Flared Jeans or bellbottoms as your parents might know them are back and better than ever. Becoming mainstream in the ’70s during the hippie era, flare jeans or bell bottoms made a comeback in the ’90s and early 2000s, disappeared and are now back again but are they back for good?
Flare Jeans: A History
These jeans are known to be worn by hippies during the ’70s but actually go back further than most people would think to sailors in the navy in the 19th century.
Flare Jeans Of The 19th Century
The purpose of these wide-legged pants in the 19th century was so that sailors could get their boots on and off easier so that the pants could be rolled up if they got wet and so the sailors could be pulled onboard more easily if they went over-board.
Sailors of the navy actually wore this style of pants until the late 90s right after they became fashionable again.
Flare Jeans Of The 70s
Ironically flare jeans became mainstream fashion when anti-war hippies of the ’60s and ’70s started shopping at thrift and army surplus stores that carried this style of pants.
Hippies rejected everything in mainstream culture including clothes and stores where most people would shop. No longer conforming to society’s expectations, hippies steered away from shopping at department stores that their parents’ generation would shop at and looking for fashion and clothes in unexpected places which led them to buy and wearing this style of pants from the army surplus stores.
Hippies would decorate their flare pants and other clothes from the army surplus stores with flowers and peace signs to protest the war despite these style of pants and other clothes origins. The hippies redecorating of used army clothes was a form of rebranding army style clothing to protest the military and make a statement about how this generation felt about the war.
Soon wearing flare pants became a symbol of the counterculture movement that was going on at the time of the war.
Flared jeans were starting to be worn by everyone in every country even by celebrates, movie and rock stars alike, despite their purpose of rebelling against mainstream culture.
Designers began making these jeans ignoring the stigma they might have surrounding the war and the pants that were created to protest mainstream culture became mainstream.
Flare Jeans of the 90s
The trend of flare pants went away and made a brief return in the ’90s and early 2000s but with a less dramatic flair and cultural impact and was mostly worn by women.
The Flare Jeans Of Today
Like many fashion pieces that are popular today, flare jeans have made a comeback and are now mainstream again. Many styles of the ’80s and ’90s are making a comeback but the comeback of flared jeans is either making people confused or adding another must-need item for their closet.
Slim cut jeans have been the most popular style of pants for the past 20 years but flare jeans or bell-bottoms are starting to pop-up again from the runway to appearing in retail stores all over the US.
The flare jeans that are popular right now are more similar to the flare pants of the ’70s with a wider flare that extends closer to the knee and a high waist unlike the hip-hugger boot cut jeans of the ’90s.
The flared jeans of today can be dressed up or down depending on the look you’re going for. Many people wear them with heels and a blazer to dress them up or a loose-fitting t-shirt and wedge sandals to dress them down.
Most of the Flare jeans today are high-waisted, they pair nicely with a tucked-in shirt or bodysuit and heel boots.
Wearing flared jeans with your favorite heel boots or wedges will elongate and slim your whole frame making you look like the model flower child of your dreams.
Flare jeans are perfect for every season as they can be worn with a button-up over-coat and boots or a silky camisole and sandals.
How To Wear Them
Not sure if you can pull off this look but are dying to be apart of the buzz? Here are some flare jean looks for inspiration:
Go for a casual look with some flat-healed boots and a tied button-up like @masonoglesby in this post:
Wear a pair of flare jeans in true 70s rockstar fashion by pairing them with your favorite graphic tee and heel boots like @boymominjeans in this post:
Or dress them up with heels and a blouse like @the_olivia_style in this post:
Celebrities That Wear Them
Flare jeans are now all the rage again and celebrities like Jessica Alba, Hiedi Klum, and Bella Hadid can be seen everywhere wearing flare jeans in different fashions and looks.
Bella Hadid is seen everywhere wearing flare jeans and makes them look so chic here with a black belt, V-neck and heels:
Heidi Klum makes flared jeans look so effortless and casual with a big black tote, loose-fitting tee, and sandals.
Jessica Alba looks like a true flower child pairing her flare jeans with an oversized white tank-top, over-the-shoulder sued satchel and cat-eyed sunnies.
Where To Find Them
Flared jeans are now sold everywhere from Forever21 to Free People in different styles and price ranges for any look or budget. Here are three of our favorites:
Similar to the Jeans Heidi Klum and Jessica are pictured wearing, these super flare jeans from Free People pair nicely with a loose-fitting tank-top or tee and booties.
These Flare Jeans from 7 For All Mankind can be worn with a bodysuit or slim-fitting tucked-in tee and heels.
Or if you’re on a budget but have to get the flare jeans look, we recommend these high-rise flare jeans from Target that will look amazing with a button-up blouse and heel boots.