Musing: Why new flared jeans aren't for me... yet.

I've been excited about the return of flared jeans. I love how long my legs look in them, especially when I wear monster platforms hidden in the flare, and I love that DH thinks they make me look slim. I had tons of fun wearing bootcuts and flares in college! I'm dying to recapture that feeling. 

But I'm in a bit of a different place with my style right now. I'm always a tomboy at heart, and right now I'm not into running with 70s-influenced surfer dudes or bohemian/maximal glam rockers. Also, on a professional level, the "boyfriend" brands I'm supposed to reflect at work aren't showcasing many flared options, either. Not yet, anyway. 

I'm sure I'll come back to flared/bootcut jeans. They were so prevalent for so long that they are bound to saturate the market again, and hopefully there will be some modern/artsy/minimal guys out there wearing them and inspiring me. When that happens, I'll happily part with a few clams. 

There is a part of me that thinks that I "should" pounce on the trend right as it is emerging, to "prove" that I Know Fashion Things. But For now, I'm thinking I'll spend on other things, keep one lonely old denim pair at home, wear my classic flared wool trousers, and wait for the right time to strike. 

*cough* But if you come across any great manspiration flare photos, you know where to send 'em. ;)

I remember Denise saying she returned the flares she bought. Is anyone else having a hard time recreating the magic? Anyone else out there not interested unless the boys are wearing a version? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Good thoughts. If I can make these UWP or tough them up, I am desperate for a new silhouette (and my intermix order still has not sipped!). But I want to be careful not to compromise especially because these will be seasonal and difficult to find in a good fit.

    Your feedback will be vital!

  • ManidipaM replied 7 years ago

    Not waiting for the boys but feeling unsure for myself. I am more drawn to MORE volume like harems or all-wide legs or midi skirts, or else streamlined skinnies or leggings. Straight legs yes... but the fit and flare of flares is not feeling right for me yet... though I hew 70s all the time... but maybe it's just that I am a late adopter.

    Then again I am a bit bored of my red skinnies too... they feel dated to me...

  • rabbit replied 7 years ago

    Sounds like well thought out reasoning to me.  Flares for me didn't have much appeal the first time around although I enjoyed baby bootcuts.  The boys I see are all wearing high water single turn up jeans with interesting socks or Red Wing heritage boots.  And so much facial hair.... BTW did anyone notice the menswear in the Bally show Angie shared?  Beards!

    I think knowing when you want to be ahead of a wave, ride it, or sit it out is apart of knowing and being comfortable with yourself.  I think the stakes can seem higher when you work in the industry, but the general principle probably still holds true.

  • deb replied 7 years ago

    I understand you hesitation. Really if an item will not work for your current lifestyle and with the other pieces in your closet, there is not need to jump on the band wagon. I feel that way about the Birkenstock sandal look.  It just does not work with my closet.

  • Janet replied 7 years ago

    Interesting! I haven't jumped back in, but I've been in style no-man's-land lately, in grungy old ranch gear.

    Now that I'm back home, I've started eyeing my denim collection and wondering about a refresh. I think at least one of my colored jeans will go away, maybe both. I never connected deeply with them anyway.

    I've been wearing the heck out of my straights because I can roll them up to show booties or accommodate different heel heights. Flares are trickier because the length needs to be perfect, so the shoe combination has to be much more deliberate.

    I'm intrigued with the idea of a new flare jean for me in a lighter wash, but that also makes me nervous because I feel like those lighter washes make my thighs look even bigger than they are. I suppose I'll just have to try them!

    As for manspiration, I've got to say that I've never taken what the guys are wearing as a fashion cue! But now that you mention it, I can see that makes sense, given your style. Still, to play devil's advocate, does that feel limiting to you? After all, I've never seen a guy in a tube skirt and you rock those.

  • Diana replied 7 years ago

    Hmm, I have been thinking along similar lines, that they may be too boho for my style these days. But maybe I'm still stuck thinking about the way we wore them last time around. For now though I'll stick to my 2 pairs of classic bootcuts.

  • ramya replied 7 years ago

    I just can't wear them. I am ok wearing Harem pants so it's not the volume. Something about the extra fabric around my ankles isn't working for me.

  • gryffin replied 7 years ago

    Rae - I don't wear true flares.  At 5'3" rectangle I think it's too much volume for me.  But my bootcuts have been my nod to this trend.  I always think what would Theory show?  A cropped fitted jacket, severe tailoring, think almost corsetted styling to the jacket with a slim flare with a high heeled black suede ankle bootie - like the SW yola's, black of course!!  Kind of like Xmen 2, Lady Deathstrike at the white house look.  That's how I see this in my mind's eye! 

