Mom Jeans and the Dreaded “Long Butt”

UPDATED: A Plus Sized Sequel was published on October 12, 2012.  Click here to read that post.

A few months ago during one of our more “social” small group gatherings (in which all of the guys tend to gravitate to the kitchen to be closest to the snacks while the girls sit in the living room where they can talk about “girl stuff”), Lydia shared with us a deep fear that has been seated in her heart for a long time.

Being that she is in her early 30’s, the possibility of it coming to pass was getting closer and closer. She was sorely afraid – nay, terrified even – of attaining the dreaded “long butt” that seems to happen to moms in their mid-30’s or early 40’s.

She said that she didn’t mind if she had a little extra curvature, a.k.a. junk in tha trunk, but she just didn’t want her butt to get LONG.

I quickly jumped in, because, you see, I often ponder about deep issues such as this. I told her that Long Butt is not a “condition” that some women contract – butts don’t elongate. It’s actually all about the jeans. And, to be more specific, the pocket placement on the jeans. It is a symptom completely avoidable by ensuring proper knowledge in how to outfit one’s butt.

Immediately, relief washed over her face. Just the possibility that it could be avoided lifted a burden off of her shoulders. But then, doubt. Could it possibly be that simple?

I continued. Because you see, the assumed shape of your butt has EVERYTHING to do with where your pockets are in relation to the beginning and end of said butt.

Let me explain. Mom Jeans typically have long pockets and high waists. And, due to this, the tops of the pockets are usually on the back above the butt, while the bottom of the pockets tend to hit mid-butt.

However, the bottom of one’s butt is the most distinct part – it curves inward – so it clearly defines the end of the rear. SO if your pocket STARTS two inches above board and your curve ends two inches below pocket, you just gained an extra two inches of butt, thereby creating the cursed Long Butt.

To avoid LB, go for pockets that actually start a little below the top of your butt and end an inch or so BELOW the butt. This shortens the butt dramatically – because you can still see the distinctive curve at the end of the butt, so it looks like your butt is only as tall as the beginning of the pocket to the curve, thereby making it about half the size of the aforementioned dreadful Mom jeans.

Now I know that this seems like much too simple of a solution to this issue, so, naturally, I have scientific proof to back up my theories.

Lydia and I ran a completely scientific experiment to prove that, indeed, it’s all about the pocket. But, while doing so, also made many other notes for you to help you avoid a Mom Jeans catastrophe altogether.

Because we’re here to serve the Mom community.

So, without further ado, I present to you:

The Study of Mom Jeans and the Dreaded Long Butt

Hypothesis: The condition known as “Long Butt” does indeed originate solely from poor pocketage.

Research Laboratory: Riverchase Galleria.

Test Subjects:

Subject A: Rachel.

Age: 27.
Height: 5’6″.
Size: 6.
Mom Status: 1 kid – 2 year old.

Natural Habitat:

Subject B: Lydia.

Age: 32.
Height: 5’4″.
Size: 8.
Mom Status: 3 kids – 5 year old, 3 year old, 7 month old.

Natural Habitat:
Testing Standards: We only tried on jeans that were our size to ensure proper comparison standards. Also, our appearance was not altered in any way like they do on infomercials – we did not poof out our stomachs, take off all of our makeup, or wear really unattractive shirts to make the bad jeans look bad. All things, but the jeans themselves, are equal.

Testing Oversight: Provided by Ali & Radford, LLP. They can be seen in some pictures ensuring the highest degree of application of the scientific method.

Disclaimer: Forgive any rude terms such as “butt”, “crack”, the combination of said words, or any other term that you find offensive. Please understand that this is a purely scientific experiment, and so accurate language must be employed to ensure full communication of findings.


Test Subject B wearing a pair of Mom Jeans. Notice how the butt is elongated due to the pocket starting on the back and ending BEFORE the curvature of the butt ends:
The same butt measures half the visual length when wearing a pair of jeans that the pocket starts halfway down the butt and ends after the curvature:
Test Subject A with elongated buttocks. Also notice the complete and utter flatness created, which only adds to the elongation effect:
Also measures half the visual length but with curves that were noticeably missing in prior picture. Hard to believe, but scientifically proven, that this is the same butt:
Further testing was enacted. Here are more examples, this time with a closer view.

Test Subject A. Notice that it doesn’t matter if a pair of jeans were a popular brand when you were in high school. They can still attrociously lengthen your butt:
Test Subject A’s butt done right:
(Some important keys can be found in the labeling of above jeans. ALWAYS avoid the word “tapered” or the phrase “sits at waist”. However, if words such as “honey”, “booty fit”, “curvy” and “physique” appear on the labels, don’t automatically assume that they will be skanky. It most likely just means that they are NOT Mom Jeans.)

Test Subject B:
Test Subject B saved by the pocket:Just in case you are not yet convinced of the atrocious sins of the Mom Jean, let’s look at what they do to the front of your body:
Our findings were that when THAT MUCH of your body is zipped up into a pair of jeans, there is much opportunity for pulling and lumping and a host of other unattractive side effects, including being so high that they actually make your “upper body” also look lumpy and droopy.
Look how much more flattering the RIGHT pair of jeans can be:

Here are the rest of our findings that might be very helpful to you in ensuring that you never accidentally step off the cliff of Mom Jeans:

1. At all costs, AVOID DIAGONAL REAR POCKETS. These create the “elbow” effect – where it looks like your butt cheeks are really elbows in an outward pointing angle:
Instead, pockets should always go straight down, with NO curve to the outsides:

2. If the waist cuts off your air supply when you bend over because it is pressing on your LUNGS, then they are a Mom Jean. Yes, during these dangerous experiments, Lydia and I had several occasions where we bent over and had to gasp to get a breath. It was quite excruciating and shocking.

