6 In Getting Dressed

Flared Jeans for the Modern Woman

Brenda Kinsel's Best Tips and Advice for Wearing Flares Over 60

Turning flared jeans into a work outfit


Flared jeans are in. Are you in them? (You don’t have to be, by the way!) But it may be time to consider them.
You’ve probably heard that old “rule” where if you wore a trend in the past, you have to avoid it when it comes around again. I adamantly disagree. Flared jeans are flattering, easy to dress up, and perfect for some work settings (like mine!).


Cowboy boots and flared jeans on BrendaKinsel.com

Flared jeans and cowboy boots



Picking at that old rule: Never wear it again if you’ve been through the trend once already.

Styling flared jeans for the modern woman

Styling flared jeans for the modern woman


I pretty much thought this jean style would be loved by a much younger generation.

Can a woman who wore them in the ’70s wear them … oh my gosh, I just did the math! … FORTY YEARS later?

I was coaxed into trying them on by my fashion muse, Mariam, at Nordstrom.

“Oh Brenda, you have to have a flared jean. You’ll like it, Honey. Just try one on.”


Wearing dressy jackets with jeans on BrendaKinsel.com

A silk jacket dresses up a flared jean


When I tried them on for the first time in forty years, it felt a little odd. I’d been living in the skinny jean (and liking it once I got over abhorring it). The bottom edges were so far away from my skinny-jean-calves!

But when my fear left, my memory kicked in about why flares are so darn great. They’re flattering to most body shapes. They give you legs for miles.

I love the way they hug the thigh and then flare out from the knee.

I instantly felt the strong contrast to skinny jeans that hug all the way from the top to the bottom.

There’s a free feeling to flares. Free at last, free at last, my calves are free from compression at last.

“Would flared jeans work for me?”

I know some people are suspicious when something new comes on the scene. But neither height nor weight nor age should make you not consider this jean style option. I’d like to encourage you and dispel any notions you may have that makes you think you can’t wear them.

I’ve worked with several clients and helped them with flared jeans. Here’s what I know from working with several body shapes:

  1. Women in petite sizes can wear flares.
  2. If you shop for plus sizes, you’ll find flares that fit you beautifully.
  3. I don’t know if you remember this about flares but they really are great for balancing the hip line. If you’re a curvy girl, they’ll follow your curves and then bell out. It’s a great proportion.
  4. Remember, there are flares and then there are FLARES. I don’t wear the full-on bell bottoms that Grace Slick wore when she was with the Jefferson Airplane. I go for a flared jean that is more modified. Paige Transcend Bell Canyon High Rise is my favorite. Here’s one available at Nordstrom called James Jeans. For contrast, here’s a wide flared Hudson jean that might feel too exaggerated to the modern woman.
  5. I go for the dark indigo because I know I can dress it up or down easily. I currently don’t encourage wearing flares that are ripped, patchworked, heavily faded or super distressed. They start to look really funky. If that’s your style then definitely try them on.


Flattering flared jeans on BrendaKinsel.com

Flared jeans are flattering

Flared jean tips for a great look

  1. Hem them the longest you can without them dragging on the ground. A short flared jean is not flattering. When you get it as long as you can, it’s elegant.
  2. Flares look great with heels. I’ve worn them with kitten heel heights.
  3. They’ll be great with heeled booties or cowboy boots.
  4. If you plan to wear them with flats and heels, consider buying two pairs of flares and having them hemmed to each heel height. Remember, keeping them long is the key.


Pearls add to a dressy flared jean pant

Wearing pearls with flares


Flared jeans are great for my lifestyle. Maybe they’d be great for yours?

My lifestyle is flared jean friendly. I can dress them up to go out and feel plenty fancy. I like wearing them with a jacket (like the butter-yellow one above) that comes in at the waist. I will happily pile on pearls to make the outfit feminine.


Flares and cowboy boots go together like toast and jam on BrendaKinsel.com

Enjoying my flares with cowboy boots


I create a more country look with this outfit above. I’m wearing my cowboy boots (so very comfortable for hours and hours). I’ve got my blue and white checked shirt on with a shawl collared cashmere cardigan.

Again, the cardigan follows my curves.

While I often go big on top when I’m wearing skinny jeans, I like to keep things nipped in a bit when I’m wearing my flares.


Feeling modern in a flared jean outfit

Erin and Brenda wearing jean outfits


This version above with me in my flared jean and Erin in her skinny jeans, is perfect for work. I’ve turned it into a suit by wearing my Dior-inspired navy jacket with it. I made it fun by going for a navy and white checked shirt under it. I’ve layered two necklaces inside the collar and added bracelets galore.





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  • Reply
    October 13, 2016 at 5:30 am

    Love the flares Brenda! I actually bought a pair of NYDJ dark indigo a few months ago and look forward to wearing them now that the hot weather is behind us. Thanks for the reminders about what looks best on top. I do usually abide (strongly!) by the rule about already having had my turn when styles like this return from years ago, but agree with an exception for this one. A nice change from skinny jeans and actually a lot more flattering. I am still working on the idea of leggings, haven’t gone there yet but maybe it’s time to check them out too!

    • Reply
      October 14, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Hi Deanne, I just saw an add in a fashion magazine for the NYDJ flares. They looked so great!!! I hope you make some great outfits with yours this weekend and test them out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Tangerine Meg
    October 14, 2016 at 2:08 am

    You look so happy and make playing with outfits look so much fun! M x o

    • Reply
      October 14, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Now that’s the loveliest thing I’ve heard today. Playing with clothes definitely is my happy place. Is it yours, Tangerine?

  • Reply
    Jacquie Denny
    October 14, 2016 at 8:12 am

    My daughter took me to Nordstrom a few months ago and talked me into a pair of Madewell flared jeans. They are comfortable and flattering. They hemmed them for me to wear with flats. Thanks for the advice on length. I’ll need to buy another pair to wear with low heels.

    • Reply
      October 14, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Great! I’m glad your daughter got you into them. It does seem to be something that requires a little prodding. Good for you!

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