Who knew the U.S. Navy was so stylish? It has been recorded that as far back as the early nineteenth century, the Navy began producing wide legged trousers, ones that flared considerably past the knee. This was helpful in a variety of ways as it allowed the men to pull their pants over big, heavy deck boots and were easier to roll up wet or dry. The nickname for the pants, being bell bottomed, stuck and here we are today, finding new modern fabric and shapes but keeping that flared shape intact.
In the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s, younger generations were picking the Naval bells up at military surplus stores and adding their own flavor which included patches and cutting the pants to be even more belled by inserting extra triangle panels of denim, corduroy, etc.
The modern wide legged trouser silhouette for women these days are a bit more sleek, often made out of light wool or cotton linen blends. They may have cuffed hems and traditional banded waists with zipper or button flies. Bells do wonders for highlighting the length and slimness of the leg and are classy enough to wear to the boardroom.
Below is a 1970’s image of Miss Bridget Bardot in her jean bell bottoms, looking as foxy as ever. I’ve also collected some “now” images of bell bottoms followed by classic vintage pairs for sale on our site. Enjoy!