Although I never stopped wearing my flares, they definitely took a back seat to skinny jeans for several years. They are back in a big way though, and I am celebrating! With the right fit, a flared-leg jean can be the most flattering item in your closet. They have a way of elongating the leg like nothing else. I think flares can work for most any body type, and I have a few tips for making sure you get the right pair.
Inseam — The length of flared jeans is the most important factor to consider. You want to make sure the hem just barely, almost but not quite, grazes the floor. Any longer, and they look bunched up and sloppy, breaking the long line of your leg. Any shorter, and your pants just look…well, too short! This is where a great tailor comes in handy. Unlike skinny jeans, which you can wear with just about any shoe in your closet, flares really should be hemmed to a certain heel length and look best worn with shoes of that height.
Rise — I also think a slightly higher waist looks best. I’m not talking about mom jeans with a 12″ zipper or anything too crazy! I just think it’s best to avoid the super low-rise jeans that were au courant about ten years ago. The higher waist contributes to that long line, effectively elongating your legs even more. It also gives you the option of tucking in your top. If your jeans are sitting low on your hips, your waist will all but disappear the moment you tuck in your shirt.
Fit — Indeed an essential component of any pair of jeans, proper fit is crucial to a great flare. When buying jeans, it’s important to note the amount of stretch in the fabric. This will help you decide if you need to size up or down. I generally prefer a more true denim feel, as opposed to a super stretchy jean, but that is just a personal thing. Also, with flares, they seem to look best when they are very fitted to the knee, with the break of the flare coming just below the knee.
Keep it Simple — In general, I am not a big fan of jeans with too much going on in terms of stitching on the pockets or down the leg. There are exceptions, but I feel like the most booty-flattering jeans keep it pretty simple on the pockets. Again, this helps avoid a break in the eye, keeping the line long and lean. It also keeps your look very classic and less likely to look dated in a few years. I have had the same pair of J. Brand Love Story flared jeans since before I had my son, and with their dark wash and simple styling, I feel like I will be able to wear them for another five or six years at least. The jeans I am wearing here, however, are the Jiselle fit by Seven For All Mankind, and I love their worn-in wash and plain pockets. Unfortunately, this style is mostly sold out, but Seven makes several other flares that are also great. One of my super stylish friends was wearing the Slacker by Mother the other night, and they looked amazing, and Frame is killing it right now with their flares!
Styling — Although flare jeans are a throwback to the bell bottoms of the Woodstock era, they are not limited to a hippie chic look. In fact, I think they are super versatile. You can never go wrong with a simple white t-shirt or tank, tucked in or half-tucked, worn with wedges. This look gives you the perfect blank canvas for adding fun accessories to personalize the look. I also love flares with a fitted blazer and pointy heels for a classic look that is a great staple for casual Friday. Or you can do as I have here and pair them with a rolled-sleeve, button-down and fringe crossbody bag for a more casual vibe.
Side note: This J. Crew chambray shirt is practically threadbare; I’m pretty sure I have not gone a week without wearing it somewhere since I got it a few years ago! Talk about getting my cost-per-wear money’s worth! It is still going strong though, and I love the denim on denim look!
Jeans: Seven For All Mankind, sold out (here, here, and here for similar) | Shirt: J. Crew | Bag: Nordstrom | Belt: Hermes (here for vintage option and here for less expensive option) | Booties: Vince (less expensive option here) | Earrings: Calypso, sold out (here for similar) | Cuff: here and here for similar | Bangles: here and here for similar | Ring: Madewell