Really, I can’t recall how many times I have been asked about the difference between boyfriend, girlfriend, and mom’s jeans.

When it comes to our denim we definitely know what a skinny or straight leg looks like. It’s when we head into the boyfriend, girlfriend, and mom’s jeans territory that sometimes trips us up.

We can help! 🙂

We’re breaking down to what makes the boyfriend jean differ from the girlfriend jean and what the heck is the real difference of the mom’s jeans?! After all, these three styles were all major trends, but now we simply count them as staples.

The Boyfriend Jean

The boyfriend jean can be traced back to Marilyn Monroe, who wore a loose-fitting pair back in the ’60s. Since then, the denim has become synonymous with a slouchy and baggy feel. This relaxed look is the opposite of the skinny jean, which tapers closer to your body and has a tighter fit. The trick to making this denim style work for your body shape is all about the fit. If you’re petite, go for the slim-cut boyfriend jean and if you’re more curvy, opt for a tapered or skinny leg version to cut down the extra bulk.

What to look out for: Relaxed fit, baggy shape, and should look a bit big on the wearer.

7 For All Mankind Josefina Distressed Cuffed Boyfriend Jeans
7 For All Mankind Josefina Distressed Cuffed Boyfriend Jeans
dark wash boyfriend jeans
Citizens of Humanity Emerson slim boyfriend jeans

The Girlfriend Jeans {also called boy-fit, or slim boyfriend jeans}

The girlfriend jean is a more feminine version of the boyfriend jean. It’s a more classic fit – tighter and higher on the hip, with a tapered slim straight leg. It offers a more flattering shape. While the boyfriend jean can be too baggy for your frame, the girlfriend fits just right and is our personal favorite.

What to look out for: Slim fit throughout the legs, tight fit on the hips, but with some slouch through the legs.



Rag & Bone Slim Boyfriend Jean
Rag & Bone Dre Slim Boyfriend
The Ex-Boyfriend Ankle Slim Jeans
AG The Ex-Boyfriend Ankle Slim Jeans

The Mom’s Jeans

If you raided your mom’s closet in the ’90s, you most likely came out with a pair of the mom jeans. Though the style has a stigma with being unflattering and unfashionable, contemporary brands have brought them back in full force, offering destroyed washes and cropped options. When it comes to the qualities of what makes a mom’s jean, the style is usually high waist, making your bum appear longer and flatter, and the zipper area has a more relaxed fit.

What to look out for: High waist, long back pockets, and baggy fit around the zipper and leg area.

Mom Jeans BDG
BDG Urban Outfitters Mom Jeans


  1. Now are you going to post a quiz and see how well we do on the test? I think it would be fun to take. You post photos and we have to name the style. Some jeans seem to be hybrids.

    That looks like a boyfriend jean to me at the top of the post.

  2. I think it’s unflattering and distorting when jeans are tight in the seat and loose in the leg,

    When I go for a looser fit, I look for even looseness and a moderately high rise, that hits below or at the hip bone, so that I’m not adding bulk to my waist. Usually, I don’t like a very tapered leg but I love the Fayza jeans above – especially the rear view and the light gray color. My favorite loose jean on denimology is the Spring 17 Tibi that you showed last week. ‘

  3. BTW, I love the way that the Emerson jeans are shown on Citizens of Humanity, with a slightly sheer loose fit lace top with a rather modest tube top or cropped top underneath. This shows off the slim mid section without resorting to a tight fit, tucking in, or overtly showing skin. The hem of the top is just long enough A great proportion that allows movement. Pink lace is not for everyone, but the idea can be used with othe semi sheer tops.

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