The ’70s is here to stay, and nothing says that more than the enduring appeal of flare jeans.
Gucci, Celine and Valentino are just some of the luxury brands that have championed those breezy bell bottoms for several seasons now. What’s not to love? As noted in our ultimate guide to jeans, flares balance out the curvy figures of those with a pear or hourglass body shape, while adding volume to those with a slender frame.
There are just as many ways to wear flare jeans as there are body types that they flatter. Whether you’re looking to channel disco decadence, or toughen up with a grungier ensemble, the versatile denim style has a scope as wide as its hem. Below, we look to outfits by Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and more for style inspiration.
How to wear flare jeans
Add a little disco flair
One of the reasons that bell bottoms were big in the ’70s was because they allowed the freedom of movement, especially when dancing at the disco. That glamorous decade is one that Bella Hadid often refers to, especially in this look where she masterfully pairs her flares with a retro halter-neck top. The model also adds some bling by way of her layered necklaces, but you can do so with a crystal chain belt, too.
Bet big on your belts
Feel like dressing down in your denim flares? You can effortlessly spruce up your look with a statement belt, a styling trick that Kendall Jenner employed for her laid-back, all-black ensemble. The bigger the buckle, the better. And there are lots of styles to choose from, be it the Instagram-favourite Gucci GG belt, the classic Hermes H belt, Loewe’s elegant Anagram belt or the utilitarian one by Prada.
Opt for a cropped pair
If you have a petite figure, you can avoid being dwarfed by your bell bottoms by choosing a cropped pair with a high rise. They are a godsend for those of us who aren’t blessed with height or long legs like Gigi Hadid. You’ll find that their higher hems will let you show off your favourite Tabi boots, too.
Don double denim
The denim-on-denim combo is not just reserved for iconic red carpet moments from the 2000s. In recent years, fashion’s biggest style stars have fine-tuned the look into something sophisticated, like Kaia Gerber does here. Refined yet relaxed, the outfit relies heavily on a pair of jeans with a darker wash — like these new flares designed by Levi’s. Inspired by the brand’s archival designs, the ’70s High jeans are made to look and feel just like an authentic vintage pair. Throw on a some block heel boots to let everyone know you mean business.
Flaunt those florals
Channel your inner flower child and go for a pair covered in blooms, whether through a light-wash print or intricate embroidery like those seen on Milanese influencer Erika Boldrin. Styled with, say, a pink tee, you can easily turn the ’70s staple into one that would fit into a chic 2000s wardrobe.
Sure, bell bottoms were a staple at Woodstock, but they could just as easily appeal to those who like a heavier sound. As Kourtney Kardashian demonstrates, a little distressing immediately transforms them into an edgy pair that will look best with an old-school band tee and Dr Martens boots. If you’d like to take your look to a pop-punk direction instead, be sure to add a studded belt.
Couple them with clogs
Ah, clogs. Those clunky shoes from the aughts are now trending, and their return couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks to their chunky heels and wooden soles that nicely complement denim blues, the slip-on shoes are actually the ideal footwear for flares. That’s especially true of jeans with sweeping hems, like those seen on Zendaya. Choose a faded pair if you’re going for a similar vintage vibe.
Layer with grounding browns
On cooler days, you can count on the classic combination of camel coat and blue bell bottoms to keep you warm. If a coat is too heavy, there are other options: we’ve often seen Kaia Gerber in a brown check blazer, while Celine has dressed its models in corduroy jackets. For a modern update, be sure to add accents of white to your outfit, whether through your shoes (sneakers would look great!) or your bag of choice.
Header photo credit: Getty Images