June 9, 2010  ·  mail  ·  style

Mailbag: flare, taper, or straight?

Angelo writes: "I've read that a slightly tapered pant is cleaner and still looks like a straight leg, but have also been told that a slight flare leg is better. What the hell am I supposed to do now?" Answer: Angelo, you've hit upon an issue that demonstrates the very essence of the fashion vs. style issue. Both tapered and boot-cut trousers have been intermittently trendy over the last few decades—boot-cut (aka bell-bottoms, flare-leg) in the 70s and early 00s, and tapered-leg in the 80s and presently among the Zara/H&M under-25 crowd (for whom skinny legs were apparently deemed insufficiently skinny). These are both fashions, and you can probably make them work, but they also run the risk of looking really dated for decades at a time. If you go for a slight flare or slight taper, maybe you're safer longer. Otherwise just stick to a completely straight leg, which will always be in style.

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