Reader Request: Styling Flares

how to style flare jeans

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Reader Sarah emailed me this question:

I wondered if you could do a post or a question in your column or something on styling flares. I love that flares are back in style (great for balancing hips), but I am having trouble with the silhouette. Fitted on top or not? Long or cropped tops?, etc. Also, what shoes?

Oh flares, my old friends. I wore you throughout college, and well after … even when the rest of the world had switched to skinnies. And now I can’t quite believe you’re back. Already. Although, in my mind, 1990 is only 10 years ago

ANYWAY. Flares are the silhouette of the season, and I imagine Sarah isn’t the only one who’s thrilled to see them on the racks once more. But they are a bit of an exaggerated silhouette, so they can feel challenging to style. Here are my tips:

Hem them

It’s always a good idea to have your pants and jeans hemmed for the style and height of footwear you intend to wear with them, but it’s especially important for flares. There’s a lot of fabric down there by your feet, and cultivating a ragged, dirty hem will only distract from your overall look. If you are long-waisted and short-legged, consider seeking petite flares since hacking off more than a couple of inches may affect the flare silhouette and balance of the jean. (It’s true that some folks are wearing cropped flares, but that trend is still on the fringes. And not terribly practical for cold weather.)

To avoid the no-feet look, consider having your flares hemmed slightly higher in front. And remember that pants hemmed for heels shouldn’t be worn with flats and vice versa. Speaking of shoes …

Try heels

You certainly can do flats with flares, but to my eye a heel makes the silhouette more fluid and graceful. Even a small heel, platform, or a wedge will work – something to give you a little boost of height and elongate your legs. Flares only make your legs look long and your silhouette look hourglass-y if there’s some distance between your hips and the flared hem. Heels can help. It’s a matter of preference, of course, but my preference is for heels with this cut.

Short or fitted tops

Flares can be worn with loose or boxy tops and jackets, but opting for something that shows at least half of your hip height and is somewhat fitted reduces the risk of swamping your figure. This is especially true if you want to wear flares either to elongate your leg line (a shorter top will do this) or create balanced curves (a fitted top will do this). For length, think three or four fingers’ width above your crotch point. And if you’re not too keen on clingy tops, try a fitted top in a relatively heavy material like ponte or a mid-weight sweater then add a looser jacket on top.

Or blouses … though consider tucking

Button-fronts and blouses are a great way to dress up your flares. In fact, some fashion experts and editors advise against going too casual with your flares-based looks to avoid an overly 90s feel. Since many blouses add volume, try tucking or half-tucking with your flares. It’s another great way to elongate your legs and keep the silhouette tidy, and allows you to add a belt to your look. You can also do a loose, floaty blouse and then bring in the float with a fitted, structured jacket.

Avoid tunics

What makes flares flares is the out-in-out shape they create on your body. A tunic-length top will cover most of your thighs, and unless you’ve got a pair of super-fitted flares that cling to your knees, that tunic top will obscure the curve inward from your hips to knees. Even if you opt for a longish top, make sure it tops above the crotch point so you can reap maximum curve benefit. Or if you want to play with proportion and use a longer line up top, try a fitted underlayer and longer jacket or duster.

As always, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent.

Hope this helps! And have fun flaring it up this season!

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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Supergirl’s New Clothes

By Cassie, AP Contributor

There’s a lot to like about the new Supergirl TV show – it’s funny, it’s warm, it’s unashamedly feminist, and there are lots of cool explosions. But my favorite part so far has to be her revamped costume, and what it says about the type of Supergirl the show intends to portray.

Like most comic characters, Supergirl has been through approximately fifty billion costume changes. Some of them have been pretty hard to imagine on a real flesh and blood person…


I mean, why do these boots have big holes in the knees? How do they even stay on? It’s hard to take a superhero seriously when it looks like the artist just started with a nude outline and scribbled lines over it at random.

Some other outfits haven’t been too bad, if a little bare around the middle.


This is probably the outfit most non-comic nerds will be familiar with, since it’s pretty much the same one as used in the Justice League Saturday morning cartoon, and the Supergirl movie. I dig the long sleeves and covered cleavage (such a rarity in comics!), but there’s something about the bare midriff that bugs me. Being bulletproof, it’s not like Supergirl has to worry about practicality, but it feels almost too casual for someone who’s supposed to be saving the world.

In a move that delighted Supergirl nerds like me, the new TV show actually did a callback to Supergirl’s less practical outfits in a delightful montage in the pilot episode.

Supergirl Skimpy

Supergirl goes through a number of outfit changes, finally settling on this perfect one.

Supergirl Final

Unlike previous incarnations, this outfit features a covered midriff, which is a refreshing change. I’m not against skimpy outfits entirely, but they are WELL over-represented in the world of superheroes so it’s nice to see something different.

Supergirl has a reasonable length skirt – not so short as to be considered skimpy, but not long enough to be considered impractical when kicking bad guys in the face. And a cape! I love a good cape, and this one is long, swishy, and downright regal. Previous Supergirl costumes have usually had a much shorter capelet, and they just make me think of a little girl with a towel around her shoulders playing Superman. This one is a cape to be taken seriously.

The material of the suit itself is tight fitting enough to be “aerodynamic” (ie. suitable for TV) but heavy enough that it looks like it would actually offer some sort of protection in a fight. It’s an outfit that, to my mind, screams “hero.” Previously Supergirl has pretty consistently been portrayed as a Superman-lite – his kid cousin in some timelines, just a younger Kryptonian in others, but always somehow lesser than Superman. This outfit tells me that the Supergirl show wants to give us a Supergirl who’s a hero in her own right, and I am so on board for that.

What do you think of the new Supergirl?

Image Credits
Supergirl New 52 Cover from Wikipedia
Kara Zor-El Portrait from DC Wikia
Screencaps by author

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The author of Reluctant Femme, Cassie is a queer thirty-something Australian who thinks too much, reads too much, and has way too many pretty things. Her writing revolves around exploring concepts of femme and femininity, feminism, and just how much glitter you really can fit into a polish before it’s unusable. You can catch up with her in shorter bursts on Twitter , look at pictures of her favourite pretty things on her Tumblr, and browse her handmade accessories at her Etsy store

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Dressed for: Jumbo Stars

Already Pretty outfit featuring utility jacket, star print scarf, leather messenger bag, ankle boots

Jacket – thrifted – similarsustainable
Tee – Alternative Apparel
Jeans – H&Msimilarsustainable
Boots – Clarks (no longer available) – similarsustainable
Earrings – Noirsustainable
Scarf – BeckSondergaardsame in burgundy
Bag – Leather in Motion

I couldn’t say why, but I’m a sucker for a star print. Maybe it’s the balance between a whimsical concept and a geometric execution … whatever the reason, I loved getting bundled up in this oversized star-print scarf.

Those lovely leaves have long since fallen, but I’ve got a few more pretty autumn shots before we get into bare branches. Sigh.


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**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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