Flares for the short: Can these pass?

Already on Angie's blog post today -- and in the forum -- there's been some discussion about getting the proportions of flares correct if you are on the shorter side -- and whether they can work for a variety of body types. Or how. 

I wore flares along with everybody else back in the 70s. That's what we did. And I like the look. Like Angie, I would need to style it in a non-boho way to feel good in it, but as someone who wears denim almost every day, I am certainly in favour of different silhouettes, and unafraid to experiment with these. I particularly like the faded versions. 

The two barriers for me are: 

1. Climate. I fear I won't get a lot of wear from a jean that can't go out in inclement weather -- rain or snow, and that I won't wear in my hot summers. 

2. Proportion. As several others have mentioned, it can be difficult to get proportions right on a shorter woman. At 5'4", I am not truly petite (and can't wear petite pants -- they are too short) -- but I'm obviously not as tall and willowy as a model. And as someone whose thighs are my curviest feature, I tend to feel a bit like Leoparddluxe; I worry that it makes me look bigger than I am. 

Here are my old GAP Long and Leans. These are technically boot cuts. I had them hemmed by several inches because they were way too long at purchase. They work with a 2.75 inch heel for me. (I've actually got on a very slightly shorter heel in the pics.) 

My questions: Do these pass as "flares" on someone with my proportions? The thighs fit snug on me (because I have curvy thighs, I suspect). They start to flare out at the knee. The hems are now 18" wide. 

I would love your thoughts. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • leopardluxe replied 8 years ago

    To be 100% honest I'm really not crazy about how these look on you. I think they're having that same effect that the flare from knee cut has on me, where the overall effect makes you look shorter and wider than you are in reality (because I've seen your other awesome outfit posts, I know how fab your figure is and these really are doing the opposite of what most of your outfits do --which is make you look fantastic!).

    Have you tried a wide leg style that starts its' flare more at the hip/thigh instead? I find those to be incredibly flattering on someone with your proportions and figure.

  • leopardluxe replied 8 years ago

    These are examples of the cut I'm referring to. They are fitted in the waist, hip and top of butt and then start to flare out at the thigh and continue to widen down to a wide leg hem -- so they don't cling to the thigh. I think this cut looks more flattering personally. :-)

  • Janet replied 8 years ago

    I dunno, LL, I don't see unflattering at all. I think they look darn good.

  • Helena replied 8 years ago

    I agree with Janet, I think you look amazing in this outfit ... I love that look. I think they are understated flares, can we make that a thing? They have the look of flares without being dramatic about it ... they do look more flare-y than boot-cut to me.

    As an aside - I want that belt!!! It's so cool and adds such a pop to every outfit.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    LL, I appreciate your honesty! And Janet, I appreciate the boost! I think it does go to show, as Angie says .... horses for courses. I'm actually of two minds about it, myself. 

    LL -- the jeans you are showing look sort of like wide legs to me. Those look pretty awful on me in denim -- it is too stiff a fabrication. I do have a pair of wide leg trousers in wool that I like. I think in some ways they make me look wider (give less structure) than the bootcut jeans, but I am okay with that. They drape and move really well. 

  • Transcona Shannon replied 8 years ago

    In short (pardon the pun - lol!) YES! I just posted on Angie's blog that I'm like you in that bootcuts act as flares on my shorter legs. I love the look of these and think they follow the same guidelines as flares - fitted in the waist, hip and thighs and flared from the knees down. I've always like the L&L cut and think they look fantastic on you.

    I won't be spending any dollars on flares for the same reasons you mentioned - our streets won't be dry enough to have ground skimming hems any time soon and then we'll be too hot to wear them anyway.

    leopardluxe - in looking at the pics you've provided I think those trousers almost read more as wide leg as opposed to flare. My understanding from Angie's description is that flares are fitted in the thigh and don't widen until the knee.

  • leopardluxe replied 8 years ago

    Suz, I love the wide leg pants on you! That's the fit I'm referring to. You find this fit doesn't work well for you in denim? Is it because the denim is too thick?

  • Golden replied 8 years ago

    I think they look like flares and they look like they fit really well. I wouldn't wear them but I personally don't love flares but I do like boot cut! But they look great on you and if you love them you should definitely wear them. My honest opinion.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Yes...in denim it is too crisp, too thick, and does not drape. I had a pair of wide legs in denim and the forum universally (though politely) suggested I pass on them. Now, the particular ones I had might have been at fault, but overall, it is a look that tends to make me look a lot shorter unless I am wearing sky high platforms, which is something I don't do. 

