Flares: A Brief History – PhixClothing.com

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Flares: A Brief History

by Emily Pack |

Above, the PHIX Black Wool Flared Trouser. Click here to shop.

Flared trousers are officially back 'in' (not that they were ever out for us, with our reverence for all things seventies) with the skinny jean taking a back seat for the foreseeable. Today's blog post covers a brief history of the bell bottom, coinciding with our release of tailored trousers to our expanding collection at PHIX.

The flared trouser supposedly has it origins in the US Navy, with American sailors being the the first to adopt bell-bottomed trousers as early as 1817. They went for wide legs, due to the practicality of being able to roll up the legs when scrubbing the deck and easing removal when wet. We all know the struggle of removing a damp slim-fit.

Above, our Black Velvet Flared Trousers. Click to shop.

In the 1920s, Coco Chanel brought flares to mainstream fashion wear, creating “Yacht Pants” and “Beach Pajamas" for women, inspired by sailor's style. However, these did not become a wardrobe staple for the fashion-conscious until the 1960s, when they began popping up on forward-thinking celebrities like Mick Jagger, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix.

Soon, all the style rebels were rejecting the classic slim-fit tailored trouser in favour of something bigger and wilder. The most daring sported "Elephant bells", super wide leg flares not for the faint-hearted.

By the 1970s, flares had become the it-trouser for everyone, from musicians to football hooligans, the working class through to the rich and famous, trendy youths and their trendy dads. The style was co-opted for inclusion in collections by designers such as Mary Quant.

In this photo: The PHIX Wool Flared Trouser. Click to shop.

Suddenly, flares were everywhere, infusing hippie, Glam Rock, Rollermania and disco fashions. Groups such as Slade and ABBA brought flares to the forefront, as did John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.

In this photo: The PHIX Navy Pinstripe Wide-Leg Flared Trouser. Click to shop.

From the stage to the street, below you can see them worn by picketers at the Grunwick dispute in north London, 1977.

However, in the late 70s the flare began to fall out of favour, with punks preferring the drainpipe style influenced by the teddy boys. By the 90s however, things began to take a turn back to bootcut, with increasingly lower waistlines. 

Above, Tim (@tim.iancurtis) wears our 100% Virgin Wool Black Flares. Click to shop.

Then, in the Mid-2000s fashion's cycles returned back to skinny jeans with increasingly higher waistlines throughout the next decade. In the past two years, legs are now getting wider again with Gen Z's rejection of the slim fit and flares are back at the forefront of fashion for style rebels. 

The PHIX Navy Pinstripe Wide-Leg Flared Trouser. Click to shop

Shop our latest collection of flares and other tailored trousers online now.