belt to keep the jeans in place. Go for a longer rise, if the jeans yank up.

– The wash of the denim should look as if it happened naturally by wear. Faux stone washed denim that is uniformly bleached out to mimic wear looks hokey. Fancy, novelty washes or denim finishes like the heinous acid wash, dirty wash, or laminated denim are fad items that only last a season or two, tops. Naturally worn indigo denim endures.

Finding a terrific fitting pair of jeans can be daunting, but it’s no excuse for wearing a style that makes you look dowdy and dated. Modify trends to suit your figure and lifestyle, but stay modern. Learn to be open to new ideas and expand your fashion horizon out of your comfort zone of familiarity- you just wind up looking better for it!

–May 2, 2006

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