Well guys, I’ve officially returned to flares and I couldn’t be happier.
Flares remind me of middle school + high school. Besides my classic cargo pocket flare jeans from Gap (may they rest in peace in denim heaven), I have vague memories of sporting a pair of green corduroy flares too.
Ah, the early 00’s and it’s caution-to-the-wind fashion.
I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic about what we wore in the early 00’s. Yes, it all seems so bad … and yet SO GOOD. Everything was colorful and crazy and didn’t take itself seriously. Remember the days when we’d layer a dress over flare jeans? With platform flip flops, a newsboy hat, and a macrame anklet of course.
Anyway. I promise I won’t go off the rails and turn Unfancy into a tribute to early 00’s fashion. But I am really excited about having a pair of flare jeans again.
Denim is my staple, my signature. To me, shopping for a new pair of jeans is kind of like shopping for a couch. It’s a big, permanent purchase and I’m in no rush because I want to get it right.
At first, I started my quest at Madewell. I am fiercely loyal to my Madewell skinny jeans. I absolutely love ’em, and it turns out they have great flares too.
But … I ended up passing on them because I wanted to see if I could find a great pair that was made in the USA.
It took a while, but I found ’em! And guess what? They’re actually softer and comfier (especially around the waist) than Madewell’s flares. Yay for high waisted jeans that don’t dig into your stomach!
With this being my first adult attempt at styling flare jeans, I decided to go with the classic 70’s look: Tucked in button up and a big ol’ tote. Always works.
01 | Jeans by Seven (made in USA) | Fit note: I’m 5’5″ and I got the regular inseam length. I thought I might need the shorter inseam, but the regular inseam ended up being the perfect length to pair with 2 or 3 inch heels — no tailoring needed | same jeans in lighter wash (made in USA) | similar in a dark wash on sale
02 | Shirt by Madewell
03 | Bag c/o ONA
05 | Necklace by Madewell
So, let’s talk: What’s your favorite way to style your flares? And/or let’s please reminisce + laugh over what we wore in the early 00’s. :)
Lee Vosburgh says
YES!!! These look AMAZING on you Caroline! I’m a diehard flares fan so I’m always happy to see them. Love the way you styled them too! XO
J’adore ta chemise et puis tes cheveux sont super canons !
I’ve NEVER STOPPED WEARING FLARES! I JUST FIND THEM TO BE SO FLATTERING ON MY SHAPE. aS MUCH AS I LOVE A GOOD SKINNY THEY TEND TO MAKE ME LOOK HEAVIER IN COMPARISON TO FLARES.
(SORRY FOR THE CAPS MY KEYBOARD WON’T TURN IT OFF)
Caitlin, haha, your caps lock thing made me laugh! :) And good for you for embracing what works and not just what’s trendy xo, Caroline
So in love with this outfit. Basically, if you could just come dress me, that’d be great. :)
Geez, I can’t afford $200 for a pair of jeans!
Kathleen, I totally understand! I was willing to pay more for these for several reasons. But rest assured there are flare jeans at all types of price-points! (Check out the pair that I linked to in the post – they’re on sale!) Hope you find some you love :) xo, Caroline
Another way to look at what to spend on things is ‘price per wear.’ If you are going to wear something 3 days a week for 18 months, it might be worth an investment in something of quality, like jeans. As opposed to tops. I buy most of my tops from Target, wear them 10 times in 3 months, and by then they’re ready for the trash.
Gwen, that’s a perfect point! Buy the quality goods and wear the heck out of ’em :) xo, Caroline
Another good strategy is a consignment site like Thredup. I buy my AG cigarette jeans there. Sometimes it’s a bit of waiting game, but eventually I find what I’m looking for, usually new with tags at about 80% off retail.
It also may be a question of age and/or stage of life. In my teens and 20s, and even before I became a mom I shopped for myself way more often. Back then $200 for jeans to me would sound outrageous. Now, that I am a mom in my early 30s. I do not shop as often as I used to, and when I do buy something I want it to be the exact item that I need and that item must last. For those reasons, I may be willing to pay a bit more for something. However, I do love a sale. Another issue is if a person is changing sizes (i.e. losing or gaining weight) it may be hard to part with $200 for jeans. Finally, $200 is a lot of money. It is a little less than a family may spend a week on groceries.
