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Gap launches the ‘dad short’ – where do you sit in the family jean pool?

Assuming this season’s rather specific denim trends aren’t for you (quite possible if you hated the 1970s the first time round but, equally, find the prospect of wearing skinny or slimmy jeans again wholly dispiriting), there is good news: spring denim has broadened out into something more “family-orientated”. Gap has just launched its “dad shorts” – wide-legged denims – precisely the sort of thing your dad wears on holiday. “Fussy cuts are known to increase sales,” explains APC’s Jean Toutoiu after explaining why he launched his hybrid of stretch with raw denim which helped the label’s sales increase by 40% and which explains the rise and rise of the boyfriend jean (MS, Topshop and Asos all have their own “boyfriend” jean section). Take Barack Obama, a defiant wearer of “dad” jeans: “The truth” he replied after much ridicule, “is I generally look very sharp in jeans.” Sure you do. So, with Easter in mind – a time of family and togetherness – here are five jean styles from the family tree.

US President Barack Obama in his signature dad jeans. Photograph: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Dad shorts

What are they? Not the official name, granted, but a fitting one nonetheless. These wide-legged pseudo-cut-off shorts are a marker that the unisex trend is branching out into something more cross-generational. Loose enough to be unisex and low-rise to the point of belt-dependent, if these don’t remind you of something your dad wore on holiday in Cromer while holding a mug of soup then, well, nothing will.

We like “Dad” shorts, Gap.co.uk for pricing.

Gap’s dad shorts (belt required). Photograph: Gap

Boyfriend jeans

What are they? Off-duty denim, essentially, with a #humblebrag name designed to incite disgust and rage, these are designed to look like men’s jeans – loose fit, wider ankle, low-rise – instead that they fit your ass a little snugger. Despite all this, these remain limpet-tight fixtures in the denim arena and one of the biggest shapes. From Whistles to MS to River Island and Topshop, who have been tub-thumping their own version for several years (arguably mainstreaming the whole look) and now sell them in around 16 shades.

We like Mih boyfriend jeans, £185, mih-jeans.com at Net-a-Porter.

Mid-rise boyfriend jeans, £195, mih-jeans.com made in humanity Photograph: made in humanity

Mom jeans

What are they? High-waisted and unequivocally unflattering, it’s thought the term “mom jeans” began life as a pejorative term in a Saturday Night Live sketch before becoming an actual trend courtesy of Topshop and Calvin Klein. Remarkable, really, given the shape, but there you go. This style is provoking a mixed response. Matches fashion are very pro: “we are seeing a good response to the ‘Mom’ jean” with Bliss and Mischief and Aries their key brands. Alyson Walsh, author of Style Forever: the grown-up guide to looking fabulous, takes more convincing: “Now that midlife has been reinvented, we are dressing to please ourselves and certainly not like our mums/moms. Also it’s fine to do this when you are young and being postmodern or ironic but not when you’re over 50.”

We like BDG mom jeans, £55, Urban Outfitters.

BDG Mom Jeans – Urban Outfitters urban outfitters Photograph: Urban Outfitters

Girlfriend jeans

What are they? Essentially piggybacking the whole trend in family-jeans, these are a slightly more feminine version of the boyfriend jean. With a higher rise, and slightly tighter fit, the vibe is more taller older sister. Heels, to our mind, are essential (otherwise you might end up with a pair of these).

We like Girlfriend jeans, £44.95, Gap.

Light wash distressed girlfriend jeans by Gap Photograph: PR company handout

Nephew jeans

What are they? Again, one of our own noms de plume, this time for boyfriend jeans that are so comically baggy, so teenage, they probably come with a packet of Rizla in the pocket – but are excellent nonetheless. Pair with white pumps or Swedish Hasbeens lest you be mistaken for a 14-year-old.

We like Topshop oversized ‘nephew’ jeans, £40, Topshop.com.

Topshop MOTO Oversized boyfriend Jeans – aka the nephew jean Photograph: Topshop

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