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Not Your 'Boyfriend' Nor Your 'Mom': Meet the Slouch Jean

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Illustration by <a href="http://www.JennaJosepher.com">Jenna Josepher</a> for Racked
Illustration by Jenna Josepher for Racked

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Shoes are flat, hemlines are long, and fits are voluminous. The next category to get the relaxed makeover is denim—and we're not talking boyfriend jeans or even mom jeans. Behold: The slouch jean.

Key characteristics of this silhouette are a high percentage of cotton (read: little to no stretch), a low rise, and a long zipper. Slung low on the hips, slouch jeans are offered in clean and distressed finishes, and typically cropped or rolled to a shorter length. Note that "flattering" is not necessarily an accurate description of this look—size double zeroes could make it look cool, but the rest of us are probably screwed.

It would be easy for the untrained eye to cast these off as "boyfriend jeans" or "mom jeans," but in the details lie the difference. Boyfriend jeans, which have been relevant in gentle waves since the early aughts, hit a mid-rise and use a shorter zipper—you can still kind of have an ass in boyfriend jeans. Mom jeans have a long zipper like the slouch, but sit high, closing at the natural waist. You can definitely flaunt your butt in mom jeans. Slouch jeans? Not so much.


6397 Resort 2015

Slouch jeans are loose fitting, but are they comfortable? Not really, thanks to the shift from stretch blends to 100% cotton. Self Edge operates four US stores dedicated to the cultish world of men's denim, and cofounder Kiya Babzani explains they've "seen a huge uptick in women wanting an undistressed, raw jean, something that will fade naturally over time. This is a jean that isn't going to be as comfortable as what women are used to right off the bat—but those looking for a fun experience of wearing in a jean for themselves are up for the challenge." 6397 Creative Director Stella Ishii echoes that, "for women, rigid denim is tough—you do have to suffer." Her brand started with a slouchy skinny, based on the relaxed look Stella arrived on after intentionally buying skinny jeans a few sizes too large. "I want women to wear our jeans and enjoy wearing them. We took [the issue of rigidness] into account and our jeans have a tiny amount of stretch—two percent at the most—enough where it moves with you, it's comfortable."


Acne

Key brands in the slouch movement include R13, a younger line that's heavy on the distressing, the aforementioned 6397, and Chimala, a Japanese-made brand that Jenna Lyons has been sporting since 2012 (and conveniently retails at Madewell). On the J.Crew note, the brand showed a refined take on the slouch as part of the fall 2014 Collection presentation, and currently offers a style called the slim stacker via its premium line Point Sur that is 100% cotton and just a step baggier than "boyfriend." Rag & Bone, Acne, and Aussie brand One Teaspoon have also jumped on the trend.


Jenna Lyons via The Sartorialist, February 2012; J.Crew Collection fall 2014

J.Crew is tempering their way in, but will the slouch jean catch fire with the masses? Gap, under fresh creative direction by Rebekkah Bay, showed some low, slouchy jeans for spring, and even more for fall, but it's unlikely they'll ditch the four skinny fits currently on offer. 6397's Ishii explained that, "denim [trends] move more slowly because it's a basic"—so don't expect to see jeggings evaporate just yet.

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