Flares for Spring 2012 at Betsey Johnson, Alice + Olivia, and Anna Sui during New York Fashion Week.
Photo: Getty Images
We'll always have a soft spot for the skinny pant leg, but if there's anything we picked up from New York Fashion Week's Spring 2012 shows, it's that billowy flares are back. It's as if the fashion gods have decided to give us all some breathing room from skintight silhouettes. To be sure, retro flared pants have enjoyed a surge of popularity recently, but never in such fun, playful prints as seen on the runways of Betsey Johnson, Alice + Olivia, and Anna Sui.
Loose and slouchy, Betsey Johnson's floral flares look seriously comfortable enough to wear as pajamas. But this is Betsey we're talking about; paired with an itty-bitty corset, leopard bra, and chunky necklace, the pants still get a jolt of the designer's signature sass. Alice + Olivia's super flattering version, on the other hand, channels '60s supermodel Twiggy, but with a modern twist. The striking bell-bottoms, in vertical black and white stripes that make legs look a trillion miles long (thank you, Stacey Bendet!), are cleverly balanced out by a solid yellow blouse and a pair of mod white sunglasses. The most ladylike interpretation comes from Anna Sui, whose subtly textured wide-leg trousers would have seemed lounge-worthy but for bold red accents and an oh-so-romantic frilly top.