When it comes to fashion, the old adage holds true: everything old is new again. And while some styles — like the 90s pairing of belly-magnifying high-waisted pants with short tops or curve-erasing oversized blazers from the 80s — are better left in the past, we’re seeing the return of one that we can get on board with: flare jeans from the 70s. We’re not talking full-on bell bottoms, but a more modernized version of the flowy-bottom pant style. The leg-elongating, hourglass-highlighting design has been seen on celebrities like Heidi Klum and Padma Lakshmi. Even better? We asked celebrity stylist how to style flare jeans so that they look ultra flattering for any occasion. Here, seven looks you’re sure to love.
Why are flare jeans flattering on women over 50?
As women, the struggle to find the perfect jean for our figure is universal. We want a pair that carves out curves, molds to our shape, hides flaws and trouble spots and has some stretch; after all, you want to feel comfortable in the more casual piece of clothing. To the rescue: flare jeans like the ones 53-year-old Padma Lakshmi is donning above. They skim over belly bumps, hug legs to pull the eye up and down for a taller, leaner look and flare out the bottom to balance out hips, explains celebrity stylist Eric Himel, who has worked with Giuliana Rancic and Tia Mowry.
The key to getting the most out to the slimming jean is how you style them. “Flare jeans can elongate a leg, especially when you get the proportion correct with the top,” says Himel. “Think of the 1/3 and 2/3’s rule: your top should take up 1/3 of your silhouette and your jeans 2/3s.” For example, when putting an outfit together with flare jeans, opting for a shorter top helps give the figure more balance. “Too long of a shirt can add unnecessary bulk,” he explains.
Also great? Even if you have a more ruler shape, the flared-at-the-bottom style helps create the illusion of curves.
How to style flare jeans 7 different ways
See stylists’ favorite ways to style flare jeans on women over 50 for any occasion.
We love how Heidi Klum, age 50, took these seemingly casual flares and dressed them up with a lace top and fur jacket.
1. How to style flare jeans for a casual lunch
A pair of light wash flared-denim is a great staple to add to your closet, especially for more casual day plans. They can be easily be dressed up or down: throw on a comfy, cozy sweater and a pair of flats for lunch with the girls and swap out the flats for heels for dinner plans. These flare jeans from Express have enough stretch to keep you comfortable, but won’t lose their shape as the day goes on. The light pink sweater features flare sleeves to match the shape of the pants which adds even more body-beautifying balance. You can tuck in the front for a more cohesive look or let it hang loose to mask any belly bumps.
Shop the look:
Light wash flare jeans: Buy from Express, $80
Pink sweater: Buy from H&M, $26.99
Black bow flats: Buy from H&M, $32.99
Black purse: Buy from Amazon, $25.90
Gold earrings: Buy from Amazon, $11.99
Pearl necklace: Buy from Flaire & Co., $23
2. How to style flare jeans for a night out
These days, the casual bottoms can be easily dressed up for a dinner date or office party. Simply pull on leg-slimming dark wash flares and pair it with a sexy, yet elegant red one-shoulder satin top. The bare shoulder tastefully shows off some skin while still remaining chic. And, the length of the shirt cuts off right above the jeans, following Himel’s 2:1 pants to top ratio.
Finish it off with a pair of comfy ballet flats (we have been loving these ones from Aerosoles!) and black and gold accessories, like a crossbody bag and pair of earrings.
Shop the look:
Dark wash flare jeans: Buy from LOFT, $53.97
Red satin top: Buy from Shein, $10.49
Ballet flats: Buy from Aerosoles, $99
Black purse: Buy from Amazon, $21.90
Earrings: Buy from Francesca’s, $12.57
The pop of red in 52-year-old Amanda Holden’s outfit with her pointed toe shoes and long trench help liven up the style in a bold and chic manner.