  • viva replied 7 years ago

    I've been thinking a lot about this, and I predict that I will end up with you, Rae. I really like the slim bootcuts I tried on last week. Although they will require heels they don't feel as girly as I think flares might. I'm keeping the tags on for one more week just in case during the Boston meetup I fall in love with flares -- but in truth, it would be a huge change for me ... I have never been that girl! Even in the 70s, I was wearing straights with button downs (preppy tomboy, not surfer girl or glam rock). So we shall see.

    Since I don't jump on every trend I am completely fine letting this one pass me by, and since these bootcuts are new (and most people gave them the thumbs up) I feel confident they are modern enough even if they are not cutting edge. I've never really been that girl either.

  • Neel replied 7 years ago

    Why am I wearing flares?! By what you girls describe I don't even fit into that style descriptor .... Hmmmmm.... Mostly! Definitely not boho .... Girly may be.

    My flares are not jeans. May be that makes it a bit different. I think of flares with corset style tops too gryffin! Hi five! There's something sexy about that combo and I like that!

  • Lisa replied 7 years ago

    This struck a cord with me Rae. "There is a part of me that thinks that I "should" pounce on the trend
    right as it is emerging, to "prove" that I Know Fashion Things."

    I think knowing trends as far as what is of the moment, is great.  But to prove one really knows fashion, for me, that means the individual knows THEIR personal style and knows how to and when to incorporate the latest trend so that it works for them.  Just grabbing a new item because it is 'on trend' without considering how it will fit into one's personal style, is not knowing fashion for oneself, at least to me.  The fact that you are waiting until you are ready to incorporate flares into your wardrobe, suggests to me that you truly do know fashion. :)

  • Janet replied 7 years ago

    I don't think flares necessarily = boho. Angie is our strong evidence here, since she just bought those Love Story jeans and she is not boho at all. I can't wait to see her outfits with those jeans.

    I can imagine wearing flares in a sleek, modern way -- jacket, tee, pointy-toe shoes. I like a little boho touch here and there, but I definitely don't plan to style flares in an overtly boho way.

  • Adelfa replied 7 years ago

    I've never liked them. I've worn them at different times in my life when they seemed like one of the only options. So I won't say I won't wear them again, but it will be a kicking and screaming situation, where I almost have to to avoid being the biggest dork ever.

    Your situation is different as you like them but don't feel they work for you. I think you are at a point where, though you're very good at analysis, intuition is driving your purchases. And your intuition is saying "probably someday but not now." Which is fine, at least it's a clear message!

  • gryffin replied 7 years ago

    Rae - thought you might check enjoy the link.  These are baby boot cuts but I don't see why you could not do this with flares.   I actually think they'd have worked better with such a high heel.  But that's just me!!  Wendy always manages to rocker up even her prettiest looks.

  • texstyle replied 7 years ago

    I "rescued" a pair of slight flares I had in the purgatory box and since I've lost a few pounds they fit really nice again. They aren't big flares, and not all that tight on the upper leg, but I think they still count. I'm not really sure if I can style them right to make them work for me. And now it seems the weather may heat up too quickly to even want to try. But if I were going to try, it would be with a simple white or ivory tank under a soft knit blazer, belt to match blazer and a long simple pendant and slight heeled sandals that match the belt and blazer color. And my ivory and black trim satchel. Basically I think I would want the jeans to be the only 70's influenced item in the outfit.

  • Suzanne (ambergreen) replied 7 years ago

    On this subject, I completely agree with Janet (and texstyle). I will be wearing them, but I will not style them in a "boho" way; neither do I care to
    reproduce a 70s vibe. If the latter happens by accident, fine, but it's
    not a goal.

    I feel the same way about the current Birki trend. To me, part of the
    whole point of them right now is how they work juxtaposed with modern
    looks, not the expected boho thing.

    I'll wear flares/bootcuts because I think they work for my hourglass shape and they are better with some shoes than skinnies are. Plus, I like having a variety of silhouettes to choose from. However, I won't be spending a whole lot in this area. Frankly, if I do add any to those I already have, they are more likely to come from resale stores as so many people thought they were on their way out after the last couple of revivals.

    I'm intrigued that you might be looking for men wearing them...I never saw many men wearing them over the last decade while they were huge for women. My husband actually had some when I met him, though, and they looked *incredibly* cute on him. I don't think he'd wear them again, much as I might like him to...oh well. :)

  • Marmee replied 7 years ago

    Your reasoning is so well thought out. I suspect though, that we will see you in them in the not too distant future, perhaps on one of your days off?

