The Atlantic

Toward a Universal Theory of ‘Mom Jeans’

Straight-legged, high-waisted jeans were almost casualties of reductive stereotypes about motherhood—but now they’re back.
Source: o.przybysz / Shutterstock

When I was 19 years old, brimming with the kind of giddy, fragile confidence common to those who have just returned to campus to start their sophomore year of college, I marched into the edgiest salon in our particular suburb of Chicago and asked an objectively edgy stylist to shear off all my hair. I wanted a funky, razor-cut pixie, the kind that style gurus often imposed on contestants at the time , and when I walked home afterward, I was thrilled with the results—that is, until I sent a grainy selfie I’d taken on my flip phone to a friend of mine from high school. “A little motherly,” she texted, “but cute!” I was incensed, and it didn’t help that I could picture the devastatingly cheery thing my own mother would say if I told her about this insult: “What’s wrong with a mom haircut? Mom haircuts are .” Forty-five minutes

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