Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: The Comparison

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what is the difference between flare and bell bottom jeans

Regarding denim, there are countless styles and silhouettes to choose from. The wide array of options, flare jeans, and bell bottoms are classic choices that add a touch of retro flair to any outfit. Both styles feature a widened leg opening but have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we will compare flare jeans and bell bottoms in terms of fit, leg shape, styling options, popularity, versatility, fashion trends, comfort, and price range. By the end, you’ll clearly understand each style’s characteristics and unique qualities; when deciding between flare jeans and bell bottoms, you make an informed choice.

What are Flare Jeans?

Flare jeans are a style of denim pants with a fitted waist and hips that gradually widen from the knees. The flare typically starts below the knee, creating a distinctive bell-shaped leg opening. This style gained popularity in the 1970s and has since returned to the fashion industry. Flare jeans balance a fitted upper leg and a vast space at the bottom, creating a flattering and elongating effect.

What is Bell Bottoms?

Bell bottoms, on the other hand, are characterized by their dramatic leg opening that starts from the thighs or knees and widens down to the ankles. Unlike flare jeans, bell bottoms have a continuous flare throughout the leg, resulting in a more exaggerated and pronounced silhouette. Bell bottoms rose to prominence in the 1960s and are often associated with the hippie counterculture and the disco era.


Flare Jeans

Bell Bottoms


Leg Style

Straight from the waist to the knee, then flares out below the knee.

Straight from the waist to the knee, then dramatically flares out from the knee down.

Flare Size

Moderately wide flare.

Extremely wide flare.

Era of Popularity

Primarily popular in the 1970s.

Originated in the 1960s and gained popularity in the late 1960s and 1970s.


Usually extends to the floor or slightly above.

Often longer, reaching the floor or even dragging on the ground.


Can be dressed up or down for various occasions.

Often associated with a more casual or bohemian style.

Waist Rise

Varied, ranging from low-rise to high-rise.

Typically high-rise, sitting at or above the natural waistline.

Footwear Pairing

Can be worn with a variety of shoes, including heels, boots, or flats.

Often paired with platform shoes or boots to complement the dramatic flare

Modern Influence

Still a popular choice in contemporary fashion.

Less common in everyday fashion but may make occasional comebacks.

Styling Tips

Balance the flare with a fitted top.

Embrace the retro vibe with vintage-inspired tops and accessories.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: The Fit

Flare Jeans Fit

It typically has a slim or fitted fit through the waist, hips, and thighs. They draw attention to the body’s curves while providing a balanced silhouette. The flare starts below the knee, allowing for ease of movement and a stylish retro look. The fitted upper leg of flare jeans gives a more tailored appearance, making them suitable for casual and slightly dressier occasions.

Bell Bottoms Fit

In contrast, bell bottoms have a looser fit throughout the entire leg, including the hips and thighs. The wide flare starts higher up, creating a more exaggerated shape. The loose fit of bell bottoms offers a relaxed and free-flowing feel, perfect for creating a bohemian or vintage-inspired look.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: The Leg Shape

Flare Jeans Leg Shape

The leg shape of flare jeans is characterized by gradually widening from the knee downward, creating a subtle flare. This style balances the fitted upper leg with a more relaxed and wider opening. The flare can vary in degree, ranging from a slight kick to a more noticeable outward curve. The leg shape of flare jeans enhances the overall silhouette and adds a touch of retro charm to any outfit.

Bell Bottoms Leg Shape

Bell bottoms, on the other hand, have a more dramatic leg shape. The flare starts higher up on the leg, often from the thighs, and continues down to the ankles. The leg shape of bell bottoms is much wider and more pronounced compared to flare jeans. This exaggerated silhouette creates a bold, eye-catching look, perfect for making a fashion statement.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Styling Options

Flare Jeans Styling

These jeans offer a versatile range of styling options. These can be dressed up or down, according to the occasion. Pairing flare jeans with a graphic tee and sneakers create a trendy and relaxed outfit for a casual look. To elevate the style, teaming flare jeans with a fitted blouse, a blazer, and heels add a touch of sophistication. Flare jeans also work well with cropped tops, chunky sweaters, and ankle boots for a more bohemian-inspired ensemble.

Bell Bottoms Styling

Bell bottoms are often associated with a retro or bohemian aesthetic, making them perfect for creating vintage-inspired outfits. Pairing bell bottoms with a flowy blouse, a floppy hat, and platform shoes can transport you back to the 1970s. Combining bell bottoms with a tucked-in fitted top, a denim jacket, and ankle boots creates a stylish look for a modern twist. Bell bottoms also pair well with crop tops, flowy tunics, and statement accessories.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Popularity

Flare Jeans Popularity

It has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Many fashion enthusiasts have embraced the retro charm and flattering silhouette of flare jeans, leading to their presence in numerous fashion collections and street-style looks. The versatility of flare jeans, combined with their ability to elongate the legs and create a balanced silhouette, has contributed to their appeal among a wide range of individuals.

