Let's talk about the Do's and Dont's for wearing Flares.
They had their time back in the 60's/70's and then again in the late 90's/early noughties and now they've bell-bottomed their way around once more, fiercer, bigger and with more options than ever before.
Flares always have a dark little cloud hanging over them though, don't they? A burning question that every woman (or brave ass man) wants to know the answer to...
'How the hell do I wear them?'
There has become such simplicity with whacking on a pair of skinny jeans - but when it comes to flares it doesn't seem as easy, does it?
Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm not sure that's 100% accurate. Clothes are made for us not the other way around. The magical thing about fashion is that there is no right or wrong - a personal style is just that: it's your taste, your comfort, your eye. And confidence will take you far further than any set of rules ever could. But with that being said, we're not born with a natural flare for everything (pun totally intended), sometimes we need some guidance, reassurance if you like - that we're doing the best we can with what we've got.
Basically...there is a flare out there for all of us.
So I've put together a little run through of some of the most common flare types, along with the body shapes that are most likely to suit them.
The Main Flare Styles
Bootcut: These aren't your standard flares, they're a little more understated. Normally they will taper to the knee with a slight kick at the bottom to cover your 'boot', hence the title. This style is best suited to Pear Shapes: being a little fuller on the hips, you want to even that out and opt for a flare that kicks out just slightly from the knee to hem. A bootcut type flare will help to balance out your middle, by adding proportion to the top half by adding width at the bottom of your legs with the flare.
Wide Leg/Palazzo Pants: Are cut with extremely loose fabric and unlike the others will be wide from hip to hem (love them). If you're an apple shape (all of the fruit in this post!) this style will work well. As this body shape is slightly heavier on the top half of the body, you really want to even this out with a fuller bottom half, which is why a full leg works so well.
Bell-Bottoms (or typical flares): A style that becomes much wider from the knee to the hem. These suit Hourglass Shapes: That's me! (I know, shock horror, but being an hourglass doesn't mean you have to be Kim Kardashian). Basically, if your hips align pretty accurately with your shoulders then you're an hourglass. It means you go in at the waist and with this style you can go for a typical bell-bottom flare. You'd be best to opt for a high-waist that extenuates your middle, I always find a statement belt helps to set off this look really well too.
Straight Trouser: With this style you're looking at a slightly wider leg - a compromise between a bell-bottom and a palazzo. This style is fitted on the top with a flare at the bottom but the cut isn't as structured. The flare is far more subtle and the style as a whole is a lot more casual. For a rounder body shape, (aka a little more weight around the tummy and bigger boobies) you want to opt for a straight cut and mid-rise with your jeans. This will help to balance out your top and bottom half more equally.
If your body is pretty much straight up and down you're in the money when it comes to flares. Any style will suit your body shape, just play about and see what you prefer! And of course this is just a rough guide, any body can wear any thing, but it's nice to have a starting point in what can be a quite daunting situation.
Finding Your Perfect Pair
Mine are these Bell-Bottom Beauties.
HAVE A GOAL.
It's important to know what you actually want from the jeans, before you start shopping for them. Now with jeans in general, for me, it's all about the fit. Being on the slim side, I usually struggle to find a jean that sits tightly enough on the waist whilst still maintaining a tight grip on my thighs and butt. Not only is this pair ticking both those boxes (because they're flares and that's the way they're cut, duh), it has a really happy mix between sturdy denim and stretchy fabric. They have the toughness you want from a pair of jeans without the uncomfortable stiffness you can find with some denim and the little added extra of stretchiness means you can move without getting a baggy butt (I mean, it's important though, right?).
Having a pair of jeans that fit properly gives you confidence to wear them with pride. I've gone for something completely basic with this outfit - going along with the 70's theme but keeping it current. It's quite important when wearing flares that you don't get lost in the 'hippy' element. You can totally rock a pair of bell-bottoms without looking like an all out Almost Famous extra - unless that's what you're in to, of course.
With any type of flare, make sure you take a pair of shoes with you to try them on - or if you're ordering online, take a look on Pinterest for inspiration of what shoes might look best with the style you've decided on. That way you'll be able to better understand what length will suit you and you won't be disappointed when you get them home and they're ankle bashers rather than toe touchers (or vice versa).
DON'T BE AFRAID.
A flared jean helps elongate the leg and typically, any type of flare will look better with a heel. Hell, they're probably the most flattering jeans ever.
If you're going for a standard flare/bell-bottom look (like the one I'm wearing) you want the bottom of the flare to skim the floor, not be draping along gathering dust or sitting too high above the ankle. However if you're super small in height a cropped pair of flares would suit you far better and help add those imaginary inches those shorties dream of.
Don't be scared to try different styles, regardless of recommendations. It's all trial and error, but understanding your body will undoubtedly help you feel more confident when it comes to making the decision.
Because whether we're talking flares or not, jeans are an important staple and once you feel right, you'll never go back.
I hope you found this helpful - and if you need a top up I teamed up with the loves at Marks and Spencer, after taking to Twitter to find out your #DenimSOS woes and from that, we've worked out some ways to nudge you out of your denim blues. Check out the Denim Style Guide here for more information on how to find the right jeans for you!
This post is in collaboration with Marks and Spencer but all views are my own.