Should I buy bell-bottoms?
Like many humans, we often ponder the eternal question in fashion and finances and life choices: Should I buy this? We wonder if the thing worth it and if we can really really “pull it off.” Fashion can make us stressed out and nervous. Fashion with a capital “F” can seem intimidating and exclusive. Like a club only a select few are allowed to join and really really enjoy — but that’s not something we’re about here. So, we decided to hash out all these feelings in HG’s newest column, “Should I Buy This?” Every other week we’ll embrace and try new things together! We’ll be fearless and playful! And we’ll celebrate fashion in a not-so-serious, honest way. Here goes.
The last movie I saw in theaters was The Diary of a Teenage Girl. It was moody and artistic and expressive in all the ways I wanted, and beautiful in ways I never imagined. Set in ’70s San Francisco, the film’s atmosphere seemed genuine to its core — girls had Farrah Fawcett hair and thick bangs; everything was floral; and everyone smoked pot and listened to Nico. Oh, and the entire cast wore bell-bottoms, naturally.
After the movie was over, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I Googled Bel Powley. I read the LA Times reviews. I searched “faux fur coats” and “flared jeans” on Ebay. I wanted to surround myself with the feeling I felt when watching The Diary of a Teenager Girl: mainly, curiosity. I also really just wanted to copy Powley’s groovy look, and decided that bell-bottoms were the first step in doing so.
Because who wouldn’t want to look this effortlessly cool?
Bell-bottoms, which were born in the 19th century to the US Navy and later adopted by ’60s and ’70s street style, have always stuck around — even through the reign of skinny and boyfriend and straight-leg jeans. Masquerading as “flare jeans” or “bootcut,” bell-bottoms have withstood the test of time, and they’re making yet another comeback this fall. But if you’re like me and have been wearing skinny jeans for the last 10 years, bell-bottoms might seem foreign and intimidating and a little airy. Or maybe even kind of silly, possibly because the last time you wore bell-bottoms was for a ’70s-themed birthday party in the 7th grade. So, how do we pull off bell-bottoms without feeling like we’re going to a costume party? Let’s discuss. Bell-bottoms come in all kinds of styles: denim, patterned, casual, formal, high-waisted, low-rise. The right bell-bottoms for you? That depends on what look you’re going for and what you feel the best in. Like most pants, it might take you a couple tries to find your dreamy-dream pair. If you have a big booty and wide hips, you might want to find bell-bottoms that accentuate those features, but aren’t too tight and uncomfortable. Depending on your height, you might need to get your pair of bell-bottoms tailored (no need to be tripping over fabric). Bottom line? Find a pair that make you feel sexy, fearless, and groovy. Like these denim bell-bottoms: they’re a gorgeous dark wash, and and they’re fitted in all the right places. Best of all — they’re versatile. You can wear them with a crop top. Or a comfy cotton tee. Or a silk blouse that makes you feel like a glamorous anchorwoman.
Can we just stare at these rad, ultra-retro pants for awhile? Patterned flares, to me at least, seem like the trickiest to pull off. Because let’s be real — there’s a lot going on. But maybe the key to feeling good in a pair of patterned bell-bottoms is choosing colors you feel comfortable with. With fall colors like these, an off-white or black top totally works and isn’t too busy.
FYI, I haven’t stopped swooning at this outfit since I first laid eyes on it. If you’re not sure whether bell-bottoms will make a good work staple, here’s an outfit that says hells yes. Black bottoms + your favorite blouse + a statement cardigan = Your new favorite look.
As for how to accessorize your feet: it depends on how much flare you’ve got going on, and how long the pant leg is. If you’re okay with the pant covering your shoes, you can totally wear your go-to sneaker or flat. But if you want to tower a little bit, a pair of clogs or platforms are great. Right now I’m majorly hearting the “andie” high-heel clog from Madewell – its caramel color is all kinds of perfect for autumn (and they look amazing with denim). Or if you prefer sneakers, these Steve Madden platforms are fun and will probably remind you of that time you wanted to dress up like a Spice Girl, all day every day (good times, no?).
Are you convinced to get a pair of bell-bottoms? Same. Here a few options.
Flare low jeans, $15, H&M
‘Bells’ Print Beach Pants, $45, Nordstrom
And if you want to splurge:
Velvet bella, $298, J Brand
(Images via Instagram, H&M, Nordstrom, J Brand)