Yes, they’re back. And they’re what we’re currently coveting.
Let’s go way back. Back to when flared pants first made an appearance — not in the world of fashion — but in the world of military uniforms. Just like the history of denim is rooted in work wear, so too is the history of flared pants, which were first worn by sailors in the US Navy in the early 19th century. Their wide openings allowed sailors to easily remove their boots, and they were easy to roll up and easier to take off if they became wet… Which was probably quite often given that they were worn by men on boats.
Once the 20th century came around, flared jeans took a little time off from the fashion world, making their big comeback in the ’60s and ’70s with the help of hippie counterculture and the groovy disco crowd. Everyone wanted to look like Sonny and Cher, Charlie’s Angels, and John Travolta… Who wouldn’t?
Then there was the early 2000s, when we all paired our flared jeans with Nike Shox (remember those?) and layered polo shirts. Extra points if your jeans didn’t have a back pocket, or if the back pocket was bedazzled with rhinestones. RIP aughts fashion. May you never come back.
Flared denim has always been around. And while you may have ditched your trusty flares for skinnies and boyfriends (the denim kind) in the past few years, you’ve never given them away. Because you know better.
This time around, they’ve been elevated to a level of sophistication that makes them the perfect wardrobe essential. They can easily be taken from day to night with the simple swap of a shoe and added accessory — and let’s all get real with our skinny-jean loving selves here — they’re way more universally flattering.
When shopping for a pair, remember two key rules.
- Buy one pair at first. Flared jeans are a bit of a trend at the moment, so pick the pair that look best on you in the dressing room and stick to them.
- Don’t be afraid to spend more for quality. Yes, we did just say flared jeans are more of a trendy purchase. But this is a trend that — without a doubt — will always come back.
Courtshop | Devon/Karma Jeans | $138
Normally we would advise you to stray from a light wash denim, unless you have Kendall Jenner’s legs or something. But when finished with a high waist and subtle flare, light wash denim gives a long, lean line to the body. We suggest topping the look with a tucked-in shirt to show of your tiny waistline.
Frame Denim | Le High Flare Trouser in Edgemont | $240
We love a good true blue wash — it never, ever goes out of style. Finish the look with a breezy top, as the tighter fit around the hips and thighs gives off a little allure (and shows off those buns you’ve been kicking into shape), and allows you to go looser on top without looking overwhelmed by your outfit. Pair the jeans with cognac heeled mules for a bit of a throw back, and to create a lean, mean, and slender silhouette.
Hudson | Taylor High Waist Flare in Rooftops | $198
We like to think of these dark wash Hudson jeans as our date night denim. They’re perfect for a week day date, as the blue-black finish is professional enough to wear to the office (no one will suspect a thing), but still casual enough for drinks. Just don’t forget to pack some sexier shoes to swap into and handbag that’s too small to carry your laptop. Yes, you can leave it in the car for just a few hours.
Mother | The Looker Crop Fray Jeans | $175
For a completely modern take on flares, go for a cropped pair that shows some skin. Ankle skinnies have been the go-to grab in our closets for the past few years, because they’re easy, versatile, and can be worn with flats or heels. Flared denim almost always requires extra height, but if you’re a “no way in heel would I ditch my flats” kind of girl, you can still incorporate the trend into your wardrobe with a cropped flare. No need to worry about bunching at the ankle.
Alexander Wang | Rave Jeans | $350
Channel your 90s middle school years with a modern take on JNCO jeans (you know the ones). The extreme flare is pretty high-fashion, so bring it back to earth with balanced proportions. Keep your top slightly fitted to keep those proportions in check, and don’t forget those heels! They are a must when it comes to elongating the leg, as bunching only makes your legs appear shorter. No thank you. The ideal length for flares is long enough to draw the eye alllllll the way down the leg, but short enough to avoid tripping. We always want to avoid tripping.