Friends, at your request, I set myself a challenge: finding the perfect flare or bootcut jeans for curves. I’ve generally stuck to wearing skinny or straight-leg jeans in the past and haven’t ventured much into flare or wide-leg styles because I find them hard to both find and style.
On a tall, thin body type, flares can create the illusion of an elongated hourglass shape — the top of the hourglass is the shoulders, the waist is pinched in, and the flare at the ankle is the base of the hourglass. However, on a curvy, pear-shaped body like mine, flares jeans create more of what I would describe as a “stacked hourglass” — essentially a triangle on top (shoulders/bust/waist) that stacks on top of an hourglass consisting of the booty, legs and flare at the ankles.
But fashion is for fun, and trying a new style seemed worth the effort. Below, I’ve rounded up One Winner To Rule Them All, a very good runner-up, an honorable mention, and a handful of dishonorable mentions.
Midsize Flare + Bootcut Jeans Review: What Works For My Curvy Booty (& What Doesn’t)
Beyond the challenge of styling the shape, it’s difficult to find flares that are cut with curves in mind. With a smaller waist and more ample booty and thighs, very few jeans that aren’t part of a “curve” line work well for me. Curve lines are cut specifically for people with smaller waists and a bigger bum and thighs, so there isn’t a big gap at the back of the waistband. Every once in a while, I find a style that isn’t in a curve that does work, but I look for curve lines first.
Easy-to-access brands with curve options include Everlane, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s and Madewell. The winning style, Madewell Curvy Skinny Flare Jeans, is indeed part of a curve line although the runner-up pair is not, which just goes to show that you have to try and try again when it comes to finding perfectly fitting jeans.
The Winner: Madewell Curvy Skinny Flare Jeans
Here we have the winning pair: Madewell Curvy Skinny Flare Jeans in size 31. These jeans have some stretch but not so much that I’m worried about the jeans rapidly losing shape. The rise is very high on these, and I like that because I think it helps elongate my frame (I’m average height at 5’5”). I also tried on a size 32 (my usual size), but it was too big in the waist.
One of the great aspects of Madewell as a brand is that it offers petite, standard and tall options, so you can find a length that works well for your height — and hopefully you won’t need to hem the jeans. The standard length is a 32-inch inseam. For now, the style is only available in one wash, but I’d love to see Madewell come out with different washes in the future.
For fun, I’ve popped on my favorite fall shoes: my Free People lug-sole loafers. Flares and lug-sole loafers give me total ‘70s vibes. I’m also wearing a bodysuit with the jeans, so you can see the shape and fit of the jeans as clearly as possible. I’ve put together a few more bodysuits I love below.
Shop More Sweetheart Bodysuits
The Runner-Up: Levi’s 726 High-Rise Flare Jeans
The runner-up in my bootcut/flare-jeans search are the Levi’s 726 High-Rise Flare Jeans in size 32 (runs true to size). I think this is an amazing budget option with a similar design as the Madewell jeans above (same inseam length of 32 inches), and Levi’s offers this style in four different washes. The wash pictured below is the Worn In Dark Indigo wash that has some light distressing through the hips.
This fall, I’m styling these jeans with my Everlane cable-knit sweater vest, which appears to be discontinued (why, Everlane?!) but is also being replaced with a cashmere version (hard to complain about that).
For a little height and to make sure my hems don’t drag in the wet leaves, I’m wearing my caramel-colored Caslon Chelsea boots that I picked up at Nordstrom.
Shop More Knit Vests
Honorable Mention: FRAME Le High Flare Jeans
These are the only pair of designer jeans that almost fit. The FRAME Le High flare jeans in size 32 definitively do not fit (ran small), but the size 33 is so close. However, the problem again is the waist gap in the back. These are just not cut for a generous booty.
If you’re more of an apple than a pear, these jeans might fit you and are worth a try. I do love the light wash, and the inseam is a good length for my height.
Sigh. On to the list of fails. First, I went hard with Good American, ordering several different styles to try. I found both skinny and straight-leg jeans that I loved from Good American during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, so I had high hopes that I’d find a great bootcut style from the brand as well.
1. Good American Raw-Hem Bootcut Jeans
However, I tried the Good American Raw-Hem Bootcut Jeans (size 15), and they’re way too long. I definitely would’ve had to hem them. Hemming, however, isn’t a deal breaker. The waist gap, on the other hand, is absolutely a deal breaker. The gap is massive and totally unflattering. This is an unexpected fail from Good American, which is usually so good with curves.
2. Good American Good Legs Flare Jeans
I also tried the Good American Good Legs Flare Jeans (size 14). These are less bad than the bootcut jeans but still too long for my frame — and also really not designed for curves. This style would be worth a try if you’re less curvy in the hips and thighs.
3. Good American Always Fits Good Classic Boot Jeans
The Good American Always Fits Good Classic bootcut jeans are confusing. The idea behind Always Fits is that these jeans should fit a whole range of sizes because of the stretch in the fabric. The tag line is “one-size-fits-four.” I purchased the size 14-18, but I could barely get these on they’re so tight. I cannot imagine that these actually fit anyone who is over a size 14.
I’ve heard that right now the sizing for plus sizes at Good American is really inconsistent, and this definitely reinforced that perception. The style was beautiful (a deep indigo wash, nice length, nice flare), but unfortunately the multisize concept just didn’t work out.
4. Paige High-Rise Laurel Canyon Jeans
I also tried the Paige High-Rise Laurel Canyon bootcut jeans with a raw hem in 32 and the hemmed version in 33. I can’t get the size 32 over my hips, so this pair was an automatic no-go. I could get the size 33 on, but there’s a gap in the back of the waist and weird creasing around the groin. I actually had to laugh out loud looking in the mirror with these on. Paige needs to offer a curve design to win me over.
5. Pilcro Retro High-Rise Flare Jeans
Another sad and definitive fail are the Pilcro Retro High-Rise Flare Jeans in size 32. These are just too small, and the 32 is the largest size available at my local Anthropologie store. I’m often willing to go look for extended sizes online, but honestly, I don’t think the style is special in any way. Plus, the jeans aren’t at an especially good price point, either, so the investigation into this particular pair of jeans ended rather abruptly.
6. DENIZEN From Levi’s Mid-Rise Bootcut Jeans
Finally, I also tried the DENIZEN Mid-Rise Bootcut Jeans by Levi’s in size 32. This is a line of Levi’s sold at Target, and I just do not think the quality is the same as the regular Levi’s line. While this collection is priced even lower than the regular Levi’s line, in my opinion, this is just not worth it. Paying a marginally higher price results in a significant jump in the quality of materials and construction.
I hope that helps you in your search for some groovy fall flares. Tell us how you’ll be wearing your flare or bootcut jeans this fall! I can’t wait to hear about it.