8 awesome ways to wear flares

how to pull off this tricky trend

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.