  • CocoLion replied 7 years ago

    My experience was this.  The flare and bootcut trend was big for a long time, from 1995 until 2012.  There was a big surge of Boho 70s style in 2011/2012, I see that as the last wave of this style.

    To wear them again, I couldn't figure out a way to make them different enough, to look 2014 not 2007.  Looking 2012 isn't so bad, I look 2012 on a regular basis (a year I purchased many clothes).  But if I invest in a new style I want it to look different, not like it might be a touch dated.

    It's kind of like Mom jeans (still buying multiple pairs to get the right fit).  There's a fine line between fashion mistake and cool intention.

    However, having said all of this I have my last pair of flares (purchased 2011) that I am planning on experimenting with this season, if I can get in the mood to be stylish again.

    Right now the thing I am looking into is higher rises, in all silhouettes.  I am discovering I have a very specific number of inches that work, too long and I get the creases/folds around the crotch.

  • rae replied 7 years ago

    Janet, I hear you about tube skirts - also high heels, handbags, makeup... all which I love. But there's just something about denim that cries out to me as integral to my tomboy element. Maybe that's why I feel just fine wearing my trousers with a flare right now, but not my denim? 

    RE: the Birkenstock comparison - and I'll use Mom jeans as another example - I feel that there is very clearly a New Way to Wear Them, making them feel fresh. You'll remember that I didn't like the literal "vintage mom jean" interpretation, and I am not about to wear Birks with overalls and ditsy floral dresses. I feel like I have not yet grasped a New Way to Wear Flares. 

    Diana, yes! Still thinking about the old way... need to see what the new way is and whether or not I like it!

    Ambergreen, although I agree that men didn't wear them much the last time they were around, they were huge in the 70s... and at that time, I liked the idea of dressing like a 70s rock star. 

    Gryffin, thanks for the pic! I do like her asymmetrical top. Food for thought. And I know this is not what you meant, but now I want pants/jeans with a lace-up corset front closure. I liked your idea of looking to a specific designer, so I looked up the Theyskens show for SS... maybe a fluid fabric is the answer and I should not worry about denim?

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    My feelings are running like Manidipa's... Flared jeans are not calling to me. Harems and skinnies are where my head's at. I wouldn't mind a pair of flared trousers, however... but still, that wouldn't say "the height of fashion" to me either. Straight jeans are up next for me, if I ever tire of skinnies.

  • pastrygirl replied 7 years ago

    Gryffin -- oh wow! I have that same tunic from the Wendy's Lookbook link (or very, very similar, also BCBG but in black) but haven't worn it yet because I have no idea what to do with it, with that flowing tail. I'll have to try it with my bootcuts!

    I have to say that I'm puzzled by this thread (and others like it), because I didn't realize flares and bootcuts had ever disappeared. I got my newest bootcuts last summer and have been wearing them all winter. I'm always inclined to dress them up rather than go boho/70s. 99% of the time I wear them with a blazer. But maybe that's a very 2012 look? I don't know.

  • Suzanne (ambergreen) replied 7 years ago

    Oh, sure, I know everyone wore them in the 70s...I was there. :) I thought it was so interesting though that they didn't revive so much for men when they did for women and I was really quite surprised to find my guy with a pair in 2003 when we met. Even though a lot of us had a reaction to the 70s back in the day and bell bottoms were out for a long time, yes, they can be quite flattering on a lot of people, including men!

    Personally, I think there could be magic when we add updated things we love to the flares and skew away from a head-to-toe retro 70s look, even though I'd expect the latter to be pushed to the juniors who have never worn it (maybe not even *seen* it) before (bring on the buckskin and fringe and floppy hats...ugh).

    Which is not to say that anyone should wear them if they're not feeling it. There are LOTS of current trends I won't be following, and I am so OK with that. Own what you love, leave what you don't. :)

  • rachylou replied 7 years ago

    ETA: Had to come back to say I think, tho, it was Firecracker who had the outstanding flared jeans and sweater outfit yesterday. I don't know why it would be fresh on Firecracker and not on me, and yet there you have it. I think that's the way it would be.

  • EveningMood replied 7 years ago

    I was never a flare girl, and I'm not feeling the bootcuts either right now. I feel too short for real flares, and I might have purged all the tops that went with bootcuts along with those that went with skirts. I'm glad I have my BF's!