The bigger issue is that buying ethically, not just clothes, items like fair trade coffee etc., is something that costs more money (most of the time). However, there are good reasons for it i.e. farmers are paid a fair wage for their corps rather than being exploited. Maybe just choose a few things that are important. For example, when I was a student I bought fair trade coffee 80% of the time. That was something I could afford. If I remember correctly, in an earlier post Caroline shared that she was committed to making ethical purchases of particular types of items in her wardrobe. That sounds like a good idea to me.
So, I say start small. A small change over time can make a difference. Also, look forward to time when you can pay $200 for jeans. I’m not quite there yet (still working on shedding that pesky baby weight), but I hope to be there soon.
Thanks for the great post Caroline.
Wonderful perspective Charissa. Thanks for sharing! :) xo, Caroline
j. lee says
American Eagle Artist Flare <3 $50
I actually just did a round-up of “ethical” flares at a bunch of price points. Nordstrom Rack and eBay are also good places to check for made-in-USA denim at great prices.
Lo, I’ll be sure to check it out! :) Thanks! xo, Caroline
There are lots of less expensive options for flare jeans if you are willing to look. I found a fabulous pair years ago (I haven’t pulled them out in a while, but will now that flares are coming back) and have gotten several people asking where I found them. The thrift store for $5! ThredUp and Poshmark are other good options. That being said, there are pieces I’m willing to invest in if I know they will be classic, well-and-ethically-made, and will last me a long time. Jeans are something I’ve had success with thrifting; shoes, not so much. Right now I need to choose where to spend my money, and quality shoes are where I’ll put that cash, and meanwhile just thrift my Lucky Brand jeans.
Truth. It’s easy for me to find great pants by quality brands at the thrift store, but I’ve only ever found two pairs of high quality, comfortable, good-for-my-feet shoes in my size at the thrift store. (And I thrift a LOT.)
I think it’s because of the high volume of crap shoes (think basically any clothing brand with its own shoes) plus the variability of shoe sizes/widths.
I might buy a pair of Target or Old Navy pants but I’m never buying Target or Old Navy shoes – I can’t afford what bad shoes will do to my feet/legs/back.
Leah at http://www.thriftshopchic.com
Stunning. Really, Caroline!! Loooove.
I really like this outfit, Caroline and I always look forward to your posts! x
Love the flares. I’ve had many friends make fun of me for wearing them post 00’s, but I still love them and love they are making a come back. I guess the only issue I have with flares is that they are difficult to cuff, so you have to either buy them to wear with flats or heels, but one pair will rarely work with both shoe types. I’d love your thoughts on this, especially if you’re spending a little extra on them as an investment piece.
Leah, I think you are absolutely right about that. The jeans I’m wearing can really only be worn with heels and I decided I was ok with that. (The high waist almost begs for it!) :)
But, that being said, if you wanted to wear flares with flats, they will almost always need to be hemmed. And a true flare will lose some of it’s flare with the hemming — making it look more like a boot cut.
If you plan to wear flats more often than heels, you may want to consider a soft wide leg or boot cut instead. Or you could go in between — tailor a pair to work with flats and/or a slight heel — to offer a bit more diversity.
Since it is an investment piece, try to take a look at it from a very practical standpoint and decide what really works best for your lifestyle. :)
Hope that helps! xo, Caroline
Kelly sullivan says
Love! Such a great way to style these. I think I’m going to pair mine with my white button down, tucked in, and my slightly flowy white peasant top on my more Boho days…
I got a pair of Seven jeans from a thrift store years ago for $13. They were in great condition, already hemmed and fit perfectly. Looking back, i was so lucky. They’re getting worn now, but I definitely love the cut and fit- very flattering, comfortable and classy. Not sure if I can cough up the money for a new pair, but did pick up a cute high-waisted pair from another thrift store (I actually don’t thrift much at all! Just these two) and have loved tucking my t-shirts into them. Flares balance your hips and make your knees look skinny (as opposed to your ankles)- I think skinny jeans make you look taller and less fabric is better for petite frames, but a narrow, well-tailored flare can still have a similar feel.
The real challenge? Wide-leg pants! Especially on petites.
