Although there’s no formal entry on the origination of bell-bottoms, history has it that sailors first wore bell-bottoms during the war of 1812. In the 19th century, when a standardized uniform did not exist yet in the U.S Navy, some soldiers adopted the style of wide trousers ending in bell-shaped cuffs. Bel-bottoms were part of the Navy uniform till 1998.
Bell bottoms graced the 1970s fashion world in the 20s through the innovative designs of French designer Coco channel. Channel revolutionized fashion by taking women out of constructing dresses and corsets and placing them in freeing trousers.
In the 60s, bell-bottoms became fashionable for both men and women in London and expanded to Europe and North America. However, it wasn’t until the 70s that bell-bottoms entered mainstream fashion as a result of the Hippie’s culture adopting the design due to the influence of Sonny and Cher. They wore them regularly on their TV show.
By the late 70s, everyone had a pair of 70s bell-bottoms, or 70s flared jeans. They were available in denim, bright cotton, corduroy, and polyester. They were worn with a pair of fitting platform shoes.
Bell Bottoms from the 70s
Jeans from the 70s were typically flared from the knee down with bottom leg openings of up to twenty-six inches. Bell-bottoms were so popular they became a symbol of the outlandish and colorful style of the decade. Elephant bells were popular in the mid to late 70s; they had a marked flare below the knees and often covered the wearer’s shoe.
Bell-bottoms became less fashionable as the decade drew to a close after the rise of punk rock in the late 1970s. Bell-bottoms gave way to leggings, parachute pants, and stirrup pants in the early ’80s as the disco era was replaced by pop, hip-hop, and heavy metal music, whose artists preferred tight to flare.
Bell-bottoms were reintroduced into the scene after a decade’s hiatus in late 1989, and early 90s bands like Happy Mondays, The Stone Rose’s, and the charlatans started wearing them.
Bell-bottoms came back with a bang in the 90s. They were introduced as boot cuts or bootlegs trousers.
Although boot cuts fundamentally had the same design as their predecessor, they came with a smaller flare and tighter fit from the knee up. The bell-bottoms of the 70s can be differentiated from the boot cut of the 90s by the material and tightness at the knee. The bootcut style ended up dominating the fashion scene for the next ten years.
Of all types of trousers, bell-bottoms are the most flattering for women because the fitting around the hips and flare at the knees give the illusion of a feminine silhouette. This flattering piece of clothing has made a cyclical return to the fashion scene.
Designers like Gucci, Celine, Pao Rabanne, to name a few, reintroduced fresh flare jeans in their collection and tagged it the next “it” denim set. Celebrities like Harry Styles, Gigi Hadid, Miley Cyrus, Margot Robbie have been spotted wearing different versions of the 70s inspired Flare jeans.
Bell bottoms or boot cuts, as recently referred to, can be worn in different ways.
Wearing a blazer is one of the easiest ways to elevate any casual or formal look. Blazers are one of the pieces that can be paired with flared trousers effortlessly.
Blazers add a touch of sophistication to your looks and flattering for any woman. They come in different styles and colors. Blazers and bell-bottoms present a look that would easily work for a casual Friday at work or a casual business environment.
A LEATHER JACKET
Leather jackets are great for elevating any look. If you’re going for an edgy look, then best match that pair of bell-bottoms with a suitable pair of leather jackets.
Although black is the common color of the leather jacket, they can also be found in different colors, and they are versatile as they come in different styles.
You can spice up your flared jeans with the use of a statement belt. The bigger the buckle of the belt, the better. There are many designers to choose from, be it Gucci belt, Hermes “H” belt, or the utilitarian belt by Prada.
CROPPED FLARE PAIR
If you’re a petite figure and you’re scared of being dwarfed in your bell-bottoms, you can opt for a cropped pair. Pair the cropped pair with a set of boots as the higher hems need a statement shoe.
A blouse adds a feminine and stylish vibe to the pair of bell-bottoms. A blouse paired with flare jeans gets you ready for a nice brunch looking casual chic. To make this look dressier, wear it with a pair of heels and tuck in the blouse for a cleaner look.