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Bell Bottoms to Bell Boys – A History of Flared Denim

Pants. They’re getting wider these days. But not necessarily the whole pant, sometimes it’s just the bottom near the hem.

This type of cut can go by many names:  bell-bottoms, boot cuts, flares, darts. However you slice it, these inverse-tapered fits usually have a tight fitting top block but are flowing and breezy at the ankle.

As bell-bottoms begin to ring again, let’s take a look at some of the backstory behind these flared jeans.

Nautical Origins


Sailors on the USS Unadilla (1861-1869). Image via Ibiblio.

Like many items in our humble niche, the story of bell-bottoms begin in the military. This time, it’s on the high seas of the US Navy in the 1800s.

Sailors realized that having a wider leg on the bottom of their pants provided a myriad of benefits:


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