Michelle, what a great find!! :) xo, Caroline
Wow, I had those cargo pocket flares from Gap too (I’m the same age as you). I’d pair them with the burgundy puffer vest also from Gap. Man I loved those pants. I had forgotten about them until now!
Mimi, haha! It sounds like we were both on the cutting edge of fashion! ;) xo, Caroline
Believe it or not I just found my gap cargo flares today in my daughters closet!! Circa 2000. Doing some purging. She told me they didn’t fit well. Time to pass them along to someone else!
Alix Omori says
I love AG (Adriano Goldschmied) jeans for any and all styles. They’re made in California and have great water conservation efforts for their cotton used in production. Highly recommend the company and the fit!
When can we expect your closet tour post? I enjoy all your posts, but I’m really looking forward to that one.
I have always preferred how I look in flare jeans. Skinny jeans do not flatter my shape. I was a child in the 70s (yeah, I’m one of your older followers) and I always adored the flare legs. I think we should keep the 70s style alive forever! Peace and love!
does nicely for the backside ;)
Melanie! Ow ow!! haha ;) xo, Caroline
btw i love that you don’t have other ads on your blog!!!
ps. do you happen to follow leobabauta.com? he has a lovely minimalist blog.
I was die hard into boot cuts back in the day, and was sad to see them go. But now I don’t want them to come back because the germ-a-phobe me hated the way they would touch the floor when I used a public restroom – gross!
For now, staying with my comfortable, flattering skinny jeans – that don’t touch public floors.
Jenn I says
I 100% wore a dress – it was burgundy floral, tiered – over flared jeans. I thought it looked amazing. I probably looked like a giant bag. Hilarious.
I love flared jeans, with my bubble butt they balance out my proportions. I’ve never been a huge fan of Seven, I’ll look into these!
Jenn, we laugh about it now, but you probably really did look adorable!! xo, Caroline
Trudi Lowe-Gibbon says
Kia ora Caroline
I enjoy your BLOG. I wonder if you can do regular outfits for your mum…..I am 53 so like to see what you dress her in!
Pam Looney says
I have to second that! I’m 53 and also want more of the mature wear…although most of Caroline’s things can go older. Love the blog!
Hey Trudi! It sounds like a great idea to me! I’ll see if I can get her on board. :) xo, Caroline
I spent all of college in flares paired with high heeled chunky boots, a turtleneck and a belt with a bit of hardware on it :)
Oh my gosh. You’ve actually made me want to wear a pair!!!! Lol. I swear to goodness I haven’t thought about trying this out again (since my middle school days as well) until this gosh darn post! Hahahaha! You rock my socks off as always lady. And I absolutely LOVE this top paired with your flares. Perfection. :)
Laura, so sweet as always. Would love to see what you pair with them :) xo, Caroline
It may be taking it slightly too far but I looooove my high waisted flares with a cream ribbed tee with dark red stripes. Sometimes with an army green cargo vest over it, sometimes just staying true to the 70’s vibes, and of course, always with chunky heeled boots or sandals. Love flares so much, they do way more favors to my body than skinnies!
Kodi, that sounds super cute! :) xo, Caroline
I would like to see a picture of you in flare jeans next to a picture of you in skinny jeans. I am still trying to figure out for myself which is more flattering. I feel so much skinnier in skinny jeans :) but I don’t know if I actually look better or not. Maybe seeing you in both would help me decide?
I’ve seen flares coming up again and I thought I will never ever consider wearing them again (after the 00’s dress over tie dyed flares) but I’m slowly starting to think of investing in a pair… and I just looooooooooove your outfit!!
They look beautiful on you. so excited, I have kept my favorite pair of sevens all these years, definitely going to make a reappearance
Hi Caroline, just wondering will you be posting clothes only from ethical brands as you have partnered with capsule cladwell? I’m just curious as I love your current style but you had mentioned in a previous post that you would aim to buy ethical on new purchases, regards marie
Hi Marie! I love to link to responsibly made pieces whenever I find them. But I’m still learning about + hunting for responsibly made pieces myself. So right now, it’s a mix. However, if it’s responsibly made, you’ll see a note next to the link specifying that brand’s ethical practices. :) xo, Caroline
Marie @ The Business of Blooming says
I have to be honest, I actually really don’t like flare jeans, but as always, you’re style trumps all and I think you look great :) Not sure I could ever sport the flare look, but this outfit is perfect.
