Flared trousers jeans back in fashion

In old photographs in family albums, the grandparents of today’s teenagers are depicted in trousers expanding from the knee or hip. In today’s pictures on social networks, stars and trendy bloggers flaunt in exactly the same pants. We figured out how flared pants turned into a trendy thing of 2020.

Long straight trousers finally entered the European men’s wardrobe at the turn of the 20th — 19th centuries. Before that, male nobles and wealthy merchants wore short trousers with stockings and shoes, and peasants and poor townspeople-craftsmen wore ports of homespun fabric, wound onuchi below them (knitted with strips of fabric) or tucked into woolen stockings. Shoe representatives of the unprivileged class were wooden shoes, leather-sewn slippers, “pistons” or woven from strips of bast bast shoes, depending on the country and region.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the whole of Europe (except for peasants) was already dressed in long trousers. Among them were sailors – both senior officers and rank-and-file sailors. They wore pants made of light or dark (depending on the country and season) matter and shoes, later boots. And these trousers were, as a rule, quite wide – so that in the event of a fall into the water or a shipwreck, if necessary, quickly get rid of the restraining movement of clothes. Tight pants “afloat” to remove is not so simple.


How modern celebrities wear Flared trousers jeans, and below read the continuation:

In everyday life of our compatriots, who often didn’t know French, cloche trousers were included as “flared”, “flared” or even “flared”, with emphasis on the last syllable.


Any habitual thing can be brought to the point of absurdity: naval dandies had such a desire. No wonder it was the sailors, and not the infantrymen or artillerymen, who were the main mods of the armed forces. A visor cap with ribbons flying in the wind, a navy blue collar with a triangular neckline, in which strips of a vest are visible, and black flared. It is this image, rather stereotyped, that immediately arises in the imagination with the words “brave sailor”.

However, it is noteworthy that wearing navy flared trousers downward by naval authorities was not only not welcomed – on the contrary, it was forbidden by the sea charter. On the ship, officers did not allow this to be worn, and in a seafarer on the shore, a sailor from the beginning of the 20th century, who put on too wide trousers for the sake of apron, could be detained by the patrol for his irregular uniform.

However, when such a trifle as an outfit out of turn or a couple of days at a guardhouse could stop real mods? The most dashing of them not only embroidered the bottom of their trousers, but also sewed lead weights into the bottom of the legs: in this way, the trousers were beautifully draped. There is a version that the weights had a practical sense. In the case of the same shipwreck (or the death of a ship during a naval battle), a sailor who was in the water, getting rid of trousers with a sinker at the bottom of his trousers was much easier than just wide trousers.


It is noteworthy that the marine form inspired designers back in 1920-1930. Then the woman in trousers looked like a subverter of the basics. An exception was made unless for summer pastime in fashionable sea resorts. It was there, in Deauville and on the Cote d’Azur, that the Beau monde representatives walked in flared trousers and sailor hats. Similar things were offered to clients (and she herself wore willingly) the legendary fashion designer Coco Chanel.

For modern trousers, the flare also had another prototype – not as obvious as navy pants, but nevertheless had a great influence on modern fashion. This is known to all fans of Westerns cowboy leather pants – Chapa. Surely they were seen by everyone who was at a rodeo in the United States, or at least watched films about the confrontation (or friendship) of real Wild West men.

However, for any attentive viewer it quickly became clear that these pants are actually not pants at all, but the legs (or gaiters) – protective pads made of leather or suede, fixed on top of ordinary trousers. In America they are called “chaps” (from English chaps).

The origin of the term is Spanish. The first shepherd shepherds (vakero, or charo) in Central America and Mexico were the descendants of the Spanish colonizers. They called their legs in Spanish: chaparjos or chaparreras. This name comes from the word “chaparral” (chaparral): in Mexico they call the undersized dwarf oak and juniper bushes. The branches and thorns of these thickets tore the usual cloth pants, hence the need for leather leggings. When native English speakers came to the Wild West, they, as usual, reduced Spanish terms to short chaps.