    On the other hand, I love wide leg trousers like the ones I am wearing above. As long as there is drape and movement to the fabric I think it works. 

    But, as Shannon says, I don't think a wide leg and a flare (or a boot cut) are the same. I think a flare is snug in the thigh and widens at the knee. 

  • Lisa replied 8 years ago

    I am biased because I've always liked bootcuts, so I like these on you.  Do I think they are a flare, no, because the width of the bottom looks almost equal to the top and I always thought flares were wider at the bottom than the top.  But these are certainly not skinny jeans and a nice way to take a break from skinnies when the weather allows.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago


    That is a good point, Lisa. It might mean that "flares" are impossible for me to wear. With my thighs being so curvy, they would have to be really, really wide to be wider than that! 

  • Lisa replied 8 years ago

    I've only had one pair of jeans work as flares for me, and they were really, really wide.  I was almost tripping on all the extra fabric.  As a pear, I have a lot of bulk in the thigh area.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Do you remember the brand, Lisa? I know you've done a thorough job of researching all bootcut/ flared styles. 

  • Astrid replied 8 years ago

    Maybe they aren't flares by definition, but I love them on you! I think they look great. Also wondering about how you can really tell a bootcut from a flare anyway. I get that flares are tight and only flare under the knee, but what if I am so curvy that my thights fit snugly into bootcuts anyway even if they are supposed to have some wiggle room in the thighs?

  • Beth Ann replied 8 years ago

    Yes, yes, yes!  I love this outfit on you, absolutely.  Of course, that's one of my favorite sweaters, and pairing something so cozy, but modern, with the flares is  an excellent choice. 

    I don't find them widening at all --- I find them figure softening, which on a straighter form is a marvelous choice.  Oddly, I look best in flares when they're quite fitted and curvy --- but it's not appropriate, unless I get a job dancing.  Like a different kind of dancing. 

    The dark wash and drape are dressier than most flares, too.  Good for "work denim" looks.

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    (Thanks for linking from the post, Sweet Suz). 

    You nailed it. Proportions look spot on. I wear my new flares with a two inch heel myself - so even lower. 

  • carter replied 8 years ago

    I think they look great. Whether they are technically flares or not is really irrelevant, because they give the "vibe" of flares. As another girl with curvy thighs, I totally get the "no wide leg denim" thing. I have one pair of cream wide leg denim jeans that look so darned good on the hanger but make me look 4 feet wide. I put them on because I'm drawn to them, but I never end up wearing them out of the house. Time to pass them on. On curvy thighs, I think the structure provided by slim-in-the-thigh pants really helps to proportion everything nicely.

    Back to your question...yes, I definitely think the silhouette works on someone on the shorter side. I'm only an inch taller than you, AND I can't wear heels. So when dressed, you're taller than me. Without heels, I can't achieve the legs-that-go-on-forever look, but I do think the silhouette still works ok with flats. These are bootcuts with a very wide leg opening, although I must have been standing funny in the picture because they don't look nearly as wide as they are.

  • Neel replied 8 years ago

    Yes!!! I love it!! I think its perfect!

  • kellygirl replied 8 years ago

    Ooh, I'm so glad you posted this, Suz. I'm breaking out my LL today!

  • Gracie replied 8 years ago

    I had a pair of L&L jeans and they always looked flared on me too, I think they look great on you. I took mine to resale because I ended up not liking the pocket spacing and positioning on the rear.
    I'm thinking of ordering the 678 Jeans from The Limited. I tried them on in the store, I liked them a lot and they fit great, but were too long. The short length is sold only online. They are not  a typical jean cut (which you mentioned maybe you don't have a lot of use for), but the material is gray jean fabric (also a chambray-like version), and what I liked best is the wide hems, similar to what Angie posted. I have to measure and see if the 30" on the short will work for me, then decide if to order. If I do, I'll report my findings. (The length shown on the photo is cringe-worthy, I know)

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Carter, you look totally fab in that outfit. Love that sweater on you. 

    Angie, thank you. You have two inches of height on me and are slimmer in the leg, so I'll bet you look fantastic in the flares. I have a slender friend my height who is also long in the leg proportionately and there is no look that is better on her. Mind you, she also tends to wear really high heels with them. 

    Beth Ann, you had me spitting out my coffee with your "dancing" comment!! I like what you say about "figure softening." I think they do give me curves, or emphasize the few curves I have. That is why opinions might be divided. Some people like the look of curves and some don't. 