La Caleya says
Love this post!!!
Cute! The jeans look better on you than they do on the model on the Seven website.
I was somewhat upset when flares came back in. My thought was, “Didn’t we finally get rid of these?” but now that I’m getting used to seeing them around and in a non-late ’90s/early ’00s way, I’m ready to get my own pair. I keep telling myself the higher waisted styles will keep them from looking too early ’00s. As flattering as it was to see the tops of everyone’s thongs peeking out above their low-waisted flares back in the day!
“‘Didn’t we finally get rid of these'” – Love it! :) I agree…. sigh. Yep – at least low-rise pants are almost gone…. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else is, though! Don’t get me wrong, Caroline looks great – but I just don’t care to spend a bunch more time and money reconsidering my wardrobe needlessly. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got (helped along by Caroline with fine-tuning my style)!
Stacy, well that’s about the nicest compliment ever! Thank you :) xo, Caroline
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Too pretty!!! I haven’t owned flared jeans since elementary school :P
I was about 10 years old and only ever wore my favourite track suit (unless it was in the laundry) …
Hi, I was wondering if you have any experience with getting clothing tailored. Do you ever buy with the intent to tailor or do you seek out the perfect fit off the rack? How does that affect your budget and search? Happy to see new blog posts!
Hi Amy, I find that I do often seek to find that perfect fit off the rack, but I have nothing against tailoring! I think for many body types it’s a must! While looking for these jeans, I thought for sure I would need to leave room in my budget for tailoring, because I knew I wanted a specific fit. But I was lucky to find them off the rack.
I think it takes a lot of frustration out of clothing shopping when you know what small (and inexpensive) changes can be made to get a better fit — most clothes are not made to perfectly fit everyone. Sometimes we have to make ’em fit! :) xo, Caroline
I had this outfit that was flare jeans with flowery ribbons sewn around the bottom with white top that had the same ribbon detail around the neck. i thought it was the HEIGHT of fashion. and i secretly still think i was pretty cool :)
i would do flares again, but i have memories of never being able to find quite the right length. i have long legs, so regulars always seemed a bit too short. i’d buy talls/longs, but they’d get all frayed at the bottom because they were a bit too long. i know now i could get them tailored. still…the question about can the same pair work with both heels and flats interests me.
Hi Joy — I love the sound of that ribbon outfit! We were really going places back then. Haha :)
As for making the same pair of flare jeans work with high heels and flats? I don’t know if that’s possible! With a true flare, if you tailor it, you lose some of the flare, and it might end up looking it bit more like a boot-cut. I think you might be able to tailor a pair that works with a high heel and low heel — OR a low heel and a flat — but probably not both.
I was just saying to another reader, I would really look at it from a practical standpoint and decide what you will truly wear more, then decide from there. Hope that helps! :) xo, Caroline
okay, you are REALLY selling these to me now. i also grew up in the 00s….don’t have a great history with flares. but OMG THIS LOOK is really killing it. might need to try again!
Amy Robertson says
You must be too young to remember the 70s–that was when bell-bottoms were really at their height. The 00s were nothing in comparison. I want to add, however, that you look amazing in those jeans. In my opinion, boot-cut jeans hug a lady in all the right places, they create a perfect balance for a womans body, and really accentuate her curves. I feel, when I wear them, like I am basically flipping off the fashion industry and telling our society that a woman has every right to have some padding in all the right places–and even some “not-so-right” places. To me boot-cuts always look hip, fashionable, street-smart, etc. And you can’t beat them with boots of any height. Why do they EVER go out of style? (That’s what I want to know.)
Alina @EclecticAlu says
I feel the same way about buying jeans. I love the blouse and the jeans. Beautiful!
Love this outfit, such easy going flairs
This outfit is beautiful. I love high waist jeans. It’s so effortless and stylish.
I love the outfit! T-shirt/button up tucked into high waisted jeans is my go to :) I have a difficult time finding jeans that fit my waist and hips. Especially with flares and bootcut for whatever reason. Sad because I prefer them over skinny jeans 8 times out of 10.
