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Four women modeling the difference between girlfriend jeans and boyfriend jeans, highlighting a variety of embellished denim styles from elegant to casual.

I get asked this question a lot: “What’s the difference between Girlfriend Jeans and Boyfriend Jeans or Mom Jeans?” So here’s the answer…

The exact characteristics of boyfriend, girlfriend, and mom jeans may be slightly different depending on the designer or store that carries the style. However, in general, these jean styles are loose-fitting and have a comfortable silhouette that tends to flatter any body type.

Boyfriend jeans have a relaxed fit with tapered legs; girlfriend jeans are lower-rise than mom jeans but not loose from the knee down; and mom jeans feature a higher rise and looser fit.

The Original Boyfriend Jeans

Boyfriend jeans Marilyn Monroe.
Marilyn Monroe in a Boyfriend Jeans

This boyfriend jeans look can be easily achieved by wearing a man’s pair of jeans ( you don’t have to have a boyfriend to rock this look). Think slouchy, relaxed & baggy. Cinched in by a belt and rolled up at the hem. This slouchy masculine look was made fashionable and accessible by Marilyn Monroe, who wore them on the set of the film ‘The Misfits in 1960.

In 2010, actress Katie Holmes and many celebrities were papped wearing the slouchy Boyfriend Jean on the street. Why, because the style is so versatile and can be styled in so many ways, tres- casual with sneakers, sexy with kitten- heels, and a tux jacket for that yin-yang feminine yet masculine twist.

A model strides on the runway in boyfriend jeans paired with a metallic gold jacket, white tee, red strappy heels, and a large white handbag, exemplifying a bold, high-fashion denim look.
Boyfriend Jeans

Who Is The Boyfriend Jean Good For?

It’s a universal fitting jean, meaning pretty good for most. From the curviest body shapes as the waist can be cinched in with a belt to a tall long and leggy body shape. Often the boyfriend is ripped and distressed giving that grungy style.

Petite & Apple shapes need to be careful as too much slouch and fabric can drown a figure & give a frumpy outlook. The front rise sits around 8.5″ to 10″ under the belly button and the leg length can be rolled up or left down depending on the footwear. It’s a seasonless style.

Slide & Shop the Boyfriend Jeans

The Girlfriend Jeans

difference between girlfriend jeans and boyfriend jeans
Girlfriend Jeans

As always in fashion and especially within the denim industry styles evolve. Just look at the Levis 501 and how much it has changed over the years. The Girlfriend Jeans was born around 2014, as an offshoot from the masculinity of the Boyfriend Jean.

Who Should Wear Girlfriend Jeans?

Girlfriend Jeans are great for Petite & Apple body shapes and anyone who find the boyfriend style swamps them. The Girlfriend Jean is a streamlined relaxed style. So the waist is higher (approx 9.5″ sitting just under the belly button), legs are slimmer, tapered, and often cropped to the ankle.

A bit like baggy skinny jeans. You may come across the name “Slim Boyfriend” or “Boy Fit” these also come under the Girlfriend umbrella.

Not to be confused with L.A denim brand GRLFRND.

Slide & Shop the Girlfriend Jeans

The Mom Jeans

A model wearing a mom jeans in heels.
Mom Jeans

The Mom jeans is a bit like Marmite, you either love them or hate them! Mom jeans are high-rise jeans that were fashionable in the late 1980’s early 2000s. Mainly worn by middle-aged women due to the high rise, tapered shape in a light blue wash.

Sounds pretty awful, right? The younger generation of the day was following the low-rise skinny jeans trend which made Mom Jean’s very un-cool.

But then in 2010 to date tweens & teens made these frumpy jeans cool again. With the banishing of skinny jeans, Gen Z love the Mom jean like they had been made for them!

Who Is The Mom Jeans Good For?

The Mom Jean is great for all curvy body shapes. The high rise sits on or over the belly button ( 10″ to 12″) stopping the gap at the back of the waistband a lot of curvy women get with jeans. The jeans are cut with more room in the hip area, again perfect for curvy women! Then the leg tapers in at the ankle and can be rolled up and cuffed if you are petite.

TIP: Strangely this style is a no-no if you’re an apple body shape and you hold weight around your middle, as it will make you look very frumpy indeed! I have an apple body type and I stay well clear of this style of jeans!

Slide & Shop the Mom Jeans

I hope this post has cleared up the differences between the three styles of jeans and will help you make the decision about which style is best for you. Still, un-sure put your comment below and I’ll answer you as soon as!

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6 Comments on What’s The Difference Between Girlfriend Jeans and Boyfriend Jeans Or A Mom Jean?

  1. Problem…no bottom and slight muffin top and tummy.All jeans,jeggings slip down,almost fall off and then look baggy and old fashioned

  2. Can a girlfriend jean be worn by a women? Thought it was the style men are after if they steal a pair from their girlfriend. On a girl/woman it is just a girl/woman pair of jeans….
    Girlfriend jeans are stolen by boys, Boyfriend jeans are stolen by girls.
    I feel very LHBTQ unfriendly now, but I think this fashion industry nomenclature is very bad. Why do we have men/women sections to begin with? Lets call jeans how they look: high waist, low waist, A-line, taper, straight leg….

    • Hey Bert, it’s an interesting argument. Initially jeans that were borrowed by women that belonged to husbands or boyfriends were named by denim brands “Boyfriend Jeans”. The denim industry designs jean styles and names them accordingly for the general public to be able to identify the style when they want to purchase. The names are often family names like, mom Jeans, dad jeans, boyfriend jeans & girlfriend jeans. It’s more about the shape of the jeans & the name is just to ID the shape. An example would be a Dad jeans being looser, slouchy, comfortable jeans. Why do we have to have men and women sections, well can you imagine if we didn’t? It’s hard enough to find the right style of jeans so if all the jeans weren’t separated between the sexes it would be impossible to find what you’re looking for. There is nothing to stop men shopping in the women section or women shopping in the main section. Plus the division goes back centuries the differences between the genders when it comes to clothing.

      Iconic denim brands such as Levi’s have a STYLE HAS NO GENDER collection open to all. Often men like to shop for women’s jeans because the cuts might be more suitable to their body shape and vice versa. Going forward I think we’re going to see lots of gender-neutral collections but I don’t think the men’s section or the women’s will be removed from department stores or online shops. The wonderful thing about denim is it’s welcoming to everybody! I hope that answers your question.

      Thanks for commenting

      • On a fun note, have you seen the old SNL mock as for “Woke Jeans” which are unisex and one size with a deconstructed waist?

        • Hi Karen, I just checked it out! That’s hilarious, especially the extra long zip fly! You should check it out Bert! I’ll try and share the video! Thanks Karen x

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