QUESTION: Phoebe, I really want to wear flares but don’t know how to style them! Have you got any ideas that could help me? Thanks, Ellie
A: How to wear flares with flare? A tricky question to say the least, and one that has left many a fashion follower baffled in the face of wearing them. Flares, or bell-bottoms, are a style of trouser or jean that becomes wider from the knee downward. American sailors were the first to adopt bell-bottoms in the 19th Century, due to their practicality in being able to snag a man who’d fallen overboard or to remove when wet.
They didn’t really take off as a general fashion item until the mid-1960’s, with celebrities like Sonny and Cher popularising them by wearing them when making TV appearances. Gaining popularity in the 1960’s, with stars like Twiggy, Jimmy Hendrix and Mick Jagger, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that flares really dominated the fashion world. Influential designers like Mary Quant and especially music groups, like Slade and ABBA, fuelled the trend, performing in flares and silver boots. One of the most successful groups to don flares were the Scottish band, the Bay City Rollers.
“A thin scarf draped around the neck allows you to stay true to the original seventies style, or big, statement jewellery pieces can really jazz up your look for a night on The Toon!”
Although the ‘70’s was definitely the hay day of the flare, they’re now back in a big way. As soon as Kate Moss rocked up to an event in a pair, they became the new must-have piece. For those of you who feel like flares aren’t for you, or maybe you think that you couldn’t pull them off, I’m going to change your mind. This is how to wear them.
As with any outfit, the number one rule is: if one half is loose, the other half must be tight. If you are rocking a flare, you need to be wearing something form-fitting on top. Show off that waist with a crop top, that sliver of skin on display, just enough to give you that sexiness but not too much to be deemed OTT. Either a crop top or a tight top is fine, something that shows off your figure. This will counteract the loose fitting flare and extra material you’ve got swaying around your ankles to give you a nice, balanced outfit. As we are in Newcastle and we need an extra layer to keep us toasty, adding a thick cardigan keeps your look Toon friendly. Sometimes something loose on the upper half can work too. Flares are tight around the thighs then get wider further down, so as a result, a loose crop top or baggy jumper can work with them.
A pair of heels ALWAYS look good with flares, whether casual heeled boots or a strappy high heel if you’re going out, because they add height and make your legs look longer. There is always a risk of looking dumpy wearing flares, particularly if you’re on the shorter side. A thin scarf draped around the neck allows you to stay true to the original seventies style, or big, statement jewellery pieces can really jazz up your look for a night on The Toon! These are just a couple of ways to wear your flares, but remember, the best accompaniment to flares is flare! You’ve got to wear them with confidence and with attitude. They were a seventies thing, and that lot didn’t give a damn about what anyone thought (let us not forget the florals). As long as you’re loving it and look like you’re loving it, you’ll pull off your flares, no problem.