Bigger is finally better when it comes to finding the perfect pair of jeans, at least below the knee. Flared and bootleg styles are enjoying a resurgence, banishing recent revivals of acid wash, cropped clam diggers and baggy boyfriend denim to the last-season pile, along with buttock-baring cut-offs (what were we thinking?).
“People just love the fun of a flare,” said Liz Roberts, chief executive of Australian denim brand One Teaspoon. “The skinny jean was serious. We saw the move from them a while ago. With a flare, you can be a bit more sophisticated, you look polished but not like you’re trying too hard. It’s still a pair of jeans.”
Flares and bootleg styles are staging a street style comeback. Models Valerie Wetmore and Natalia Loaiza wearing One Teaspoon.Credit:Louise Kennerley
The exaggerated style emerged on the international runways at Celine and Gucci and has been taken up with gusto in Australia by Zimmermann and By Johnny, making its way down the fashion food chain to G-Star and Wrangler.
For One Teaspoon, a favourite with model Chrissy Teigen and actress Margot Robbie, the style is gaining popularity locally, catching up with strong demand from US customers, particularly in the city that never sleeps on a trend, New York.
“This is for that sexy customer. Our American customer is all over it. This is not your hippie drippy flare,” said Roberts. “Think Studio 54 instead of Woodstock.”
Shoppers at department store David Jones have also ditched the skinny jean, embraced the straight leg and are moving towards flares, with a pit stop at bootlegs. The ’90s-style bootleg was given the official blessing of Kate Moss, front row at London Fashion Week and is seen as the gateway denim drug to more flamboyant styles.
Jeans of the season: Valentino runway spring 2022; Street style at Paris Fashion Week; Zimmermann spring 2022.Credit:Getty
“These are for the customers who are moving out of lockdown and want to make a statement. Many of them will get comfortable with a bootleg before moving on to the flare, which is already popular with the fashion forward customer,” said Natasha Halket, denim buyer for David Jones.
While traditional denim washes remain the core of the business, Halket is seeing a shift towards colours as part of the optimistic spring mood.
“Pink seems to be our most popular colour across all fashion categories. This is loungewear, stay-at-home fatigue at work. Coloured denim styles are a way of tapping into that desire to dress up and brands like Rolla’s do it particularly well.”
Actor Ben Platt wearing flares by Christian Cowan to The Met Gala.Credit:Invision
At One Teaspoon, Roberts has taken a different approach, with tattoo prints making their mark on lighter flared styles with lace up fronts, sending eyes darting all over the denim landscape. “They make you feel more confident. After being stuck at home for so long, everyone who wants to step out, wants to show off, and they are a show-off piece.”
Men are also peacocking in bootleg and flared jeans, which cross the ever-shrinking gender divide. Luxury e-tailer MatchesFashion reports week on week growth in the area, on the back of the style’s runway appearances and trend setter Harry Styles love for the style.
“I think this increase in demand is because the flare has returned as a multitasking item, as they speak to the blurring of gender boundaries, and they also work extremely well with tailoring,” said Damien Paul, head of menswear, MatchesFashion.
“Public figures such as Harry Styles, who has collaborated with designer Harris Reed and Gucci, wears flares with confidence and we’ve noticed a mood emerging that encourages a sense of self-expression, dressing for yourself and the sheer joy we are seeing from wearing clothes that feel fun.”
So, is there time to zip yourself into this trend before the next influence arrives? “There is still potential growth in this area as from what I can see from the buying habits of our customer, they are becoming far more confident and experimental in their approach to dressing, which is only a good thing,” Paul said.
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