As founder of Divalysscious Moms, a family event planning business in New York City, Lyss Stern has an enviable vantage point to observe the behavior of new mothers and their children.

One profound movement she has noticed is the preponderance of denim on both parents and children at every luncheon or book signing that she hosts. “Everyone is wearing denim,” Stern shares. “Jeans have evolved into the ‘it’ staple, not only in a mom’s wardrobe, but in her child’s as well.”

Fueling this denim legacy are today’s more casual lifestyles, the general acceptance of jeans in most venues and a decades-long history of jean evolution. All of these factors contribute to the Generation X and Generation Y moms embracing denim as an everyday garment for themselves and their children.

Moms Buy More Denim
No children
under 18 in
Children under 18 in household
Don’t Need, Won’t Buy 22% 26% 19%
Don’t Need, Might Buy 50% 50% 51%
Prob Buy Several Pieces 27% 24% 29%

Today’s young mothers own more denim and wear it more often than women who don’t have kids at home, reports the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™. Female respondents with children aged 18 or younger in their household currently own eight pairs of jeans on average, one pair more than their counterparts without children. The slightly higher ownership may be attributed to the fact that 81 percent of women with children prefer to wear jeans, rather than casual slacks.

“Moms love denim because it is the kidfriendly solution to dressing for four reasons: fashion, durability, easy care — which is a must for busy moms — and finally, the availability of fashion and mass market denim brands at various price points,” tells Stephanie Wong, an editor at Stylehive, a popular online fashion community. “Denim has become a staple of almost every American woman’s wardrobe and the same can be said for her children.”

Today’s stylish moms are definitely seeking that same fashionable edge and attention to detail in their children’s wardrobes that they demand in their own, as evidenced by the growing number of premium denim brands like Diesel and Paper Denim and Cloth entering the children’s market.

Pan Philippou, chief executive officer of Diesel, confirms that the most desired cuts and hues in their women’s line translate well into smaller silhouettes and resonate with shoppers. “Diesel offers our best-selling women’s styles, such as the Liv and Clush, for girls ten and under,” he says. “These are also available with washes and detailing found in our adult offerings.”

The premium denim brand Paper Denim and Cloth launched its children’s line, Baby Paper, in 2002. Kim Tuber, vice president of sales and marketing for the company says, “We apply the same techniques like whiskering and hand sanding to every pair of our children’s jeans, just like we do for adults.” Tuber is confident that today’s youngest consumers understand denim and love it for both its fashion and comfort. “My young nephew actually asks for his jeans by name and he will wear them several days a week,” she shares.

According to the Monitor, female respondents with children at home reported that they wear denim an average of five days a week. Expect that number to grow based on additional research that reveals four out of five women claim they “might” or “would probably” buy more pieces of denim in the near future.

Utility is yet another important component in the denim equation; ease of wear and care add up when considering an appropriate garment for a child.

“Denim is super durable, easy to care for, goes with everything and is a must-have staple for everyone,” says Philippou of Diesel. “Of course moms want their kids wearing it.”

Denim for kids is an obvious fashion choice for busy moms, due to its ubiquity at every level of retail. “You can find so many styles of denim and at so many places and different price points,” Stern says. She also adds that familiarity goes a long way with women when they shop. “Moms are buying brands that they know and trust for their kids.”

According to the Monitor, 43 percent of female respondents bought the same amount or more pairs of jeans when back-to-school shopping in 2006. These same respondents offered myriad reasons for buying more of their beloved denim; including more school-age children in the family, children outgrowing existing pairs, replacing worn out jeans and a basic need for more.

That growing need may stem from denim’s ability to transform nearly all other garments in a child’s wardrobe. “A pair of jeans goes with absolutely everything,” promises Tuber from Paper Denim. That unique ability translates into helping moms economize, which is a key consideration for most women. According to the Monitor, a nearly 90 percent of female respondents said price was critical to their decision to buy a garment.

Fashion, durability, easy care, wide availability and ability to dress up or down likely explains why today’s mothers are raising a new generation of denim-loving consumers and also confirms that Mom, indeed, knows best!

This story is one in a series of articles based on findings from Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ tracking research. Each story will focus on a specific topic as it relates to the American consumer and her attitudes and behavior regarding clothing, appearance, fashion, fiber selection and many other timely, relevant subjects.