I always thought you were taller than me! I would see you in heels and think, she’s already tall, why does she need heels? (Well because you wanted them of course) But I’m actually a half inch taller (I’m proud of that half inch as I’m the shortest person on my mom’s side). You must have longer legs than me :)
You look great! But I’ll pass on the flares trend. I hate the length issues with flare pants and boot cut pants, plus they make me look shorter, and I don’t like wearing heels just to get the height that I need to wear wider-leg pants. (In fact, I don’t even own heels anymore, thank goodness!) I AM thankful, however, that low-waisted pants are dying out. That trend just wasn’t right! :) Funny I don’t even remember flares being in in the 00s? I know all my business suits were wide leg pants back then, but my jeans and I thought everyone else’s were just boot cuts. Now the 70s – that I remember – I was too little in the 70s to actually wear them, but I loved them on my older cousins! By the time I was old enough, skinnies with zipper legs were in! Damn fashion industry! Ha!
Ooooooooo! I love this look so much! I actually bought two pairs of flares last fall, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the time, but I really do love the silhouette! As a previous poster mentioned, I do agree that they don’t look great cuffed, so I bought mine at a length that always requires heels. I’m petite, so I think flares with heels are better for me, anyway (lengthens my legs!).
Gosh, I went to college in the 90s, so I remember how much I treasured my Gap flares! And then a few years after I graduated, the low-rise boot cut reigned supreme. Then skinnies… ohmigosh, I fought that look for a good two years. Made fun of J.Crew’s first Toothpick jean. Sworn I’d never wear them. Aaaaaaaaaand completely ate my words after trying on a pair of Gap True Skinny jeans. LOL! Perhaps we’re finally at the point where ALL the cuts of jeans can finally be considered in style! Our flares, skinnies, and boot cuts can live in harmony AND NONE OF THEM CONSIDERED OUTDATED. (bUT I’m NEVER GONNA ROCK THOSE ULTRA LOW-RISE JEANS AGAIN. bLECH.)
caROLINE, I RECEIVED THOSE sTEVE mADDEN SHOES FOR MY BIRTHDAY (CARE OF MY HUSBAND AND KIDDOS), AND I LOVE THEM SO MUCH I SPRANG FOR THE BLACK PAIR AS WELL. a GREAT FIND! can’t WAIT TO BE INSPIRED BY MORE OF YOUR FLARE JEAN OUTFITS!
And I clearly had a problem with my caps lock as well. My apologies!
Danielle, you had me laughing about the caps lock too! :) Isn’t it funny how fashion (and our minds) can change so constantly? It’s nice when all the jeans can live in harmony and we can just find what works best for each of us individually :) xo, Caroline
Love this outfit!! I bought flares recently too and absolutely LOVE them as I am super nostalgic too of 00′ style and they are super comfy! I usually wear them with leather ankle boots, a wide silk blouse and indian or african/berber earrings. I’ll try to wear them with a wide shirt as in your outfit, I don’t own one but I recently started to sew so I’ll try to sew one that looks similar to yours! Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh my gosh, I know exactly what Gap cargo flares you’re referring to, as they were my signature jeans all through junior year! ? With the little white button-loop thingies? So awesome.
I love them!! I really want to try rocking the flare jeans again. (I seriously lived in my american eagle artist jeans for ALL of highschool) Only after high school did I really start to live in my skinny jeans, which I still wear today.
I LOVE my skinnies, but also, sometimes I find that they can be really restricting.
After seeing these pics I want to try flares out again. Can’t wait!
I bought a pair of Madewell skinnies because you love them so much, and you know what? They were NOT for me. Turns out I’m a Henry&Belle jeans girl all the way. I’m anxiously waiting until I can score a pair of their flares on ThredUP. Flares are my favorite, and I was sooooo sad when I finally retired my last pair a year ago or so.
I love Seven jeans! They’ve been my go to brand for years. They fit my body perfectly, are SO comfy and wear really well. Another great brand is Citizens of Humanity.
Could you talk a bit about your bag? Or have you done that already? (searched, but couldn’t find the post, if you have.) The amazon reviews are primarily in reference to it as a camera bag, but it looks great as a general tote. It seems to be exactly the sort of thing I’ve been looking for, but the price is pretty hefty. I would love to hear the details: how much it holds, how it feels on your shoulder after a long day, durability, how it fares in rain, etc. Is it extensively padded, or just lightly shaped?
