Women's Bell Bottom Jeans guide and information resource about Women's Bell Bottom Jeans presented by Apparel Search

Do you think that bell-bottoms started in the 1960's?  Although these pants had been an important part of the 1960's fashion scene in the United States, this is not when this trouser had its origin.

In the early 19th century, when a standardized uniform did not yet exist in the U.S. Navy, some sailors adopted a style of wide trousers ending in bell-shaped cuffs.  In 1813, one of the first recorded descriptions of sailors' uniforms, written by Commodore Stephen Decatur, noted that the men on the frigates United States and Macedonia were wearing "glazed canvas hats with stiff brims, decked with streamers of ribbon, blue jackets buttoned loosely over waistcoats, and blue trousers with bell bottoms."

Bell-bottoms or flares are a style of pant that become wider from the knees downward, forming a bell-like shape of the trouser leg.  Jeans are a type of trousers, typically made from denim or dungaree cloth. Often the term "jeans" refers to a particular style of trousers, called "blue jeans".  Bell-bottom jeans are the ones made from jean fabric.

In the 1960s, bell-bottoms became fashionable for both men and women in Europe and North America.  Often made of denim, they flared out from the bottom of the calf, and had slightly curved hems and a circumference of 18 inches (46 cm) at the bottom of each leg opening.  Today, original bell-bottoms from the 1960s and 70s are collectible vintage clothing.

In the 1970s, bell-bottoms maintained popularity as mainstream fashion. Sonny and Cher helped popularize bell-bottoms in the US by wearing them on their popular television show.

In 1996, women's bell-bottoms were reintroduced to the mainstream public, under the name "boot-cut" ("boot-fit") trousers as the flare was slimmer.  The bell-bottoms of the 1960s and 1970s can be distinguished from the flare or boot-cut (boot-fit) of the 1990s and 2000s by the tightness of the fabric at the knee.

Bell-bottom variants:

Loon pants (shortened from "balloon pants") were a variant on bell-bottomed trousers, with an increased flare. They were worn occasionally by go-go dancers on the British television music variety show Ready Steady Go! in 1966.

Elephant bells, popular in the mid-to-late 1970s, were similar to loon pants, but were typically made of denim. Elephant bells had a marked flare below the knee, often covering the wearer's shoes. The preferred shoes were platform shoes with soles at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) thick and heels 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) to keep the pants' hems off the ground.

You may also want to learn about the following types of jeans:

Vintage Jeans

Boyfriend Jeans

Ripped Jeans (yes, you can find ripped bell bottom jeans)

Button Fly Jeans

Learn about other pant styles.

You can also check the page for women's bell-bottom pants.

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