3. How to style flare jeans for happy hour
A cocktail hour with friends, family or coworkers is not only a chance to catch up and unwind with a glass of wine (or two), but it’s also the perfect opportunity to get dressed up in a fun and cute way. Sure, we know that wearing head-to-toe black is slimming , but adding a pop of color, like this season’s hottest color deep red, is a bold way to add pizazz to the all-black look. Himel suggests pairing black flare jeans with a pointed toe shoe, such as these pointed toe booties. “A pointed toe is narrow — so it gives the illusion of your legs looking thinner and longer.” Plus, he adds, “a flared jean looks great with a heel — your choice if it’s a low, mid or high heel. And I am just loving a pointed mid-heeled boot right now with a flare jean.” The two together create a double leg-flattering effect.
Shop the look:
Black flare jeans: Buy from Old Navy, $36.99
Red leather jacket: Buy from Amazon, $45.99
Black top: Buy from Banana Republic, $43.99
Red purse: Buy from Amazon, $28.99
Black booties: Buy from Famous Footwear, $59.99
4. How to style flare jeans for work
Dark wash flare jeans keep a work outfit from looking too casual and pairing with an off-white top with a subtle detail, such as these ruffle sleeves, helps add a little work-day elegance. These jeans from Lane Bryant are an amazing plus-size denim option. They have a high-rise and a thick, wide waistband, creating a flattering shape that will hold all day. A pair of loafers are the perfect comfortable shoe for the office, and this brown tote bag will hold all of your essentials for the work day. Finish it off with this gold knotted necklace.
Shop the look:
Plus-size flare jean: Buy from Lane Bryant, $44.97
Cream ruffle top: Buy from Old Navy, $26.97
Loafers: Buy from DSW, 59.99
Brown tote bag: Buy from Amazon, $15.99
Gold knot necklace: Buy from Revolve, $35
5. How to style flare jeans for errands
We know jeans may not be the first thing you want to throw on when running errands, but some days putting a little effort into your ensemble, even while on a Target run, can just boost your mood. These ankle length flare jeans from Zara are the perfect way to do it. They have stretch and mobility, easy to slip in and out of, come in 4 shades and cost less than $50!
Add a plaid, cropped shacket over a brown tee — following Himel’s “1/3 top, 2/3s bottoms” rule — to stay warm and cozy. A pair of white, slip-on sneakers are a great staple to have in your shoe collection and are an ultra comfortable option if you’re going to be on your feet all day. Keep it simple with accessories by adding a gold watch.
Shop the look:
Ankle flare jeans: Buy from Zara, $45.90
Brown tee: Buy from Old Navy, $12.99
Plaid shacket: Buy from Nordstrom Rack, $39.97
White slip-on sneakers: Buy from Amazon, $60
Gold watch: Buy from Amazon, $27.99
Charisma Carpenter, age 53, looks tall and lean in this pair of medium wash flare jeans paired with a tucked in mockneck sweater.
6. How to style flare jeans for a family outing
Have a fun, family activity planned for the weekend? Head to the apple orchard or grab some hot chocolate in style. A flare jean jumpsuit over a plain, white long sleeve tee is great for those days that aren’t too cold but not too warm. This one from Maurices has a waist-whittling tie belt. Pair with your favorite brown accessories, such as a pointed toe bootie to elongate legs and a brown crossbody purse. Tie in the blue of the denim with a pair of navy and gold hoops.
Shop the look:
Flare jean jumpsuit: Buy from Maurices, $29.95
White long sleeve tee: Buy from H&M, $12.99
Hoop earrings: Buy from Amazon, $15.97
Checkered purse: Buy from Amazon, $24.99
Brown booties: Buy from DSW, $69.99
7. How to style flare jeans for a party
Dressing up a pair of flare jeans may be easier than you think when you add a pair of heels and a shimmery clutch. For a non-formal party, this is a stylish yet comfortable choice. The bow details add the perfect festive flair, along with the red and green accent colors. Or, create your own rendition of this outfit for an everyday look by swapping out the red heels for a black pair and the green earrings for gold or silver.
Shop the look:
Medium wash flare jeans: Buy from Abercrombie and Fitch, $76.50
Bow cardigan: Buy from H&M, $34.99
Red bow heels: Buy from DSW, $59.99
Bow clutch: Buy from DSW, $39.99
Green earrings: Buy from Amazon, $9.99
Click through these stories for more of our favorite looks at the moment: