It’s controversial, but also oh so flattering.
These days, you blink and there’s a new denim trend. One minute skinny jeans are out and super baggy is in. The next? Boot-cut is all the rage. It’s hard to keep up, but as someone who’s extremely denim obsessed, I must. I’ve tried just about every style over the years. But one silhouette that I’ve always steered clear from? Flares.
The thought of those ’70s-style bell-bottoms has always felt too cartoonish or retro for my own taste. Don’t get me wrong, I love the style—but any time I’ve tried on a pair, I’ve felt like I was wearing a Halloween costume or cosplaying as Mick Jagger. However, as we’re stepping into the new year, I’m tasking myself to dress outside my comfort zone (call it a style resolution), and wide-leg jeans are now at the top of the list. Lucky for me, the recent runways and street style scene prove that flares can work on just about anyone in 2022, whether in a casual or dressy context.
Where flared jeans were once associated with groovy, hippie-dippie style, they’re now a more sophisticated and polished denim option—the perfect alternative for overcoming my fear of looking like an extra in Saturday Night Fever. For spring 2023, for instance, Celine paired flares with sleek moto jackets; Altuzarra’s wide-leg jeans were styled with a cropped jacket and white blouse, striking the right combo between elegance and ease; and Dior even showed flares with a simple neutral tank, allowing the pants to shine totally on their own.
Style flared jeans with pieces with sharper structure instead of a cliché crochet or velvet top. A more minimalist top makes them feel way more mature and slick—not so kitschy. Recent street style photos prove the look is super wearable too. At the Pitti Uomo shows this past summer, photographer Style du Monde captured two stylish attendees who nailed flares this way: One wore them with a color-block button-up, the other a print vest and white tee. At the Copenhagen shows in August, another style star paired her flares with a heeled boot for height and piled on a denim jacket with a cinched waist. Again, the key here is structure on top!
Suddenly, bell-bottoms don’t seem so scary after all. If you, like me, have a long-standing apprehension about floor-grazing jeans, now’s the time to try them out. There’s a bevy of options to shop now, from affordable H&M versions to luxe Gabriela Hearst styles. This year, you’ll catch me sporting them with fitted tees or sweaters and my go-to Cuban-heel boots—maybe even sleazy aviators, if I’m feeling saucy!
This article was originally published on Vogue.com