Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In Search of Flares

In Search of Flares

Last week I went in search of flared jeans. I was going to try on as many pairs as it took until I got a great pair, and I was prepared to spend up to $150 for them. That's the most I've ever spent on jeans, but I know that I want flares to be my go-to-jeans for this spring and summer. I took my phone camera along with me for the ride in the hope that I can save you some time.

I went to basically every store in our mall that sells jeans, except I didn't go to any of the department stores. I knew that I'd have lots of jeans to try on there, but I didn't want to get bogged down in dozens of jeans, either. On that note, you should probably hit a department store if you want jeans of any kind. 

Old Navy, Levis(!!) and Urban Outfitters didn't have any; Free People's were very light in color with too many holes for my liking (I love holes for skinnies but not for flares) so I don't have any pictures from there. I also didn't try on the Limited's because they were really more of a bootcut, but they had a nice dark wash. 

I didn't get the ones that I thought I would going into it, but it was a fun way to get a sense of what's out there for us. 

American Eagle-Not Great unless you're a teenager.

First, a few observations: yes! Flared jeans are "back in." For some, they never really left, but I don't know of many women who were wearing such an extreme bell over the past few years as is back in style again now. This is very 1970s-inspired, and the bell is as big as you want it. That being said, whenever a trend comes into play be sure that you decide whether it's right for you. If you love skinny jeans, stick with 'em. 

On the other hand, if you're into trying a more pronounced flare (again), there are lots of them out there, and they're way more comfortable this time around than they were in the late 90s, early 2000s. I can't speak to their comfort in the '70s, but this time around they've got more stretch and are more forgiving than I remember them. 

I loved putting them on and remembering that easy feeling of wearing shoes while putting on a pair of jeans and of having your feet look cute and tiny!

Verdict: American Eagle were very stretchy and comfy with a medium leg opening and nice butt pockets but far too many whiskers for my liking.

Madewell-Great for Taller Women.

On the downside, I also remembered that flares can be really long, and hemming them can take away some of the flare. If you might hem a pair, I recommend folding them in (instead of doubling the hem) to see how they'll fall if and when you do hem. If you fold them up you won't get a good sense of how the bell will hit post hemming job. 

Verdict: Madewell's ultra "Market Flares" were the jeans I thought I came to buy. Ultimately, they were extremely long (I folded them over here to show you the length), and I worried that the bell would be hemmed away. I also didn't love how long the butt pockets were nor how much volume there was in the legs. However, for a much taller woman, these are a good pair of jeans, well made and very comfortable. 

Express-Very comfy but too many whiskers.

A few tips to look out for: as with many trends, flared jeans are at lots of stores geared toward a young generation of shoppers, which seems to translate into lots of whiskers and embellished back pockets in this case. Neither of those is my favorite thing because I prefer a dark, more classic wash jean with simple pockets. Take some time to look around if you feel the same way. 

Express had some very comfy jeans due to a lot of stretch. I liked their subtle bootcut if you want to break back into flares. However, I didn't like the overly whiskered staining they did around the knees and crotch. 

Lucky Brand-my favorites.

Also, consider wearing whatever shoes you might wear a lot with your jeans when you go shopping. I wore a pair of clogs since I wear them a lot lately with my back problems, and I love the '70s vibe of them with flares. Don't come in flats and then try to imagine how a pair of jeans will look if you have a high wedge on. 

As for styling, wear them as you would any normal jean. Or, channel the festival vibe of the '70s and put your best Coachella foot forward. But, as with any trend, be careful not to veer into costume territory. 

I loved the dark, consistent washes at Lucky as well as the prominent (but not huge like Madewell's) bell. I ended up purchasing these and love them. They're long, but I plan to wear them mostly with clogs and wedges. Consider hemming if you want to wear them with flats, or keep them long if you're a taller girl. 

I got a good question from an Instagram friend the other day, which was about whether all body shapes should wear flares. I don't subscribe to the rule that women should (or shouldn't) do anything with their bodies. I think you should be flexible and try new things! Trying on is free, and it might surprise you how much you like a flared leg. Give it a try. And, as always, feel free to email me pictures if you want my help!

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