When wearing flares, the key thing to keep in mind is that you must refrain from channeling the '70s too literally. Anything that smacks of bohemianism (peasant tops, we're talking to you) or makes you look like a Charlie's Angels extra (meaning, the TV show with Farrah Fawcett, not the Drew Barrymore movie) is verboten. Instead, look to ladies like Claudia Schiffer, who was spotted in London last month wearing a pair of MiH's Marrakesh Mid-Rise Kick Flare Jeans ($189) in Kara with a tucked-in cardigan, polished blazer, and an electric blue patent leather Mulberry Edie Bag ($1175). If that look is a little prim for you, take a styling tip from Harper's Bazaar's Senior Fashion Market Editor Joanna Hillman and wear your flares with an oversized button-up and jacket instead. Snapped at a party for Textile Elizabeth and James, Hillman paired a Derek Lam jacket and a Jil Sander for Uniqlo shirt with Textile Elizabeth and James Jimi Flare Jeans ($195) and a leopard-print Mulberry bag, resulting in a very modern look we love. Of course, if you want to wear your flares in an even more relaxed way, you can always create a Diane Kruger-inspired look and style your jeans with a cable-knit sweater. The actress was recently spotted in Los Angeles wearing a light-wash pair of flare jeans with a chunky-knit crewneck (the Cable-Knit Cotton and Linen-Blend Sweater ($455) by Isabel Marant is quite similar), cream Chanel bag, and a leopard-print pair of Alexander Wang heels.
With these inspirational looks in mind--and the fashionable examples we've included from Stockholm Street Style and Street Peeper--hopefully you're ready to store your skinnies and try out a pair of '70-style jeans. To help you transition from a form-fitting, calf-hugging cut to a flare, we've tracked down some of the season's best denim options and a handful of essentials to pair them with. First things first: let's talk jeans! There are loads of dark-rinse styles out there, making it easy to emulate Claudia Schiffer's perfectly polished ensemble. For a slightly dressy, trouser-like look, check out Madewell's Widelegger Jeans ($125) in Explorer Wash; they have a higher rise that begs for a tucked-in blouse and a cute belt. Rag & Bone/JEAN's Elephant Bell Bottom Jeans ($176) are another cute, ultra-dark option and we also like ASOS' 1970s Inspired Flare Jeans ($63) in Indigo. Want something in a lighter wash? Rich & Skinny's Bikini Flare Jeans ($196) in Levee are perfectly bleached out, or you could go for a white pair, like Mother Denim's The Wilder Trouser ($198) in Mirror, Mirror, Textile Elizabeth and James' Diana Flare Jeans ($195), or Topshop's Moto Jessie Flared Jeans ($85).
Once your jeans are sorted, it's on to the rest of your outfit! As we mentioned earlier, we love paring flare jeans with a button-up and a blazer--the combination makes this silhouette look relevant, not retro. As such, you can style your jeans with your favorite boyfriend blazer or a more fitted jacket: either shape will work! ASOS' Blazer With Contrast Lapels ($134) and Elizabeth and James' James XI Blazer ($445) remind us of Hillman's exact jacket, but if you're interested in a slouchier piece, check out Zara's Blazer with Tuxedo Collar ($80) or Silence & Noise's Boyfriend Blazer ($78). Then simply add a denim button-up or a silky blouse--like J. Crew's Crosshatch Chambray Shirt ($78) or Cheap Monday's Daria Blouse ($55)--and a long-strap flap bag to give your ensemble an additional touch of femininity. Regarding the latter, Alexander Wang's Marlon Mini Flap Bag ($650) in Aloe is a chic choice, or you could go for Cynthia Rowley's Wrapped Piping Satchel ($290), which has a vintage vibe we love!
Photo of Claudia Schiffer, courtesy of Splash; Photo of Diane Kruger, courtesy of Pacific Coast News; Photo of Joanna Hillman, courtesy of Wire Image; Street Style images, courtesy of Stockholm Street Style and Street Peeper