Doing the school drop-off with flare
Damn that Claudia Schiffer. There I was, happily shimmying along in my J Brand “Houlihan” skinny cargos (which must be the most comfortable pants on the planet) and out she steps in a pair of flares.It’s not the first time.
She’s been doing the German-glamazon-meets-’70s-knitting-pattern for a few months now, but you know she’s nailed it when she makes even Elle Macpherson look dated.
There they were, at the school drop-off – which is the ultimate sartorial contest for British mothers (thank goodness it hasn’t hit our Havaiana-clad shores) – and sorry, Elle, but Claudia’s kick-flare and plaited leather belt combo had your skinny jeans looking so 2009.
I know skinnies can’t last forever, and they’ve had a good few years in the limelight, but I love them, largely because I’m crap with shoes and skinnies work with everything: Converse, ballet flats, ankle boots, strappy sandals, long boots, bare feet.
Notwithstanding the high-waisted thing happening with the new flares (which I’ll get to), they absolutely have to be worn with a heel, otherwise anyone under 170cm (yes, me) ends up looking like a hobbit.
“This is a trend that isn’t on the horizon, it’s happening as we speak,” says Stephanie Solomon, fashion director for Bloomingdale’s in the US. She’s clearly thinking of her share options when she adds, “The best news is that, yes, it’s a silhouette that flatters every woman. It’s a myth to say it doesn’t.”
Does it hell. I went to my first school disco just as the ’70s tripped into the ’80s, and Solomon is right; flares do look great on any woman… under the age of 12. But chuck in a hip, a muffin top, an athletic thigh or, in my case, two children and a Cherry Ripe habit, and suddenly your ‘silhouette’ is more Santa’s sack than Charlie’s Angels.
Solomon – whom I Googled for you and can report has a fine pair of pins – admits the new high-waisted look can be tricky. But instead of throwing some lovely Bassike layering over it (not least to disguise any embarrassing creasing), she suggests teaming your flares with a peasant blouse or tank top and tucking them in. That’s right, tucking them in.
“Once your waist is defined, it elongates the leg,” she explains.
I’ll be passing her thoughts on to Kate Middleton, our 18-year-old babysitters and my good friend Hilary who, at 182cm, can rock any manifestation of denim.
But if, like me, you left your waist in the delivery room sometime in the past decade, then read on because I’ve found the solution for those who still fancy a bit of sunshine, moonlight, good times…
If you have curves, opt for a mid-rise look. Think Donny Osmond, circa “Puppy Love”. And if you want to avoid a full-scale crime warp, pick a subtle flare – just a teensy kick to the hem, which Lisa Armstrong, the brilliant fashion editor of The Times, has dubbed a “flare-ette”.
“If you’re being bloody minded, you could call it a bootcut,” she says. “But let’s not, because that sounds like an old rehash and, as we know, fashion’s all about new, new, new.”
Anyway, I’ve done some research and J Brand’s “Gigi” cropped flare is fab and would still work with a ballet flat. But the flare with flair is the “Hutton” mid-rise from Citizens of Humanity – a gorgeous blue wash with a retro vibe.
Right, I’m off to perfect my Farrah flick.
Catch Angela Mollard on Weekend Today, Sundays at 7am on the Nine Network.
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