70s trends have been coming back in a big way for a few years now, and as much as I’ve embraced the return of polo necks, all things brown and been tempted by fringing, I had yet to feel like I could pull off some of the silhouettes – after all, does anyone know how to wear flares? I love flares on those teeny tiny instagram models with their nipped in waists and the flares making them look taller and slimmer, but with my meaty thighs (which I recently learned have a greater circumference than Chris Hoy – don’t ask) I felt like they wouldn’t be flaring out so much as just going straight down.
I think it goes back to my youth in the dark blue, bootcut jeans of the early 00s. I was told the bootcut shape would “balance” my silhouette, and the shade would be “slimming”. I was told that at 11 and then I wonder why I have body image issues – not hard to figure out is it? The rise of the skinny jean was freedom from soggy jeans and feeling like I had to wear a certain shape to flatter me. I remember my Nan telling me that they made me look bigger, and thinking “well I like them, I’m going to wear them anyway”. I still love a skinny jean, but I’ve started to crave a slightly different trouser shape. I’ve learnt to love peg leg trousers and anything cropped, but wide legs and flares elude me.
When a few of my blogger pals started putting together a shoot with a 70s theme, I knew I would finally have to take the plunge. I went to Cow, one of the biggest vintage stores in Manchester, and found a pair of vintage flares in a houndstooth print that I loved on the hanger. Then I tried them on, and felt rather differently. I have what I call a “pooch”. I’m a bit on the chubby side, and one of the areas I carry my weight is my lower abdomen, giving me the pooch. It’s pretty much invisible in most dresses and a lots of skirts, and jeans are decent at disguising it, but in some clingier trousers it’s very obvious. The stretchy material of the flares made the pooch blindingly obvious to me, and I felt very self conscious. However, I needed some flares for the rapidly approaching shoot, and these were the only ones I’d found that fitted me, so I bought them anyway.
I hate the idea of buying a piece for a shoot and then never wearing it again, so I knew that if I was buying these trousers I had to get comfortable in them and integrate them in my daily wardrobe. So began my mission to figure out how to wear flares.
I began with an extremely 70s outfit which is a huge amount of fun to wear, but a bit of a statement. I wore my Saturday by Megan Ellaby Well Good jumper from Depop for that seriously 70s red-brown shade (which you’ll be seeing a lot of this season), plus some red faux-croc Topshop boots I picked up at a Sue Ryder, and while it’s a LOOK, I bloody love it, pooch and all. The heels on the boots make me stand taller and feel more confident, and I always feel great in that jumper. I wanted to just dive straight in at the deep end, which is not something I would always necessarily recommend when you’re trying to integrate a new statement piece. In this case though, I know that I always feel great in that jumper and those boots, so even though it was definitely a little daring for me, I was determined to give it a try.
Since I’d already gone for a statement look, I wanted to go for a more low-key and wearable outfit. I combined my favorite Superga trainers with a plain t-shirt and khaki blazer for an outfit that I feel chic in for running around town or brunch with the girls, and the trousers are super comfy, meaning I can eat my weight in avocados or french toast. Combining something outrageous with clothes that make me feel comfortable is the easiest way for me to become more at ease in a new piece.
I’ll probably never give up my skinny jeans entirely – or jeans in general, now that’d be a challenge for another blog post – but I definitely feel like these won’t be festering at the back of my wardrobe or destined for a charity shop. I’m a long way from feeling happy about the pooch, but it’s simply a matter of getting used to seeing my body in different clothes. I love the 70s vibe and they’re so comfy that I could sit around in them for hours. Overall, I think despite my initial fears they’re a valuable addition to my wardrobe, and I really do think I’ve figured out how to wear flares. This is supposed to be the first in a series as I address some of fashion fears, all the things that I’m not so sure are “me” and trying to integrate them into my wardrobe in a way that works and I feel comfortable. There will be more in the series coming soon!