Boring outfit? Add a little flare

Skinny jeans and tight-fitting leggings have overtaken the fashion industry for the last decade but with the comeback of flared pants, even jeans and a t-shirt can become a statement outfit.

Flared pants were initially a part of navy uniforms. Their exaggerated hemlines were thought to be for functional purposes, like being able to easily roll up the pant leg. But youths in the 1960s made the military trend their own when they purchased the pants at military surplus stores. They did so for two reasons, one, to eschew the growing commercialism that the 1950s ushered in, and two, as a way to show anti-war sentiment.

Gaining popularity in the 1970s, the flare pant was much like the hair of the decade: the bigger the better. Then called “bell bottoms,” flare pants were worn by many trendsetters including Cher, Mick Jagger, and Jimi Hendrix. Many musicians took up the style which featured fitted fabric from the hip to the knee and then a flared hemline.

However, flared pants didn’t last very long as punk bands, who influenced pop culture at the time, started to favor pants with leaner silhouettes.

In the mid 2000s, skinny jeans flooded the market and became so trendy that many memes and stereotypes were developed based on this fashion choice. After years of being stuck with only figure-hugging pants options, flares offer a welcome reprieve.

Now, model and fashionista sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, are bringing the trend back in a major way.

Gigi Hadid has paired her flares with a cropped sweatshirt, a suede coat, and a black sleeveless bodysuit. Bella Hadid has worn hers with a collarless fur jacket, a lace camisole, and tie-up crop tops.

But this style is not just for those at the forefront of fashion. Retail giants Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, and Topshop have all hopped on the trend, allowing anyone to up their style game with this whimsical piece.

Flared pants offer more than a style change up. They can balance out the hips, make legs look miles long and steal the show simply by tucking in a t-shirt. Flares also have the ability to make anyone look more put together, and go perfectly with your favorite pair of boots or heels.

When worn with floaty peasant tops, flares can be an homage to the free-love vibes of the 1970s. Paired with a button-down blouse, flares evoke a laid-back businesswoman look. With a loose knit sweater, your style says “autumn in the city.” Lastly, flared jeans and a t-shirt become effortlessly chic and weekend-ready when worn together.

With the ability to be casual and dressy, Sunday afternoon and black-tie appropriate, this style is bound to stay for a while. I’m predicting that this re-emergence of wider silhouettes has an effect not just on pants, but on tops, outerwear and dresses as well. In order to differentiate themselves from others, I can see retailers mixing a bit of 1970s style with 1990s embellishments in the form of beading, embroidery and possibly patches on flares in the future. When all is said and done, the future of flares is looking as wide as its hemlines.