Make room, skinny fit: ‘70s-inspired flare-leg style is new denim kick

Return of flared jeans
Flare style jeans from Citizens of Humanity.
(Citizens of Humanity)

The decade that gave us disco and the Nixon administration hit a sartorial high when designers showed their spring 2015 collections this fall.

Pieces inspired by the 1970s were seen on the runways at Chloe, Prada and Gucci. And now the flare-leg silhouette that was popular then is becoming the next big thing in a denim landscape that has been all about skinny fits in recent years.

“The ‘70s trend is having a revival moment right now, and flared silhouettes fall perfectly in line with it,” says Sasha Sarokin, buying manager for Net-a-Porter. The retail site is carrying flare-leg jeans from Frame, J Brand and Victoria Beckham, just a few of the labels that have created the shape for the season.

L.A.-based denim brand Citizens of Humanity believes enough in the ‘70s-inspired silhouette that it has launched a five-piece capsule collection of flare-leg jeans. From December through February, the brand will release a new flare style each month.


“We have created a capsule of flares for every occasion” says Citizens of Humanity creative director Catherine Ryu. From the “Fleetwood” style, a sexy high-rise flare meant to give the illusion of mile-long legs, to the Drew, a low-slung casual flare designed to be worn with flip-flops or flats, the shape is a major priority for spring at Citizens of Humanity.

AG, 7 For All Mankind, Genetic, Nasty Gal, Seafarer, MIH, Rag & Bone and newly launched L.A. label Tortoise Denim have all included flare shapes in their spring 2015 offerings.

Don’t expect a Sonny and Cher moment this time around.

“The essence and the inspiration of the current flare is ‘70s,” says Ryu. “But the way that we will wear them will be more modern, so as to avoid it looking costume-like.”


As daunting as skinny jeans are, the flare can prove just as problematic, particularly for those on the shorter side.

Tailoring the length is almost inevitable with flares and it’s important to consider the heel height you will be wearing with them, so the integrity of the flared shape remains intact.

The hardest part about flares is that you have to hem them for the shoe height you intend to wear, say Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, celebrity stylists and designers of fashion line the Great. Both have pairs hemmed for high heels and hemmed for low-heeled boots.

The duo adds that the best length for a flare-leg jean is to barely graze the floor in the back and allow for just the tip of the shoe to poke out in the front.

Marlien Rentmeester, founder of the shopping blog Le Catch, suggests wearing the jeans with pieces that are thoroughly modern in order to give the look a fresh spin. “From sharp button-down blouses to cropped sweaters and boxy tops that accentuate the waist line, highlight the slimmest part of the pants (the thighs) and counteract the flare’s intrinsically retro vibe,” she says.