3. If the jeans come in sizes small, medium and large, then they are most definitely a Mom Jean.

4. If the jeans come in sizes small, medium and large and they have a completely elastic waist, you’ve gone way beyond Mom Jeans. You are at the point of Grandma Jeans. Turn yourself in immediately to someone who can help you with your problem.

5. If you can’t tell your front from your back, you are off the Grandma Jeans Deep End.

6. For that matter, do not EVER choose jeans without back pockets. Your butt will always appear to be a watermelon shoved in the back of your pants that is trying, but failing miserably to defy gravity.

7. There should be a definitive break where your butt ends and your legs begin. Otherwise, your butt ends up with the infinity effect. . .

And if you’re about to say that you don’t like wearing tight jeans, they don’t have to be tight to give you definition. See here how a nice, loosely fitting pair is giving Subject B a very definitive (and small) butt, without sacrificing comfort (in fact, Subject B loved these jeans so much that I was forced to have a therapy session with her to get her out of them).
8. DO NOT BE FOOLED by the Cool-Jean wannabe that is found in and amongst the Mom Jeans. THEY ARE WORSE than Mom Jeans. These jeans tried by having a more modern leg line and pockets,

But failed miserably when the elastic side darts were revealed,
besides the horrible, uniform color, high waist,
and nearly Grandma-ishly unshapely backside.

9. Length, length length. Your sock should NEVER show – front, back or side -while standing:
Instead, your jeans should have a nice swoop almost but not quite to the floor:
10. Pay careful attention to colors. If your jeans are completely solid (unless it’s a nice, dark blue denim), this may mean you have Mom Jeans. Especially if they are black:Or heaven forbid, Pink:
Here’s how you can do a black right. Notice the variation in the color, the washed out look, and the pocket detail that all help this jean achieve stylishness:

And here are some notes to help you not go TOO FAR in the other direction when trying to correct your Mom Jean problem:

1. Use caution with low rises. Obviously we are trying to escape the dreaded phrase, “sits at waist”, but this can be taken too far, and create some horrible side effects, including:

The Muffin Top:(Which, by the way, you don’t have to be wearing a midriff to show off your muffin top – they show quite nicely THROUGH shirts as well.)

Or the Whale Tail:
2. Speaking of which, it is imperative that you KNOW YOUR OWN CRACK. And what I mean by that is that Lydia and I have both noticed a very under-reported phenomenon: different people’s buttcracks start at different points. Some people can wear ultra low rise and bend all the way over to pick up a penny and not have a problem. Other people can have a mid-rise, bend over slightly to help their toddler, and still have a very unsightly wardrobe malfunction. Know where yours is, and buy accordingly. And if you are concerned, be sure and test them out in the dressing room.

3. Watch out for widely spaced pockets. This can serve to make your rear view be a bit wider that you would like. These jeans have the pockets in the right place vertical-wise, but way to far apart horizontal-wise:

4. Just because something is in style doesn’t mean you have to wear it. For instance, skinny jeans:
(Ali was bringing her the hanger – I think it was a hint)

Skinny jeans look good on 2% of the population when worn like this. They look good on 80% of the population when worn with a super long shirt and boots, but if you’re going to cover up that much of a pair of jeans, are the really worth it??

5. Yes, I know the 80’s are coming back. But I am choosing to ignore that fact when it comes to denim. And I recommend that you do the same.
6. A good way to ensure hipness of jeans is to make sure that they have wash detail – wrinkles, fades, and even some tastefully done “wear appearance” (which you CAN achieve without having all-out holes in your jeans):
7. You do not have to spend a fortune to get good non-Mom jeans. Although we tried on some expensive jeans, we also tried on some very reasonable jeans from Express. Their jeans run from $49-$69, but they almost always have a buy one, get one half off sale, AND if you get on their mailing list, you will often get $30 off of $60 coupons. Using both can definitely afford you a steal of a deal on some very nice looking jeans:8. As mentioned before, dark jeans are the only exception to the “no monotone color” rule. However, even if you are going to get a dark jean, they still look better if they have a bit of fade in appropriate places:

9. Wide legs are okay, but make sure that the width starts at a reasonable level and doesn’t make you look like you have full-length, denim culottes on. Also make sure that the width doesn’t go straight down from the butt and you lose the aforementioned butt-to-leg differentiation. These jeans are about as wide as you should take it:

I truly hope that after you use the scientific information gathered in this post, you’ll never feel the need to have this apology-face for your jeans:

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Sure, this would be easy to do if I were 27, or 32, but I’m not. How can someone older make sure and not make Mom Jean mistakes?”.

Well, don’t worry. Keep an eye out for the sequel post coming soon: “How To Avoid Mom Jeans for Moms over 50”, with a guest subject, My Mom. Sequel was Published on Monday, March 9th.

Looking for the rest of my denim posts? Here’s a list:

If you wear Gap or Old Navy jeans, click here.
If you’re plus-sized, click here.
If you’re over 50 years old, click here.
If you want more specific tips and tricks to pick out the perfect jeans, click here.
If you want a list of every post I’ve ever written about denim, click here.