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An Ode To Flared Pants

By Anne T. Donahue

I was wrong to hate flared jeans, and I am ready to admit this to you.

But you can’t really blame me. I, a woman of the millennial generation, grew up in an era of flares. Some flares were wide. Others? Not so much. And over the course of time and space, as waistlines plummeted and I began wearing ballet flats with the ’06-era boyfriend cut, I began to hate them. Cool people, I decided, did not wear flares anyway. And so began my decade-and-longer relationship with skinny jeans and jeggings.

For the record, most pants suck. Every size at every store is different, and on days in which your confidence is high and you feel wonderful, some random place will ensure a size 10 fits like a size 2 so you can begin to question your hips and butt, and whether it’s time to replace all your existing pants with these new ones at this store claiming their sizes are “true.” (Come on.)

Because that’s the thing: we attach ourselves to our pant sizes like they matter or anybody in the world other than us gives a shit. We whittle ourselves down, focus on “problem areas” (truly, blow me), and find ways to pour ourselves into pieces that maybe aren’t that great to begin with. Frankly, jeans should be begging us to wear them. Us fitting into whatever-it-is they’re trying to sell because there’s an inordinate amount of pressure to look a certain way? Absolutely not, please get out of here. There’s no universal type of perfect pant. There are the pants you like and feel awesome in, and the pants that someone else prefers, and it’s not any of my business.

But yet.

I, like every person reading this I assume, have had major issues with the way I look. And while I will not be getting into the technicalities of this on a day in which I like my outfit and feel pretty good about being a person in the world, I will say that my one-jeans-fits-all theory was stupid and I hate it. I wrote off flares. I cursed wide legs. I condemned bootcut to death. I would never return to these pants (I vowed) because, well, I have no actual reason. They reminded me of the 2000s? I tried to wear lowrise wide legs at American Eagle and tripped over the bottoms because I was wearing flip-flops? I was scared of looking like the cast of Laguna Beach? It was “cool” to wear “other types of jean”? Nonsense. True, believable nonsense. And so, after donating the majority of my pants over the fall and the winter, I took the plunge at the Gap Factory Outlet and did what I vowed to never do: I tried on flares (bellbottoms, basically?). And I loved them.

I loved the way I felt like I was wearing pants whose purpose wasn’t to kill me. I loved the way I felt like an extra on any 1970s-era movie or TV show. I loved the way they were on sale, available for next-to-nothing which is absolutely my budget. I loved them. And they loved me. And they loved me for loving them. And I loved them for loving me. (And that’s showbiz, kid.)

Which obviously means the following: wear the type of jeans you fucking want. Wear jeans that make you feel amazing and a little more alive. Wear jeans that are thrifted or new or look like they were thrifted, but they are new. Wear high rise. Wear low rise. Wear skinny or jeggings or JNCOs. Wear all of them. But under no circumstances should anybody be wearing anything they’re convinced they need to make their bodies look different for. Fuck that, and fuck any store that makes you feel that way. The greatest jeans are the ones that make you think that someone will inevitably cast you in a film about jeans. And then when they don’t, you blame themfor their stupidity.

I am currently riding the flared/bell bottom wave with a dash of Levis 501s. I have two pairs of skinny-ish whatevers, and the rest of my pants are of the jogging variety. Will I buy more? Dabble in new? Dabble in old? Who’s to say. But I will never speak ill of my flared jeans again, and I will encourage all others to commit to only wearing what’s comfortable to sit, stand, eat, walk, nap, and run after neighbourhood cats in. Especially if they’re on sale because who has the time and money for anything, anyway.

Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!

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