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.”
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.
“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.