What are bell-bottoms? A brief history of the pants that keep making a comeback

What are bell-bottoms? A brief history of the pants that keep making a comeback

Dress codes have evolved to become more innovative and creative. As a result, some designers or trends influence the masses, either knowingly or by coincidence. Bell-bottoms were one such design that became popular in the 1960s. However, despite the movement's outdatedness, the pants have come back, albeit under different names. So, what are bell-bottoms, exactly?

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What are bell bottoms
Paola Locatelli is seen rocking the Flare on May 04, 2022, in London, United Kingdom. Photo: Rachpoot (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Fashion is defined as self-expression and autonomy expressed through clothing at a particular time and place. Everything considered fashionable is made available and favoured by the fashion designers, industry, and media.

What are bell-bottoms?

According to Encyclopedia, Bell-bottoms are pants that fit snugly through the thighs and then expand from the knee downward. Because of the flare, they appear bell-shaped hence the name.

Who invented bell-bottoms?

Unfortunately, it is not known who first came up with the design. Flares, also known as bell-bottoms due to their shape, first appeared in the early eighteenth century. During the war of 1812, American sailors began wearing bell-bottoms because the Navy established no uniform for them. It was easy for them to roll up their trousers in case of high water levels.

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Why are bell-bottoms popular?

What are bell bottoms
Anna von Schilcher is wearing a blue Flare Jeans by Sportmax, a blue sweater by Tory Burch, and an orange coloured bag by Coccinelle on May 4, 2022, in Munich, Germany. Photo: Streetstyleshooters
Source: Getty Images

In the 1960s, young people turned down expensive clothing and instead shopped at thrift stores and military surplus stores. The most popular item of clothing then was navy bell-bottoms.

Furthermore, the youth of the late 1960s and early 1970s had an antiwar (Vietnam War 1954–75) counterculture, thus rebelled by wearing bits of old military uniforms, bell-bottoms included.

Flowers embroidered on an old army jacket and colourful peace symbols applied to worn and faded navy bell bottoms made a personal antiwar statement. Bell bottoms were also a part of the new unisex style, as both men and women wore them.

What is the purpose of bell-bottom pants?

According to We Are The Mighty, the flared-out appearance was introduced for sailors to wear in the early 1800s. The sailors could now wash down the ship's deck easily by protecting the material by rolling their pant legs above their knees.

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Also, when the sailors needed to abandon the ship quickly, the modification cut the time it took to remove them. The trousers also served as a life preserver by knotting the pant legs if a sailor fell overboard.

Are bell-bottoms 60s or 70s?

According to The Guardian, Flares did not become popular until the mid-1960s. Sonny and Cher, an American pop and entertainment duo, helped popularise the look in the United States through their television appearances. However, it is a common misconception that all late-'60s hippies wore flares; some preferred straight-leg pants.

When were bell-bottoms popular?

In the 1960s, bell-bottoms became a popular trend for both men and women in London and quickly spread throughout Europe and North America. According to Ragstock, the trend was started by a few and quickly became mainstream. Furthermore, the pants stayed popular through the disco days of the '80s.

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Were bell-bottoms popular in the 80s?

They were, indeed. The culture spread came from the 1970s when it was at its height. However, as fashionistas embraced the new style and wear, flare pants were no longer the most popular wear.

So, what pants were popular in the 80s? Parachute pants, harem pants, stirrup pants, metallic jogger pants, and tapestry pants were all popular in the 1980s, according to the Vintage Dancer

What are bell-bottoms called now?

According to the European Fashion Heritage Association, women's bell-bottoms were reintroduced to the general public in 1996 as "boot-cut" or "bootleg" trousers. But, as of 2022, the pants are known as bell-bottoms or flared jeans.

Are bell bottoms in style now?

What are bell bottoms
Alba Garavito Torre wears a high waist flower print pattern flared pants, with a white leather Chiquito handbag, on April 22, 2022, in Paris, France. Photo: Edward Berthelot
Source: Getty Images

Yes. According to Brunette from Wall Street, bell bottoms are one of those fashion trends that came back in fashion for winter 2022.

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So, are bell-bottoms in 2022? Yes. According to STYLECASTER, fashion has ditched skinny jeans and a 90s revival is on. The bell-bottom era is here, and you can wear them with different types of shoes due to their versatility.

What are bellbottoms? They are 1960s pants that are making a fashion comeback. These pants were created in the early eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to serve as a uniform for sailors. However, it was popularised by the anti-war counterculture of the 1960s and has remained so ever since.

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If you want to make your friends jealous with a one-of-a-kind costume, go for contemporary African fashion. These outfits may inspire you to buy something for yourself or a loved one.

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