    Thank you, Astrid, and you have nailed the issue. These boot cuts, anyway, are super snug on my thigh. So does that automatically make them flares? Maybe so. 

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Thanks, Neel, and Kelly, can't wait to see yours! I was hoping some people would remember they had some Long and Leans in their closets!! 

    Gracie, that is really interesting - I'd love to see these if you get them. 

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 8 years ago

    I really like these on you, Suz!   I don't think they make you look shorter, or widen you in any way.   You look casual and relaxed and groovy - but they don't read as crisp or polished or decisive - and I always felt that those were part of your look.   And yet, I feel you would command all the eyes when you walked into any room,  in your outfit.

    You know, I was under the impression you are 5'6" or taller.   Are you shorter than that?   You always look tall in your photos :)

    And I am curious to know if flares are going to trend in non-denim?   I had a pair of pink Victoria's Secret flared pants that I loved - and I donated them last year because I thought they were dated.   They would have been perfect this spring, with the pastels trend.   SIGH.

  • Mary Beth (formerly LBD) replied 8 years ago

    OMG, LL, your pics didn't load immediately with my super-slow internet.   You look fantastic in those pants!   

  • Diana replied 8 years ago

    I think they're great. This is how my bootcuts fit. (I think people used to define flares as >20" at the hem and bootcuts as under? I could be wrong though.)

    By the way, for the curvy thigh crowd, I have lucky sweet n lows, which are a good fit on more generous thighs. Bonus: they come in different inseams so the proportions are better than buying longer and chopping.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    Thanks, LBD. You are sweet. :) And I am sad about your pink pants....maybe we should all be out trolling the thrift and consignment stores before the rest of the world catches on that flares are coming back....

    I am 5'4" (if that.) Probably more like 5'3.5", to be truly honest. Or even 5'3". But I am insisting on 5'4" because at least a couple of times that is what my doctor's measurement has told me.  :)

  • Marmee replied 8 years ago

    I like this on you, but to be honest, it's not my favorite look.  Maybe it's just flashbacks to the 70s? But it's nice for some variety. 

  • gryffin replied 8 years ago

    Suz - I think the bootcuts look good on you and I like the outfit.  I tend to style these with a really fitted top, crew neck ribbed tank (black of course) or for you even wear a turtle neck.  I want my length in my torso so I add a black belt, if you want the length in your legs do you have a belt with less contrast to the jeans?  Also if you have a tux jacket that is cropped and has those little angled points toward the ground this really enhances the vertical line.  But I like it as is too!!

  • April replied 8 years ago

    Works for me, Suz, but then I wear wide-legged denim too (agree with you that it's better if it's worn out a little so it's not like cardboard.) 

  • texstyle replied 8 years ago

    I think you nailed it too Suz and these look great - no shortening effect from my view and they seem perfectly on trend. Have you tried them with a simple white shirt and blazer? I'll bet they'd look fantastic on you that way too.

  • catgirl replied 8 years ago

    Have not read comments other than Leopardluxe but I love this, Suz - it is right along the lines of the look I posted with tee and blazer. LL's version is more like the wide leg trouser jeans I used to have, but I think the bell look is what is trending right now. And I don't see this as unflattering - I want to look like this! I think a huge flare could overwhelm and needs to be proportionate to our size but still maintain the integrity of the look.

    Off to read comments!

  • Angie replied 8 years ago

    Suz, I don't see unflattering. I see fresh fabness. (I may have two inches of extra height but I do not have long legs. They are just regular length. My neck and arms got all the length). 

    Diana, my new flares are 21 inches so you are spot on. And like you, I find baby bootcuts an odd style with heels. The break line looks weird. 

  • Alassë replied 8 years ago

    I agree with the others - these pass as flares on you, and look perfectly proportioned. Way to go, closet shopper!

  • Angela K replied 8 years ago

    Suz, I think you look fantastic in this outfit, whether or not they are acutally flares.

    I know I am telling my age but...when I was in elementary school I had several pair of flairs--both jean and otherwise (polyester probably--hey this was in the 70s after all - and yes they were worn with a matching bodysuit--I really thought I was "it" in those outfits...:)  Anyway we always called those really large flairs "elephant ears" and I think that is still a really good description for them.

