The XX Factor

If You Like the Clear-Knee Mom Jeans, You’re Gonna Love These DIY Fashion Looks

Clear-kneed jeans for the clear-eyed fashionista.


Though conceptually baffling, you can’t accuse the so-called clear-knee mom jeans of being anything but self-explanatory: They are mom jeans—the tapered, high-waisted denim cut currently coming back into style among young and fashionable people, despite the kicking and screaming of the rest of the population not yet ready to embrace them—with see-through plastic panels over the knees. No one really understands the purpose of the see-through panels—harnessing solar energy?—but all the same, these jeans have crisscrossed the internet in recent days, becoming viral grist for news items at the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and others. Clearly, they’ve captured our collective imagination.

For those looking to get the “clear jeans, full hearts, can’t lose” look, one suspects that some Saran Wrap, an old pair of jeans, and scissors would be able to get the job done for cheaper than the $95 that Nordstrom and Topshop are charging. But why stop there? Shouldn’t more clothing and accessories contain elements made of useful noncloth household items? Read on for more Derelicte-meets–Project Runway do-it-yourself fashion suggestions.

Tatiana Flowers

Trash Peplum Top

A peplum, as a man once described it to me, is like a little skirt attached to your shirt or on top of your real skirt. Why is it there? What does it do? No one knows. As a wry statement about the bewildering nature of trends and unnecessary fabric, you should wear a peplum that’s made out of an actual trash bag. Just cut off the top of a garbage bage—there are a range of translucent to opaque blacks, whites, and tans to choose from—attach it to the bottom of your shirt, and voilà, you’re ready to go peplumster-diving.

Tatiana Flowers

Aluminum Foil–Elbow Patch Sweater

Aluminum foil keeps your leftovers fresh in the fridge … and now your elbows fresh on your sweater. The felt elbow-patch look is played out, so wearing patches that are made out of aluminum foil will ensure that you look less professorial and more makeshift robot.

Tatiana Flowers

Ankle-Peek Tights

That suggestive bit of leg hinge visible under the plastic panels of the clear-knee mom jeans has nothing on breaking the Victorian taboo of showing your ankles. Cover ‘em over with plastic wrap for that sexy, lookie-but-no-touchie-because-there’s-plastic-in-the-way glimpse of this forbidden feature.

Tatiana Flowers

Sandwich Bag–Pocket Pants

You’ve got nothing to hide (that the National Security Agency isn’t already aware of anyway), and that includes the contents of your pockets. So why not use some sandwich baggies instead? You can vary the size of bag you choose, from snack-size right on up to quart, based on the amount of junk in your trunk that day. Go for Ziploc if you want a little more security that the things you’re holding won’t fall out, or fold-top if you’re doing it more for the look.

Tatiana Flowers

Wax-Paper Cheerleader Skirt

Hang strips of wax paper from your skirt to look like pleats or one of those novelty skirts made of ties. Bonus: If you get a stain anywhere on the panels, you can just rip them off and replace them with another strip. Also helpful for various household projects that require you to have strips of wax paper at the ready, and conveniently nonstick for the hot summer months.