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    8 awesome ways to wear flares

    how to pull off this tricky trend

    by Yasmeen Gharnit April 20, 2015

    photos by suzanne darcy

    Have you ever gazed into the glossy pages of a fashion magazine and thought, "There's no way any human could actually pull that look off in real life?" Have you ever cowered at the thought of even bringing a pair of sassy, exaggerated pants into the fitting room? Yes? No? Well, we have. But there's no need to fear—we're taking the most frightening, seemingly unflattering trends of the moment and showing you how to make them wearable in our new, ongoing Tricky Trends segment. Because everything's possible if you just believe...

    The '70s are back, and along with the fringe, suede accents, and rock 'n' roll vibes comes one of the most daunting fashion statements of all time: the flare.

    Originally constructed to accommodate ship workers (they could roll up the wide hems when washing decks and could be used as a makeshift life preserver if they fell overboard), the style was popularized when utilitarian style came into counterculture fashion during the Vietnam War. After a brief resurgence in the early to mid-'90s, the flare was simply discarded as an unbecoming garment of strange, off-putting proportion. 

    If it seems like bell bottoms/flares are the inherent enemy of anyone with hips and thighs, here's some news: They're not all that bad! To prove it, we gave eight NYLON staffers a pair and asked them to style themselves. This resulted in eight different (awesome) flare-styling blueprints. Click through the gallery to see them all, then try the trend out for yourself. 

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "An exaggerated flair instantly jazzes up my daily uniform of sweatshirts and unkept hair. I like to throw on a pair of bells when I'm feeling especially lazy about getting dressed, which is pretty much every day. My flare of choice is always a J Brand—they'll make your ass look dynamite." - Beth Garrabrant, photo director

    J Brand
    , Sabine high waisted flare jeans, $228, available at Shopbop.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "I love basics with an attitude, so I paired these dark denim flares with a rock 'n' roll leather jacket. To off-set the high waist and play with proportion, I chose a white flowy blouse. It's a flattering look anyone can wear out on a Friday night." - Julie Humeas, eastern advertising manager

    Hudson, Taylor high waist flair, $198, available at Hudson.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "The last time I donned such an exaggerated bell bottom was in my pre-pubescent years, which were rife with camel toe experiences. However, I found this high-waisted stretch pair to be quite flattering (and thankfully faux pas-free). I decided to keep with the spirit of this '70s style Pistola Denim flare and go for a rock-chic look with a graphic tee, vintage jean jacket, and plenty of silver hardware. The one challenge I did run into was finding a heel tall and chunky enough to wear with them. I ended up choosing an appropriately groovy pair of YRU "Disco" platforms, but I would definitely need to get these hemmed if I wore them IRL walking across uneven Soho streets." - Katherine Martinez, director of e-commerce

    Pistola Denim, black mountain bell bottoms, $79, available at NYLONshop.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "I have always been skeptical when it comes to flares—I'm not sure I ever even owned any when they were 'in' in the early aughts. I don't have super long/skinny legs and I assumed they would make me look shorter (because they totally can). BUT I was pleasantly surprised by how cute this Paige Denim pair was! They actually made me feel taller and were super flattering on the booty. I paired the flares with a boxy cropped mock turtleneck to show the high waist of the jeans and keep with the retro vibe. I wore my leopard print booties to give a little extra height and sass." - Liz Riccardi, digital design director

    Paige, bell canyon high-rise jeans, $219, available at Anthropologie.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "Since I'm short, flares always seemed a little daunting to me. Thankfully, Citizens of Humanity makes a petite flare! It's one of the first I've known about. They fit perfectly (with a heel of course) and make me look long and lean. I paired them with an oversized shirt with slitted sides that show the high waist and a pair of heeled boots. I'm digging the whole '70s vibe (or is it early '00s?)." - Marissa Smith, market editor

    Citizens of Humanity, Fleetwood petite in washed out, $288, available at Citizens of Humanity.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "I'm typically a give-me-skinnies-or-give-me-death girl, but when I tried on this pair of MOTHER jeans, I  loved  them. They have just the right hint of stretch so they hug at the hips and thighs, which made them surprisingly flattering. A fitted tee (mine is from Forever 21) balances out the volume on the bottom. And I got some extra height with my super-high suede Prada platforms. I wanted the flares to be the star of the show, so I kept the accessories to a minimum: just one simple rockabilly red bandana and I was ready to go." - Michelle Lee, editor-in-chief

    MOTHER, the cruiser in getting rowdy, $228, available at MOTHER.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "I've always taken issue with flares—most notably how disproportionate they made my hips look. Not to say that always makes for a bad look, but it just doesn't really align with my personal style (which consists of mainly wearing actual men's pants). I sized up in these Citizens of Humanity cropped flares in attempt to add a bit more slouch...which kind of worked. The cropped length actually helped balance things out so I could forgo the flare-requisite platform/heels. This helped the look feel more 'me.' Ultimately though, I felt most comfortable covering up my hip area. Wearing a longer top or a coat also helps modernize the silhouette while still accentuating the kicky-ness of the flare." - Preetma Singh, market director

    Citizens of Humanity, Drew crop flare in rip it up, $268, available at Citizens of Humanity.

    photo by suzanne darcy

    "My first pair of real jeans, L.E.I.'s from Brass Plum at Nordstrom back in '96, was a flare. Total classic, right? Luckily, almost two decades later, flares remain my favorite style of jeans. Not only do they allow me to capitalize on the recently revived '70s trend, but this shape of denim let me wear the sky-high platforms that usually collect dust in my closet. Paired with a silk blouse and an oversized shade, they give the illusion of legs for days, even when your stems are only 5'4" like mine. Move over, Rachel Zoe." - Tamar Levine, accessories editor

    James Jeans, Juliette, $175, available at James Jeans.

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