Chaps come in different models. The trousers sewn along the entire length with side pockets are, in fact, the second trousers – shotgun (“shotgun”) or closed leg (“closed leg”). Not stitched, but only wrapped around the legs of the cloth, fastened to the side with straps – batwing (“bat wing”). Shortened 5-10 centimeters below the knee, a model with side fringe – chinks. Cowboys, and then bikers, wore all these versions over regular trousers, most often sewn from thick, wear-resistant and riveted cotton fabric at the seams – that is, jeans.

Denim Rhapsody

The modern history of flared trousers begins with jeans. The fact is that to wear cowboy boots, which, according to tradition, were worn under trousers, and not over them, as in Europe, jeans had to be made flared downwards – like navy pants. At first, such jeans – their cut is called bootcut, “under the boots” – were sewn in a makeshift way, but over time they became a constant assortment of jeans brands.

One of the first to introduce bootcut to its range was Levi’s, a pioneer in denim fashion. The model, released in 1969, received the number and name 517-Boot Cut Jean. It was sewn from specially designed Sta-Prest fabric. Next came the narrowed version – 527 Slim Boot Cut, as well as flared jeans with a tight fit on the hips – 646 Bell Bottom.

Flared jeans immediately became very popular with informals of the late 1960s – early 1970s, in particular with hippies – “flower children”, whose subculture took shape in the same year 1969 at the legendary rock festival in Woodstock. Woodstock has truly become a landmark event marking the era of “free love” and pacifism. Flared jeans and flared trousers in general, embroidered or painted with colors and pacific signs, have become a real uniform of the generation. They were worn by boys and girls, and men, and women.


The archive of the Levi’s brand has preserved quite remarkable examples of customization of standard jeans – including flare, converted by the owners themselves from classic straight trousers of the 501th model. The most, perhaps, catchy ones are embroidered with braid and applications remade 501 by the famous illustrator Doug Hansen or pants with an applique in the form of stars and crescents.

The company notes that the production of factory flared jeans was a response to a customer request: marketers noted that young people and girls alter the classics, turning straight trousers into flared pants. To do this, the outer side seam was opened and a triangular wedge was sewn into it (often from a matter of contrasting color or printed fabric), which expanded the leg. Examples of such “updates” are also stored in the brand’s archive.

As often happens with avant-garde and non-conformism, flares quickly turned into the mainstream. Brands produced flared pants and jeans with less wide leg, made of restrained fabric. The heroes of American cinema of the 1970s flaunted in such trousers – for example, Robert Radford and Dustin Hoffman, the leading actors in the movie “The entire Royal Army”. The legendary rockers of the 1970s – Queen, Rolling Stones and others performed in flares at their concerts gathering full stadiums. The most fashionable couples of the decade, for example, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, also actively contributed to the popularity of this style of trousers.


The same non-conformists who were willing to risk their reputation had to hunt for shortages, buy trousers from speculators-blacksmiths, or alter regular trousers in the same way as American hippies did in the 1960s. There were many who wished: flaunting flares for a guy was about as “cool” as a girl appeared on the street in a very short miniskirt. Some especially zealous Soviet citizens customized their trousers to a completely caricatured width.

At the same time, Soviet-style icons worn by millions were also flashed: actor Alexander Abdulov, singer Alla Pugacheva and adored by the people Vladimir Vysotsky. Evil tongues said about the latter that he chose this style to visually increase his small stature: it was fashionable to wear shoes with thick soles and heels with flares.

Reborn Flared trousers

In the 1980s and 2000s, flared jeans temporarily left the fashionable stage. They were replaced by straight business-style trousers, wide, “trumpet” jeans, lowered to the hips – the unofficial uniform of rappers, and narrow skinny, popular with fashionable androgynous youth of both sexes. However, fashion is cyclical: a hit of the late 1960s – early 1970s became popular again.


In the early 2000s, girls were offered to wear slightly flared trousers of delicate pastel or, on the contrary, bright colors, combining them with sandals with high heels or wedges. Such models were produced by leading fashion brands, for example, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.

In the second decade of the 21st century, a gradual revival of interest in flared trousers began again with the jeans segment. In the very beginning of the 2010s, bootcut jeans returned to the assortment of popular brands – for example, Gap. Gradually, pants moved from purely jeans brands to mass-market ones: a couple of years ago, female flares could be found on H&M rails. According to a survey conducted in late spring 2020, flared pants were among the ten most popular women’s things of all time.

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