    Now I don't think I'll go that dramatic but I really like the silhouette of the flairs and can't wait to put them back in rotation.  (Not in polyester though! :)

  • shiny replied 8 years ago

    I think they pass just fine. May I ask how you had the hem done? Is it like in the examples in the blog post today - an inch or two wide? To me, that seems to be a factor in what makes a flare a flare, versus a bootcut. 

    I'm 4 inches shorter than you, but I do wear and love flares -- even more than boot cuts. In boot cuts I tend to feel dumpier, wider, shorter. Unless it's a baby bootcut. Go figure? 

    ... and now you compelled me to go haul out my jeans and lay them flat to compare... I compared:

    My old CoH Huttons, which don't fit at the moment (22 inch flare)
    New BR trouser cuts (17 inches)
    and two pairs of Paige's I am considering right now -- 
    The Canyon, which is marketed as a high-waisted flare (22 inches)
    The Skyline, which is marketed as a mid-rise bootcut (20 inches)

    I have not let the CoH's go just yet, they were such a favorite, I am looking for a replacement, now that flares are trending again. I had to remove quite a lot of length from those but the flare still measures 22 inches. They were quite fitted in the thigh -- all the way through the knee. As fitted as my skinnies are, in fact. Then at the knee, they flared. I preferred them with a 2-1/2 inch heel, but duplicated and had second pair hemmed for flats. Not quite as ideal but to my eye, they still somehow magically worked. Yes, even though I'm only 5'0 tall.

    I am leaning towards keeping the Paige Canyon's, they fit me very similar to the old favorite CoH Hutton's, including ideal rise (9 inches). 

    Comparing the Paige's, I cannot see much of a difference when laid flat, except of course the rise is lower and the Skyline's are 20 inches vs 22 inches for the Canyon's.  20 inches sounds awfully wide for a bootcut, doesn't it? Hmmm. However on my body, yeah, I could have sworn the Canyon's were much more of a flare and the Skyline's look like a bootcut. I dunno... I wonder if RISE could make such a difference in what the eyes perceive? What do you think?

    I do not currently have any other boot cuts to compare. I had some CoH boot cuts but they are languishing in storage. There was something about those that just never worked for me, I felt short in those.

    Meanwhile he BR trouser cuts are  pretty close at 17 inches, but when I lay them flat, the difference is that the leg is pretty much the same width all the way down from the crotch point.  I do like them, they are a classic. But I think I look TALLER & SLIMMER in the Canyon's, and also the Hutton's. 

    I will add here that in general any sort of trouser cut pant, if not petite, tends to fit me like a wide leg pant -- i.e., way too much width so that I am swallowed up, and do look wider and shorter than I am. 

  • Thistle replied 8 years ago

    Late to the party  *waves to her sweater twin*

    But I like these on you. They look fresh and modern, and spot on to what Angie posted.

    I am not sure what look you are going for . . . maybe a bit more 70s, but I think these are totally 2014.

  • Suz replied 8 years ago

    I really enjoy all these comments. What I notice is that (as so often) our body type somewhat influences whether we have sugar eye or poison eye for the look. 

    Una and Jennifer are ITS with slim legs --- I think that is partly why this look would work really well on both of you. Your thighs are not the thickest part of you and the flares balance your shoulders. 

    In my case I do think it is trickier because my thighs are my biggest part. But I do have wide shoulders as well which helps to balance it. 

    Shiny, I love your recommendations of brands and the measurements -- thank you! I might look up those Huttons because I'm betting they would be fab for me as well. I really, really love my CoH Racer jeans -- the fit just feels right in the upper body. So a flare that started out like that in the thigh would be ideal. 

    Angela, you are not dating yourself, or if you are, please know that I was already in high school through some of the 70s.  So flares are for sure in my fashion formative years. 

    Angie, Thistle, Alassee, Texstyle, and all --  thank you. 

  • Dee replied 8 years ago

    I think these look fab on you and can definitely qualify as flares given the proportion of the flare relative to your height. I think it's all about the proportion when you're short (I'm 5'2") and yours work well.

    In terms of brands, I've also got so-called generous thighs and I'll second Diana's recommendation for Lucky Brand. They're always cut a little more generously in the thigh. I've also had good luck with Paige, especially since they make regular as well as petite length, which is more important in a flare than a straight length when it comes to fit/hemming.

  • replied 8 years ago

    The only jeans I own are GAP Long and Lean (bought the last few pairs left since they were discontinued) and I always thought they were a flare. I never had to hem the average lengths because they work prefect if I wear sneakers or a low heeled shoe. The talls I hem an inch and can wear with high heeled boots or shoes and I wear them year round, unless of course we have a foot of snow.

