Not since the debut of the skinny jean has a fashion silhouette created so much intrigue! 70’s-inspired flared jeans, and their cousins culottes and wide-leg trousers, have been creeping into stores over the past year or so, and this fall, they’re everywhere. But since they’re literally the opposite of what women have been wearing for the last decade, they are confusing. Here’s how to get your flare right.
Look for a Higher Rise
Wider-leg bottoms have come in and out of style, but if the ones you’re wearing have an ultra-low rise, you’re going to look 2000 and late. Look for styles that button up all the way to your bellybutton. If you’re afraid of high-rise, note this: My staffers say it feels weird at first, but has pretty great sucking-in power once you get used to it. One note: If your waist isn’t your narrowest part, don’t tuck your shirt in—instead, wear a top that skims past your tummy. Medium Mid Rise Flare Jean, $80; express.com
Mind the Balance
Flares come in many styles—denim that’s skinny through the thigh but wider at the calf, trousers with pleats at the waist and lots of fabric through the legs, A-line culottes that stop mid-calf—the key is to know your body shape and choose your bottoms accordingly. Here’s a general rule of thumb: If you’re bigger on the bottom than on top, look for darker colors and slimmer cuts so you’re not adding too much volume. And when it comes to length follow the same rules for shorter styles that you would for a midi skirt: Choose a style that hits at your narrowest point, usually around the knee, for a flattering cut. Culottes, $60; zara.com
Change Your Shoes
I hate to tell you this, but you can’t tuck your flares into your knee-high boots (which is why, don’t worry, skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!). But you CAN hide some height under a wider leg pant, so pair them with platform sandals, clogs or, once it gets cooler, ankle-length boots with a stacked heel. For cropped styles, you want to lengthen the leg to balance the volume, like with a nude pump or strappy leather sandal. River Island 70s Blue Flare Jean, $76; asos.com.
Source: Clinton Kelly’s webpage: clintonkelly.com