Flares on www.bigflares.comJeans were first made into flares by hippies (the word ‘hippie’ being coined due to the hipster jeans they wore). They cut the seams and sewed extra material in, to make a homemade flare. Flared trousers go further back and have a practical origins. Sailors in the early nineteenth century wore ‘bell-bottoms’ because they could be taken off while still wearing boots. However, as a fashion-statement, flares came into their own during the sixties and seventies. 1964 was the first record of the word ‘flare’ in the Oxford English Dictionary.

John Travolta doing his Saturday Night Fever thingIn Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta wore a flared trouser suit. He looked a total prat and we all thought so as kids. Though that was probably not to do with the flares, but the stupid dancing.

I remember my mum referring to people who wore flares as ‘flower power’. She was always a bit wistful about it, as if she would probably have been one of them if she hadn’t had three kids hanging around her ankles.

Flares are still around now of course, and are seen as mainstream, but back then if you wore flares then you were a dangerous revolutionary or a smelly dopehead. You could also get flared sleeves. I’ve worn flares a few times but find that I trip up on the trousers and dangle the sleeves in my dinner.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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