Bell bottoms are
that become more wide from the knees downwards.
It is believed that bell-bottom
pants were introduced in 1817 to
sailors working on deck. The flare at the
end of the pant leg allowed them to be rolled
up more easily than normal straight-legged
The bell-shaped leg also made the pants
easier to remove in a hurry when forced
to abandon ship or when washed overboard.
The pants may also be knotted at the legs
to be used as a life preserver. Absurdly
wide hems became fashionable in the 1960s,
both for men and women.
If a person looks at a pair of bell-bottoms
from front or behind, it has the form of
a bell or trumpet. Bell-bottoms are sometimes
worn by carpenters in order to prevent dust
from getting into their shoes. In the modern
fashion scene, bell-bottoms were most popular
in the 1960s and 70s. They become popular
again in 1990s in a reincarnation known
as "flares", worn mostly by women.