Thursday, February 17, 2011

bells don't ring but jeans flare up

by frédérik sisa

Following on a post from waaaaay back in June 2010...I remember a pair of flared jeans I had back in the days when my experiments in fashion were tentative, confused, and not particularly convincing. (Hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?) It took quite a bit of effort to find them, and they were essentially one of the last pairs of men’s flare jeans Levi’s had available at the time. That was about 13-14 years ago. And what happened to these near-mythical jeans? I eventually donated them to charity because, with their typical denim indigo, they didn’t fit into my painstakingly evolved black-with-some-sanguinary-colours wardrobe. How silly. I quite liked how they had, well, flair without going overboard into bell-bottom territory.

Now that I’m seeing flared jeans flare up again, with plenty of brands offering up the style as an option to the usual straight, skinny, or boot cut, I thought about that old pair of jeans and wondered if there would be a suitable replacement.

I haven’t found one.

Ladies, of course, have plenty of options to choose from.

Here’s Levi’s "interesting" custom vintage flare for $118. Retro, if you will. The fabric inset at the knee, according to them says “you've worn it, you've repaired it, and you love it still.” Is that like wearing a jacket with patches at the elbows?

At $172, Sandra’s Sailor Pant by True Religion isn’t exactly a budget bargain. Then again, it is a beautiful pair of pants. Just look at the waist detail and the drape of the legs.

See more True Religion flares here.

At $59.99 on sale, this is a stylish flare with a nice wash by Fossil.

So ladies are well covered in the flare department, and I’m quite pleased to see flares make a comeback. They make for a lovely silhouette.

But what about guys? It seems to me that when brands only offer certain styles to women (especially styles that were once just as common for men), we create a kind of cultural reinforcement of gender bias. That is, we only see women wearing flares and it becomes ingrained in our unconscious. When a man then wears flared jeans, it seems strange because we’re not used to seeing it. For a more radical example, consider skirts on women and kilts on men. Considering that men’s fashion used to be much bolder and more diversified than it is today, it seems quite unfair, not to mention barkin’ mad, that women can wear anything and everything attributed to both women and men, while men are relegated to the same old boring profiles. Certainly flared jeans can work just as well for guys as for women.

And yet, despite all that, Topman’s still offers flared jeans for guys, like these. (Last summer, they even had full-on bells.)

Alas, although their offerings are reasonably priced between $16 on sale and $70, they have next to no stock left. And no black, although I’m waiting to hear back on what their future offerings will be.

Of course, there is the issue as to whether flared jeans are just trending or might actually become a regularly accessible element of fashion’s post-modern wardrobe. What do you think? Share your flares in the comments below…

Note: images borrowed from their respective brand websites for illustration purposes only.

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