EDITORIAL | History of Flared Jeans

Did you know that flared denim have a nautical influence? Well, read on for our Art of Denim post on History of the Flared Jeans.

The history of denim is rooted in workwear because of the sturdy and rugged material, similarly “flares” came about in the early 19th century as sailors wore wide-legged trousers as part of their naval uniforms. “Bell bottom pants were functional for the US Navy personnel allowing them to easily remove their boots. They were also easy to roll up and easier to take off if they became wet making them perfect for the Navy branch of the U.S. military.” (Bell Bottom Pants 1970’s)


Trendspotting: Hipster Sailors

So I guess even the most flamboyant style has a background in workwear too – form and function, who knew? We can’t blame the Flared Jean though, after all this is what comes into mind when you hear the word:


All sorts of wrong with this picture and i’m not just talking about the pants

Probably the most campy, and outrageous style which gets a lot of people cringing about their past fashion choices. But we’re here to learn, not laugh (okay, maybe a little) and figure out why this particular style just keeps coming back time after time.

60’s and 70’s

The swinging 60’s culture was all about colorful, loud and flashy fashion choices. Flares or “bell bottoms” ran rampant amongst minis, loud patterns and bowl cuts. “The 1960s ushered in an attitude of “anything goes” and reflected the shifting politics of the day. ‘Do your own thing’ applied to clothes as well.” (Mod Fashion, 2010) As we’ve learned already, music and movies play a big role in fashion, so it’s no surprise to see the biggest stars and celebrities of that time rocking the flared look.


Sonny and Cher. Fringe and Flares.

The most synonymous era for the Flared Jean, would be the 1970’s. Still fresh from the 60’s Summer of Love , the hippies stuck to this uniform as a way of protesting against the political and social conflicts happening during the time. Probably because it might have been too hard to practice “free love” with such binding jeans. Long hair, love beads and sandals was the stereotype that we are all too familiar with now. On the other side of the hippie culture, was also the groovy Disco crowd. Studio 54, John Travolta, Bee Gees, and the list goes on. Platform shoes, wide lapels and feathered hair would be what sets this group apart. There was no way of avoiding this trend regardless of what “scene”  you followed.


Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham


If I sound like a broken record, then so is fashion, because wouldn’t you know it, Flares have come back in style AGAIN. Thanks to stylists like Rachel Zoe and celebrities like Nicole Richie and Sienna Miller, boho-chic is has made it’s way into mainstream fashion. Vintage denim brands like MiH have gone back into their own archives and re-launched their uber-popular Marrakesh jean. Other brands also have their own signature Flare or “trouser” cut jeans and it’s proven to be a great alternative to casual office wear. The modern shapes and leg-lengthening styles provide more comfort to those who might have been scared off from their past predecessors. Fortunately, this trend has only hit back in women’s denim and has been a favourite for fashionistas who want to add more bells-and-whistles to their outfit.