It seems that every few seasons, the fashion trend reports (for what that’s worth) announce that wide-leg jeans have made a comeback. And every time, skinny fits stubbornly remain the standard.
When skinny jeans first appeared on the scene circa 2006, they ended up being less of a trend and more of an epiphany. As it turns out, legs appear slimmer with less fabric flapping around them, a flattering illusion for all sizes. Flattering for all heights, as well; the lack of dragging and fraying eliminated the need for hemming. They effortlessly slipped into boots of every style, and paired with t-shirts, sweaters and blouses of all silhouettes, never risking awkward mixes of proportions.The skinny black jean has since shed its Ramones legacy to become a mainstream staple for daytime and evening dressing.
Yet I’m nostalgic for the traditional jeans styles of my middle school years: bootcut, made for (and fantastic with) a pair of ankle boots with a stacked heel; Grace Pintuck Wide Legs from Earnest Sewn that I may have permanently outgrown (as in, no amount of obliques will get me back in them). I miss the denim quality as well, the crisp >90% cotton that seemed to hold you upright, versus today’s sea of pseudo-jeggings. There was a greater diversity of hues, a spectrum spanning slate gray to greenish tinge, all immaculately woven into the trusty standbys: Hudson, Antik Denim, Miss Sixty, Citizens of Humanity.
I’ve hung onto my flares since then, often garnering compliments qualified with “you’re tall, so you can wear them.” I’m not sure where this rule originated from; French model/blogger Jeanne Damas pulls off flare pants well at 5’7, while I’ve seen petite women opt for leg-lengthening trouser jeans with a pair of heeled sandals. I also think that, by emphasizing the knee, flare jeans create more of a trim effect than we give them credit for.
I’m welcoming a revival of flare jeans that isn’t self-consciously “boho” or “vintage.” As I wait for that political revolution to happen, I’m wearing Kimmie Bootcuts by Seven, which are ultra-lightweight and soft and work for summer as well. I’m not delving back into prefabricated knee holes, however--it’s called progress for a reason.