Bell Bottoms Popularity

Similarly, bell bottoms have also regained popularity, particularly among those who appreciate vintage fashion. The bold and distinctive style of bell bottoms adds a unique touch to any outfit. While they may not be as widely worn as flare jeans, bell bottoms have a dedicated following, and fashion designers often incorporate them into their collections as a nod to the past.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Versatility

Flare Jeans Versatility

It offers versatility in terms of styling options and occasions. These can be quickly up or down, making them suitable for various settings. Whether going for a casual day out, a night on the town, or even a slightly more formal event, flare jeans can be adapted to fit the dress code. Their ability to complement different tops, shoes, and accessories makes them a versatile wardrobe staple.

Bell Bottoms Versatility

While bell bottoms may not be as versatile as flare jeans for formal occasions, they offer a distinct style that can add character to casual and bohemian-inspired looks. Bell bottoms excel in creating vintage or retro outfits, and their relaxed fit and dramatic leg shape make them a statement piece. Bell bottoms are trendy for music festivals, boho-themed events, or when you want to embrace a nostalgic fashion vibe.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Fashion Trends

Flare Jeans Fashion Trends

These jeans have been featured in various fashion trends over the years. Their retro appeal often aligns with bohemian or 1970s-inspired styles. Recently, flare jeans have been paired with off-the-shoulder tops, flowy blouses, and platform shoes to create a modern take on the vintage look.

Bell Bottoms Fashion Trends

With their strong ties to the 1960s and 1970s, Bell bottoms often resurface during nostalgic fashion revivals. They have been seen on fashion runways and embraced by trendsetters looking to make a statement. In recent years, bell bottoms have been styled with oversized sweaters, cropped tops, and vintage-inspired accessories for a bohemian-chic look.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Comfort

Flare Jeans Comfort

It offers a comfortable fit, particularly in the upper leg area, where they tend to be more fitted. The gradual flare starting from the knee allows for ease of movement while maintaining a stylish shape. The choice of fabric and stretch content also contributes to the overall comfort of flare jeans. Opting for softer and stretchier denim materials ensures a comfortable fit throughout the day.

Bell Bottoms Comfort

Bell bottoms, with their loose fit and wide leg shape, provide a relaxed and comfortable feel. The extra space in the hips and thighs allows for greater mobility, making them suitable for activities that require a more flexible range of motion. The choice of lightweight and breathable fabrics enhances the comfort level of bell bottoms, especially during warmer seasons.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Price Range

Flare Jeans Price Range

The price range of flare jeans varies depending on brand, quality, and design details. You will find Flare jeans at different prices, from fast-fashion retailers’ affordable options to higher-end designer labels. The cost is often influenced by the quality of the denim, the fit, and the brand’s reputation. It’s essential to consider personal budget and preferences when selecting flare jeans.

Bell Bottoms Price Range

Similar to flare jeans, the price range of bell bottoms can vary. Vintage or secondhand bell bottoms may be more sought-after and have a higher price tag due to their rarity. Modern bell bottoms come in various price points based on brand, fabric quality, and design. It’s worth exploring various retailers and online platforms to find bell bottoms that align with your budget and style preferences.

Flare Jeans vs. Bell Bottoms: Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between flare jeans and bell bottoms ultimately depends on personal style, body shape, and fashion preferences. Before making a decision, keep the following elements in mind:

  • Style: Determine whether you lean towards a more subtle and balanced silhouette (flare jeans) or a bold, exaggerated shape (bell bottoms).
  • Occasion: Consider the settings and events where you will likely wear the jeans. Flare jeans offer more versatility for casual and slightly dressier occasions, while bell bottoms create vintage-inspired or bohemian looks.
  • Body Shape: Take into account your body shape and proportions. Flare jeans can enhance curves and create a balanced appearance, while bell bottoms may be more forgiving for those who prefer a looser fit or have wider hips.
  • Personal Preference: Choose the style that resonates with your taste and makes you feel confident and comfortable.

In the end, there’s no right or wrong choice. Both flare jeans and bell bottoms offer unique charm and can elevate your denim collection with a touch of retro flair.


Choosing between flare jeans and bell bottoms is all about personal style and the aesthetic you want to achieve. Flare jeans offer a more subtle and balanced silhouette, perfect for versatile styling and various occasions. On the other hand, bell bottoms make a bold fashion statement with their vast and dramatic leg shape, ideal for those embracing a vintage-inspired or bohemian look.

Consider your body shape, personal preferences, and the occasions you plan to wear them when deciding. Whether you opt for the retro charm of flare jeans or the free-spirited vibe of bell bottoms, both styles add a touch of nostalgia and individuality to your wardrobe.

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