    I like the GAP because carry jeans for short, average, and tall gals.

    Oh, and count me in as a girl from the 70's in her bell bottom pants. I loved that look while my parents just shirked.

  • Lantana replied 8 years ago

    Suz, these are "your" flares. There were all different kinds of flares back in the 70's and I happened across an extreme example just today. They were cut like skinnies, tubelike to the calf then flaring suddenly and dramatically at the heel like an Art Nouveau lily.

  • SW Ann replied 8 years ago

    Suz, I think you look great.  I think of these as flares, and I'm quite partial to the look, having never given it up all through the skinny jean era.  I've been wearing the Jag Foster Flares  (no longer avail) for a good while now, and feel taller and leaner even with only 1 1/2 " heels on.  I think most women look better in this look, with PPL.  However, I definitely understand the love of skinny jeans esp in areas that get snow, ice and rain.  My climate gets almost of none of that.  I also thought that the pants with wider legs all the way down were known as "trouser" cut....?

  • sarah replied 8 years ago

    I think these are perfect.

  • Sveta replied 8 years ago

    I think they work perfectly - as simple as that. :-)
    I think proportions are spot on and his is the main thing for me.
    Now if only we can master that weather to cooperate: I so hear you on limiting opportunities to wear them in our climate with wet springs and hot summers...

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    Yes, they look like flares, and you look terrific in them. I lover your styling--perfect. Thanks for taking the plunge with the look-- and posting!
    Very interesting discussion on flares versus bootcuts. I just tried on some jeans I haven't worn for a few years, which I think are flares, and I'm jumping on the bandwagon soon!

  • Laura replied 8 years ago

    This makes me wonder if GAP will bring Long & Leans back in store (last I checked they were relegated to online only), because they look so fresh on you. I do love a faded flare for summer with platform sandals!

  • Caro in Oz replied 8 years ago

    VERY late - just wanted to say yes!!

  • ManidipaM replied 8 years ago

    1. Yes and I want to look like this too please!

    2. Ditto Astrid. FWIW, I look awful in wide leg denim unless I go all the way to worn boyfriend territory.

    3. It is a given that things won't look like they do on the model if you deviate at all from the typical proportionate person or dress form... and most of us do. Most straight legs become bootcuts on me due to the butt and thigh and calves needing extra room to fit while bootcuts become flares often enough... this is ok, isn't it? Like Angie says regarding size labels, how does it matter when no one knows what's written there?

  • Karie replied 8 years ago

    Once again I am late to this party, but it's been a crazy busy week and today is "YLF catch up day!" So with coffee in hand...

    These look like flares to me! Maybe just-barely-flares as in a step above bootcuts, but flares none the less. I also think the fit looks spot on. They make your legs look a mile long!

    I do love a nice flared jean, and of course since I'm on the tall side of average and the short side of tall, they are hard to find at the correct length.

    I say you've once again hit the nail on the head with another perfect outfit :) 

  • Elizabeth P replied 8 years ago

    I think these look great on you Suz.  I bought white L&L's last year, guess I was ahead of the trend :)

  • Lyn D. replied 8 years ago


  • Jaime replied 8 years ago

    I am getting very into these flares looking at all these fab pictures. You look terrific to me!

  • Joy replied 8 years ago

    I think that they look great on you.  I had Long and Leans and sadly think they were purged last fall, but I'd be having the same issues as you do except that they were not tight through the thighs.  My biggest issue was that they needed more of a heel than I wear on a daily basis.

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 8 years ago

    I think it's fabulous and is definitely the flare style you were aiming for.  The facial expression on your second photo option says it all.... if you feel that way, then it's a nay in my book...

  • replied 8 years ago

    Well, if these fit wrong, I have been wearing mine wrong for years. I think they look amazing.

  • Elly replied 8 years ago

    I think they do good things for your proportions without being over-dramatic-- they look more like a flare than a bootcut to my eye. Wear them in good health while the weather is working in your favor.

  • Day Vies replied 8 years ago

    I see nothing wrong with the proportions on these bona fide flares. I am only 1 inch taller than you at 5'5"and I happen to wear petite tops and jackets (go figure - I'm not a petite either ;-)). I say wear with wild abandon. They are perfectly dark washed and will look so fresh and crisp paired with white button-down tops or your b/w patterned tops. Have fun with them! 

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