As someone old enough to have experienced flared jeans – aka bootcut, aka bell bottoms – for the third time now, I can confidently say I fell firmly in the NO column. In all honesty, I was 5 years old during the first iteration of the wide legged silhouette; 25 when it made its resurgence as the aforementioned bootcut; and now at 45 with the flared rebrand, it appears the glorified bell bottom has about a 20-year recycle span. But despite my thrice-styled experience with these denim wonders, I remained a skinny-jean devotee. That is until I scored these beauties on a recent resale spree with my mom. Ella Moss new with tags from a consignment shop tucked away on Burnet Road, which is one of mom’s favorite stops when she visits. I wasn’t even shopping for myself but spied these and thought why not give them a shot to see if I’ve changed my mind….And they did. In a BIG way. Out of the four days I have owned them, I have worn them three times.
So, what makes this pair different from previous flares? Well, the high waist to start with. The bootcut jean 20 years ago coincided with the low-rise trend of the late 90s, cutting a horizontal line across the widest part of a woman’s body, highlighting what is known in Texas as “birthing hips.” (This was initially intended as a compliment in the 1800s when it first appeared on the scene, but now, not so much.) The higher cut waistline not only places the horizontal plane at a smaller point on our figures but also helps hold in any mom belly if you know what I mean.
As important as the stride is the inseam. Finding the right length in a flare legged jean is key. They cannot be too short, or you will look like a cartoon character. They cannot be too long, or you will look like you are swimming in them, or even worse, you will trip all over them. The right length rests on the top of your foot and covers the apex of a shoe heel when worn with higher heels. This is especially challenging when you are on the taller side to begin with. I slipped these jeans on in the dressing room and instantly felt long and lean. I knew they were a YES and was delighted to get them brand new and second hand.
I have already paired these with a long-sleeved t-shirt and platform sandals for a casual Sunday afternoon, as well as a silk blouse and double-breasted blazer for a work meeting. Lastly, I styled them with an oversized sweater and a high heeled boot for a crisp morning coffee date with a girlfriend. They have quickly become a staple of my fall wardrobe and were just the shot of the unexpected I needed to breathe new life into my casual, work from home lifestyle. We talk a lot about formula dressing here at A Fashionating Life, and this is the newest ingredient to my fall formula. You will be seeing a lot of these (blue jean) babies.
It goes without saying that I am not ready to give up my jeggings just yet either though. The great thing about fashion at 40+ is that you have been there, seen that, and even bought that on just about every trend. We have the confidence and know-how to wear any silhouette that suits us. A good style formula is a great guideline but variety is the spice of life when it comes to the individual components – and the sum of the parts is much greater than the whole.
Images by Chie Endo