It is unmistakable. The squiggles on the seismograph do not lie. Tremors have started. Are they precursors to the big one that produces a tectonic shift in denim or just a stress release? Sounds ominous but just what am I talking about? Why mom jeans of course. It was only a matter of time before women’s jeans would trend away from the skinny/leggings style. As can be seen from the prior link, we may all have prior misconceptions on what mom jeans are. Generally today’s mom jeans are an evolution of the boyfriend jean with a higher relaxed waist, cropped or ankle length and a tapered leg. Of course it could be argued that women’s boyfriend jeans are a take off on dad jeans.
That is all fine and dandy but why am I writing about it? Well, recent history has men’s jean trends following those first established by women. Examples include the adoption of skinny/extreme skinny jeans and the subsequent introduction of soft stretchy fabrics. If mom jeans are the tea leafs to be read, does that mean dad jeans are on the horizon for us men? When it comes to crystal balling the future, I’ve often found it helpful to channel the spirit of Arthur Guinness.
Taking inspiration from a fashion blogger (above), she shows us mom jeans that are new and work whereas Barack Obama (see here) shows us dad jeans that are old and need to evolve, but the male street style star (above) proves to us it can be fashionable.
Is there a corresponding evolution in dad jeans that could be building into a trend? It is doubtful that you will find a major brand actively marketing a style for men that is called a “dad jean”. The reasons for this are fairly obvious. Dad jeans are iconic and fairly ubiquitous for men. One needs to look no further than the Levi’s iconic 501 and 505 styles for a reference.
When you use the women’s trend as a reference, the underlying theme is updating a comfortable relaxed fit to make it more stylish. Of the modifications employed on mom’s jeans, the relaxed higher waist isn’t needed as that is already in place on the iconic dad jeans. Cropped length jeans have never really taken off in men’s styles but the ankle length may have potential. Another likely modification is a tapered or slimmer leg. If we maintain focus on the iconic Levi’s styles, there have been recent derivatives of the base style. One should note that the derivatives were introduced in parallel for both men and women.
Levi’s 501 CT
The CT classification appears to mean either Custom Tailored or Custom Tapered. The primary design change was tapering of the leg. The degree of taper may effectively make them ankle jeans for men. The women’s version offers a cropped length as well.
Levi’s 501 C
In this case the C classification seems to refer to “classic”. The waist is slightly higher with a slimmer slightly tapered leg. Another thing I found noteworthy was that except for the labeled waist size, the men’s and women’s versions were identical in all other ways including the deeper front pockets traditionally found on men’s jeans.
So why the focus on Levis? Well if the elephant in the room starts to dance, something must be going on. Here we see derivatives of their iconic dad jeans with some characteristics evident in the “new mom jeans”. If the elephant is moving, the mice must be scurrying and we should see similar styles – slightly higher rises and tapered/slimmer legs from other brands. A quick search of ASOS verifies that this is the case.
Like the tide, jeans trends have their own ebbs and flows. It is evident that a trend is building for slightly relaxed jeans with a tapered/slim leg for both men and women. The lineage is unclear as to whether it was driven by men’s or women’s jeans with the dad jeans/boyfriend jeans overlap and parallel introduction of tapered leg jeans for both genders. What is clear is that these are not your dad’s jeans. Will they be your jeans? You may have already observed the genesis of this trend, but of the varieties that are starting to percolate, do you have a preference? What style jean will you put on the back burner to catch this new trend? We value your insight whether as a comment to this article or a thread in the forum. Thank you, have a joyous holiday season and God bless Arthur Guinness.