Why I am thrilled Bell-bottoms are making a come-back

(Published in DailyO: http://www.dailyo.in/lifestyle/bell-bottoms-boho-fashion-trends-overalls-hippies-indian-cinema-1970s-style-kurt-cobain/story/1/10337.html )

I just turned 30 a week ago. Which means I was yet to enter my teens when the flared pants or ‘bootcut’ as they are also called became a sensation in the 1990s and the trouser of choice in every household the world over.
Nonetheless, the memory of the day I wore my first pair is as fresh as if it were yesterday. My masi (mother’s sister) brought me a beautiful denim pair from America with colorful floral embroidery adorning the fabric in patches. It was nothing like I had ever owned and I couldn’t get enough of wearing them. That marked the beginning of more such bell bottom purchases in different colors and fabrics. It was the late 1990s – a time when Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell were the supermodels ruling the runways, Kurt Cobain had spearheaded the grunge look of mismatched, oversized outfits and Rachel from FRIENDS had the iconic layered haircut that every girl in that generation wanted. And, of course, the flashy British divas – the Spice girls.
The origin of this style, interestingly, dates back to the early 1900s when sailors in the American navy decided to adopt the wide legged bell-shaped cuffs at the end of their pants. Standardized uniforms did not exist as yet. As with many other fashion statements that seemed to have sprouted from the British and American Navy, these flared pants too became quite the rage and spread like wildfire among the mainstream public by the mid 1960s. Accentuating the figure by being snug at the hips and thighs and dramatically flared from the knee down, these pants began to be paired with high heels, flat shoes, crop tops, off-shoulder or even over-sized ensembles and every kind of ‘hippie’ to sophisticated style.
My favorite was always the off-shoulder look with the denim bell-bottoms. The denim jeans, the unstoppable and unrivalled rage across the globe witnesses constantly evolving fashion trends from the bell-bottoms to the lesser flared cuts, the skinny jeans, the ripped boyfriend jeans and today we are coming full circle with vintage coming back in vogue and the bell-bottoms all set for a full come-back. Fashion houses and retail stores have already started to stock up on this legendary trend in all kinds of bright colours, hues and variants of denims – giving a modern twist to the conventional boot cut styles. Another style in the stores today that has me lusting after them is the ripped flares – eclectically torn at the knees in the signature ‘ripped’ jeans fashion and then flared in the bell shape from the knee down.
The emergence of the skinny or fitted jeans that saw the end of the flared bell-bottoms around 2005-2006 was no less of a rage and had us refurbishing our wardrobes with all signs of the flared cuts forgotten at the back of our closets. But, it was the comfortable, snug yet stylishly roomy flared styles that many of us vouch for even today – the perfect mix of quirk and bohemia with comfort and a pinch of that old-school nostalgia from our days with Betty and Veronica’s fashion styles from the 70s. And the men were not to be left out either! Though they went with more of a subtle flare as compared to our edgy and bold bell-bottoms.
Everything vintage and old-school is making a comeback today and I for one am thrilled. Florals, crop tops, sunglasses, to even hem lines – its an exciting time for the fashion world and we are hooked. Today fashion is no longer prisoned in a box of convention and rules – a fusion of styles, eras and modernity is being experimented with and a blend of many decades of fashion is coming together to define fashion today. The bell-bottoms were frontrunners as game-changers between decades and their return is the best news I have heard since the ‘top knot’ hair syle inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s iconic character in ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’.
News of the come back first began to make the rounds from the American and European fashion circles and runways but here in Abu Dhabi too I am now seeing the tides turning and adopting this exciting new (and yet old) trend again. Sadly I no longer have my old floral pair that I miss dearly but it went on to find a new owner many moons ago.
But this only means I am ready to get started on some vintage retail therapy. I hope the bell-bottoms are here to stay!