Middleagedmum.com: Why I won’t be wearing flares

70s Net a porter

Some of the 70s looks I won’t be buying from Net-A-Porter

If you have been shopping recently, or had an eye on whats been happening on the world’s catwalks over the past three weeks, you can’t fail to have noticed that someone somewhere in the world of fashion has decided that the 70s are back.

Excuse me while I nod off but haven’t we been here before – more than once – and is it just me or do all those suede skirts, flares and cropped bomber jackets look more than a little bit too try hard and “on trend”. Call me contrary (as I work in trends) but personally I have a problem with themed dressing as it can tend towards the fancy dress. Don’t get me wrong, one or two Boho or vintage items are fine if combined with something more modern, but head to toe “outfits” are a bit of a worry.

Ponchos, capes, themed sweaters, patchwork and fringed things are my worst nightmare, as they’re too tricky to wear – just ask Madonna – and don’t really work unless you are Italian, who strangely manage to make this look sophisticated in a Euro trash kind of a way. The rest of us should quite honestly steer well clear – especially when it comes to flares, unless you are Erin O’Conner, or a child of Mick Jagger (or possibly even an ex wife).

As you know we don’t like rules when it comes to fashion as we age, but sometimes there has to be exceptions and my rule is, if a look has come round more than three times, it’s time to leave it well alone. I loved Yootha Joyce and Farrah Fawcett back in the day, but that was then and this is now and Rachel Zoe can dress all the celebrities in Hollywood in bellbottoms (note – if you know the original terminology, perhaps it means its not for you!) and floppy hats, but I still won’t be convinced.

There is a reason skinny jeans and cigarette legs are so popular – they make your legs look longer and slimmer and if like me you are 5 foot something, you need all the help you can get. Flares make you look shorter unless you wear a high shoe or boot combo, thus creating all sorts of flapping of fabric around heels scenarios – which quite frankly is just too much admin for a school day.

I last wore flares in 1976 with a pair of wooden wedges and a ribbed polo neck. I also had a feather cut and blue mascara and danced to Mud at the school disco – so you can see where I’m coming from here.

One of the great things about growing older is knowing who you are and what you like and having the confidence to say no – especially when it comes to fashion. So this Spring I will be sticking to the look I do best, 50% art teacher at a suburban comprehensive, 20% first year Japanese fashion student at CSM and 30% care in the community.





  • Sarah says:

    Could.not.agree.more. I was so with you at that disco – and the phrase ‘just too much admin’ will be heavily borrowed.

  • Helen says:

    Jane, your posts make me laugh … memories of Mud at school discos indeed. Best of all are your crazy descriptions of your ‘today I am wearing’… I always know exactly what you mean and I love it. I just wish you’d post a daily pic of your ensembles. You’d have a cult following. Thanks both of you for great blogging! Helen x

  • Liz Shedden says:

    Yes I agree – just got the skinny thing sorted and here we go again, I too have memories of loon pants, cork soled wedges, tank tops, mud and the sweet! Have been wearing wide leg palazzo pants on holiday though for ages but will I be tempted by a ‘flare’ … Not sure – ask me again in summer. Your posts are great – keep posting!!

  • “which quite frankly is just too much admin for a school day.” <<< This made me laugh so loud the neighbours probably heard!

    I'm a bit torn tbh – been there done that but at the same time am seriously tired of my skinnies. I do like the look of M&S smartish version of the flares, which of course I can't track down anywhere, but would wear with Stan Smiths (in my head; I don't own these either). I do think they look best with heels but just know it wouldn't happen, for the admin reason – and my increasingly low pain threshold!

    A loose, rolled up straight leg is the one I really want most.


  • Sue says:

    Well, I do like the look of 70s styling. I saw the Guy Bourdin at SH last week and loved it. But, in real life, no, no, no. Too flappy and costumey. It certainly didn’t look too good on me first time around either. Horrid fabrics and unflattering colours. Most days now I am a mixture of librarian and lady traffic warden with a bit of Land Girl thrown in. No heels for sure.

  • sue evans says:

    I loved several of the things you mention Jane — but it WAS back in about 1974. Or was it 72 ? Senior moment …… so obviously too late for me to revisit my youth. Oh alright it was my 20s but who’s counting ? Anyway, these days I am rocking a sort of sub Grayson Perry look without the maquillage. Colour / smocks over tutus / bit of a Joseph and the Amazing coloured coat / mismatched coloured tights ….. We should all do piccies of Then and Now.

  • MJ says:

    Yes, my rule has always been if I wore the fashion the first time I won’t wear it the second time. And definitely not the third.

    I was trying to buy a pair of boyfriend jeans on the weekend I was talked out of them by the salesperson as he thought they were too “mum jeans” for me, which is ironic since I am a mum. Apparently, mum jeans don’t work for real mums unless they’re willing to style them with crop tops. Since my days of wearing crop trops ended about 30 years ago, I went the the less mum jean look of girlfriend jeans. Apparently, it will balance out my, umm, demure, less trendy, tops

  • Gen says:

    Actually I like the flares, but I am tall-ish and skinny-ish so they look good on me. I’m enjoying pairing them with wedgey clogs and body hugging shirts and a big silver pendant – all of which I already had anyway. And that’s the point – you’ve got to really like and enjoy what you’re wearing. So for me no camel, no yellow, no empire lines, for others no flares. And for me that’s the absolute best thing about getting older – re-discovering things you had fun with last time and reinventing them in a way that feels good now.
    I am half handcrafted, vintage lady, half high fashion funky town, with a sizeable ladle of deconstructed indy designer stuff. I also have on hand an excellent pair of boyfriend jeans with big chunky brogues and this is finally, finally the moment for my hand knit stripy socks.Hooray!

  • Erin Thompson says:

    The bit I love most, of all you say, as it’s all spot on and very funny, is the description of your look. The look you do best. It’s so good, I want that to be the new non fashion – fashion game, describe your look in %’s. I’m off to consider mine.

  • Jaki says:

    I don’t think you have to follow the fashion but can take elements of the style. Personally I am glad that jeans and trousers are moving away from skinny. I like wide leg trousers as they balance my top heavy figure, and flares can be useful in that way too as long as they are not extreme.
    I have to say though that I am thoroughly bored with 70’s styles being regurgitated. I think there are only hot pants and skinny rib jumpers yet to be re-discovered. I suppose that means we then move on the the 80’s, my most hated fashion decade.

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