Love your flares, and I hope they’re coming back for real. I seem to be the only person alive who prefers low-rise over mid/high-rise, but I’m on board with the bootcut!
Hi MK! This bag is super solid, very durable. I don’t know how it would hold up in the rain. I imagine if you treated it with a leather protector, it would do fine. I try not to put too much stuff inside of it for every day use, because it is a heavy leather. Really perfect for travel — love that it has the option to be a cross-body :) It has some padding, since it was made for camera use, but lots of that is removable and adjustable. :) Hope that helps! xo, Caroline
this helps! thanks for taking the time to read & reply!
I love the effortless feel of this look and these jeans bring a certain style that’s very unique! You pull them off very well! Love this post!
Sheila Durey says
Love your post. I just pulled my pair of Gingers out of retirement a couple weeks ago. I purchased them 2006. I think the reason, they did not go in the donate or consignment pile was because of the comfort factor. By far, one of the most comfortable jeans I own.
Thank you for your post. I find your style very relatable, even though I am in my late forties, the simplicity of your taste is timeless.
Love the look :( what’s the name of the jeans, please? is it the ‘Tailorless Ginger’ High Rise? the link just goes to the website and not the item. Thanks!
Hi Sethrin — it’s the Ginger Flare Leg Trouser jean in the color Royal Broken Twill. :) xo, Caroline
Thanks so much for your reply. You and your mom are babes. total babes. and I love our dogs!
Sorry…me again. can’t find them on the website. where did you buy yours? Thx!
You can try Nordstrom!
sethrin, try Amazon, too! I’ve found that their pricing is very fluid. I just scored a pair for $95 this morning… Good luck!
They’re cute and they look really good on you <3
These photos are stunning! I’ve been quite obsessed with flare jeans, and kind of wearing out mine. x Alona
Ugh! I had. Light pink pair of corduroy flares! Yikes, what was I thinking?!
I’ve never been a fan of flares personally, but I love how they look on other people! I’ve worn skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans for so long, I have no idea how it’d feel with all that extra space around my ankles haha.
Angelina Is | Bloglovin’
I love your style simple, nice and very stylish :)
Sevens were my first pair of expensive jeans and they fit so great!! I love that flares are back in style! I think they look so flattering on most people, but I think they only look good with heels! I am a tall and casual person. I like my flats! I think I’ll stick with my skinny jeans.
I love this outfit!!! I always loved flare jeans with heels for a casual look but was too chicken to try to pull it off, then I was secretly sad when it seemed to go out of style. Bring it back girl!!!
STIM BlOGGER MOM says
I absolutely love this outfit! I need to clone it, I have the perfect jeans and shoes.. I see a shopping trip in my future for a shirt inspired by this photo.
I just love flares!!!!
Kisses and God bless you
Bonnie rae says
You are truly such an inspiration Caroline! Your blog changed my life :) I haven’t ventured back to flared jeans but I am fully into the 90’s trend. I even picked up a mini backpack for my summer capsule!
Rachel Andersson says
I remember my first pair of flares, and boy were they ever flared — the most intense pair of Mudd Jeans bell-bottoms I bought at my 8th-grade fashion mecca, Contempo Casuals, and wore with a chenille baby tee from Gap and some platform jelly shoes. 1997 was the best year ever.
In high school, more tame flares from Express were the go-to, with J.Crew sweaters and those hideous black Steve Madden platform slides with the stretchy band.
By college, my fave flares were from Gap and I wore them with vintage tees and my hot-pink Saucony sneakers… very cool **eye roll**
I’m so glad they’re back and I’m wearing my dark indigo Hudson flares as we speak :D
Do you think it is possible to make flares work with flat sandals…I have some camel colored faux leather sandals (kind of a salt water style sandal)…..they are the only shoes I wear in the summer (except when I’m doing something more active)….I rarely rarely rarely do anything with a heel because I’m horrible at heels and I can’t chase my kids as well. That said, I really want to try flares but they have to work with these sandals or else…no flares for me!
Hey Melissa! Absolutely they can work with sandals — just have to be the right length. :) xo, Caroline
Thought some of you might like to know that the Sevens worn by Caroline are now on sale at Nordstrom :)
J Brand are my favorite flares and jeans in general (expensive but flattering in ALL body types) but I also love Madewell.