  • gryffin replied 7 years ago

    Rae I have a soft spot for corsets, well steampunk anything.  If I could find the right one I would buy in a heartbeat.  I like you thought and I do think it's all in the styling!  You have an awesome touch.  If you decide to try it, I am sure you will rock this style as brilliantly as ever!!  So many choices, we can't have everything!!  But no rush, I don't think we'll see this go anywhere soon, skinnies have been hot for so long there was bound to be rebound!

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

     (Thank you, Janet).

    FWIW, I'm not a '70s influenced surfer dude or a bohemian glam rocker, and I love my new flared jeans. I've thoroughly enjoyed making them work within my style descriptor, which you'll see and hear more about this week.They feel so elegant, ladylike and "new" to me right now.  I've recreated the magic and had fun along the way - which is the most important part in all of this. Now all I need to do is move to a drier city so that I can wear them more often. 

    Rae, there is plenty of time to flirt with flares later. I'll flirt for you this season. xo

  • cciele replied 7 years ago

    Manspiration flare photos! Now that's an interesting idea. I shall be on the lookout for you (and myself) :)

    As far as flares go .... well, actually I've never stopped wearing my CoH Huttons from 2010(?). I mean, 95% of the times I'm wearing boyfriends or slouchy skinnies, but occasionally I feel a bit boho/70s and break out the Huttons. So my challenge is to see if I can update the flares for 2014 look (to Denise's point). But I will still definitely be wearing them in the boho style when the mood strikes :)

  • Thistle replied 7 years ago

    So, I bought a pair somehwere between botocut and flares. Not quite flares, but more volume to me than botocuts.

    I wore them to the grocery store with some very almond toed booties and thought I looked pretty darn good  :)

    I have never loved the 70s look. Probably because I didn't live through it, or maybe because my parents didn't give up their 70s duds until the 90s. And I would not describe myself as boho.

    Still, fashion is supposed to be fun, and if you aren't feeling it, wait until you are :)

  • DonnaF replied 7 years ago

    What I would really like are navy sailor pants -- 13 button, wool, and maybe the corset back to tighten the waist.  Like the guys (sailors) wear.  Like I had in the '70s.  Maybe they're more wide leg than flare; I altered mine to fit so I don't remember.  I also saw online a pair of clompy TopShop sandals similar to the ones I had then. . .So tempted. . .

  • cciele replied 7 years ago

    DonnaF, I remember having Chemin de Fer jeans in the 70s! Wish I still had them, although I doubt I could still wear them.

    Apparently the son of the Chemin de Fer founder has started up his own line, de Chemin:

  • Suzanne (ambergreen) replied 7 years ago

    Wow, DonnaF, also a blast from the past for me. I used to wear my mom's navy wool sailor pants with the button panel just like that in the 70s. As I remember, she had bought them in Europe in the 60s. I also wore her authentic Breton wool marinière sweater for many years until it was just too damaged. Aww.

  • Aida replied 7 years ago

    Hm what about treating them as the "juxtaposed" element in an otherwise current-Rae outfit, similar to how a biker jacket looks fab juxtaposed against an all-classic look? As others have said, no need to rush right into them. If you're not feeling them, you're not feeling them. For myself, I'm not feeling my baggier/boyfriend pairs; I'd really like to get a pair that's more fitted through the thigh, similar to the ones Angie bought. Maybe with a bigger flare. But then, I do have the glam rock 70s chick gene ;)

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    Update: I tried the Mother jeans and wow, they are up to my neck! They are beautiful but I would lose way too much flare hemming them and the break would be wrong. I am expecting a petite pair in the mail also...

  • Diana replied 7 years ago

    Just saw this outfit on Keiko Lynn. I like it - still has a 70s feel but not boho at all.

  • Vildy replied 7 years ago

    well, strangely enough, in the perpetual clothing swap some of my friends have going on was a pair of flares/bell bottom jeans. I laughed but tried them on and loved them. They're darker wash with some "wear" on the seam lines.
    Waist hits me just below navel, I think, and has a wide band closed with 3 rivet buttons off to side front. The bottom hems are wide and I decided I liked them turned up into a cuff. They're not, on me, a tight fitting thigh but are more skimming and, at five feet tall, I quite like the 25 inch leg opening. I don't want my entire shoe covered, nor to wear very high heels with platforms underneath. Just a simple mid high heel is fine and I like the toe showing out. Who'da thunk it?  I would have thought the excess fabric would bother me but it doesn't at all, maybe partly owing to the bit of extra weight the cuffing gives it.

  • MsLuna replied 7 years ago

    I think that to really embrace a trend, you have to be in the right (emotional) mindset for it. It's ok not to jump on the trend if it's not reflective of how you feel currently. :)

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