If you thought that men's bell bottom jeans had their final hurrah back in the 1970s, you're mistaken! With their retro appeal, these bottoms are enjoying prominence with a new generation of stylish dressers.
Bell Bottoms Throughout History
During the late 1960s and throughout the '70s, perhaps no single item of clothing was as cool or beloved as the bell bottom jean. Drastically widened at the ankle, these jeans were a major departure from simple straight leg styles of years past. They certainly offered men a more adventurous approach to style! The '60s interpretation of the bell bottom showcased a lightly flared leg; it stood out because the fabric at the knee was generally very tight, lending the bottom of the pant leg a bell shape. Bell bottom jeans were very much an established element of the hippie movement, often paired with tie-dye T-shirts and sandals.
It was during the '70s, though, that bell bottoms graduated to the widest of flares and essentially became known as the garment that defined the decade. Often paired with platform shoes and button-down shirts, bell bottom jeans were the epitome of high style at the time. As the hippie movement transcended and disco culture grew, it seemed everyone from all walks of life wore bell bottom jeans. This was proof of their versatility. Bell bottoms were often considered a form of "fashion rebellion" against authority.
Modern Bell Bottoms
Proving just how cyclical fashion is, and perhaps giving strong credence to the old adage that "everything old is new again," bell bottom jeans enjoyed a strong resurgence in the 1990s. The difference between the old models and the new, though, was seen in the flare. While the originals could easily be defined as extreme, modern bell bottoms took a less drastic approach. Designers referred to them as "boot cut" jeans.
Another version, the "flare," took greater inspiration from the original bell bottoms, boasting an extremely wide opening. Both looks were especially popular with the teenage set, and even today boot cut jeans continue to enjoy immense popularity among men and women of all ages.
Purchasing Men's Bell Bottom Jeans
If you're in the market for a pair or two of men's bell bottom jeans, you'll find a wide variety at retailers ranging from discount apparel stores to high-end department stores. Prices run the gamut from extremely low to astronomically high, so give some thought to how much you wish to spend. If you're seeking a pair of bell bottoms for a '70s costume party, you don't necessarily have to break the bank if you don't plan to wear them again. On the other hand, if they are for regular use, you might want to put some more effort into finding a pair of quality jeans that will last you years.
You'll find both genuine and costume-style bell bottom jeans for men in online and brick and mortar vintage stores. There are several great resources on the Internet to find them, including:
- Dress That Man: One of the Internet's premiere vintage clothing boutiques, Dress That Man carries an excellent selection of bell bottom jeans from the likes of Levi's and Lee. Many of them are unworn, and all of them are completely authentic. They don't come cheap, but this is one of the best places to shop if you're looking for an investment piece.
- Find Costume: If it's Halloween or a costume party you're dressing for, head over to your local costume shop. Find Costume has a fun option in its Hippie Costume, which sells for under $50 and includes a matching top!
- Rusty Zipper: This store has an excellent selection of bell bottom jeans, especially if you're into elephant bells. These ultra-wide bells have insets done in solid colors and patterns.
- Vintage Trends: In various stages of wear, the bell bottom jeans for men at Vintage Wear are a great option for any purpose. There are numerous washes available, and there's something for everyone in this mix, whether you prefer a worn and torn appearance or a fresh-from-the-box look.