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Types of Flare Jeans for Short Legs

Lately, the trend has been the more jean styles, the merrier—and that includes the iconic flare. Reminiscent of the classic ’70s denim, today’s flares range from full vintage throwback to almost delicate mini kick flares


When many people think about the womens denim flare look, they imagine denim emphasizing long legs. Some people assume that only a particular body type can look attractive in flared denim, but anyone can make this style work—the trick is to know what cuts and shapes are most flattering. Flare jeans have come a long way from the vintage style many think of. Let’s take a closer look. 


What Are Flare Jeans? 

flare jeans pants legs


Flare jeans are also known as bell bottom jeans because they fit through the thigh, then begin to flare around the knee to the hem of the jean. This type of jean varies in length and can end in a flare from mid-calf all the way down to the floor. Many flare styles are high waisted and fitted from the waist all the way through the knee. And the flare can be barely there or extravagantly wide. Finally, this type of jean comes in every color and wash and can include patchwork.  


What’s the Difference Between Flared Jeans and Wide Leg Jeans? 


Both flared jeans and wide-leg jeans end with looser material, but they are very different styles. Wide-leg jeans are loose and may even be extremely wide from the top of the leg down—remember JNCO in the ’90s? But bell bottoms are usually fitted to the knee, where the fabric “breaks” into the bell shape. 


What’s the Difference Between Flare Jeans and Bootcut Jeans? 


The difference between these two types of women’s jeans can be much more subtle. Ideally, flare jeans fit to the knee, and the fabric breaks at the knee, widening to the end of the hem. Flare jeans can be “baby” with minimal flare or extravagantly wide by the hem. Bootcut jeans also have a flare, but the break often happens directly below the knee. The flare is usually only enough to accommodate a theoretical cowboy boot. 


How to Know If You Are Petite 


Some people struggle to find the perfect pair of jeans because there can be some confusion about what makes a person petite. Often, they assume that the petite label means a person is both short and thin. However, petite refers more to the person’s height and limb length. A petite woman is about 5’4” or shorter. Petite women generally have a shorter inseam, which could range from 25” for someone who is 4’11” to 27.5” for a person who is 5’1”. However, leg length can vary in petite women, just as a taller woman could need a shorter inseam. 


But can a petite woman wear flare jeans, even with short legs? Yes! Let’s look at how to shop for petite denim to get the most flattering looks. 


How To Shop for Petite Denim 

styled flare jeans with jacket


Whether you’re petite and plus-sized or petite and slim, shopping for denim can be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. The key is to find a denim brand that offers accurate petite sizes and not simply the same clothes but with shorter legs. When shopping for petite denim, look for three areas of fit: 


  • The inseam: knowing your inseam will ensure you get a pant that isn’t baggy or stretched at the crotch, and the entire length of your leg is visible. 
  • The rise: many petite women have a shorter torso and get a better fit with a mid rise pant. 
  • Petite, NOT short: Petite and short are not the same! Choosing petite sizing makes it easier to find jeans with better-positioned pockets, a scaled waistband, and a good knee break. For more information on petite jeans, read our blog on the best jeans for short legs.


How to Find Your Inseam 


There are several methods for finding your inseam, but the easiest way is to work with a pair of pants you have that fit well. If they have an inseam tag already, great! If not, fold them lengthwise on a flat surface and line up the legs. Then, lift one pant leg and measure the seam running from the crotch to where the pant hits your ankle. 


For more information on jean length, read our other blogs:


Types of Flare Jeans For Short Legs 


Short-leg flare jeans exist, and they’re fabulous. There are several types of flare jeans that work great for petite people, such as: 


  • Mini-flare: Flare jeans can be figure-flattering, but petite women can benefit from a smaller flare opening that isn’t wider than the hips. 
  • Mid or high rise: Low rise flares can shorten the look of the leg. Mid and high rise flares create a more balanced look. 
  • Knee-break flare: Finding jeans that break right at the knee can be tricky with shorter legs. That’s why it’s so important to look for petite sizing. If the pants break above or below the knee, the leg can look wider and shorter. 


How To Style Petite Flare Jeans 

flare denim with floral top


Flare jeans are fun to style, and you can easily dress them up or down with different shoes, accessories, or fashion tops. Try some of these style combos: 


  • A high rise, itty-bitty raw-hem flare with a bonnet sleeved button down blouse tucked into the front of your jeans to enhance the length of your legs. 

  • A high rise crop mini flare jean with stretch, with a flouncy-sleeved top that gathers at the waist of the jeans. Lengthen the leg with a trendy platform sneaker or sandal. 

  • A mid rise pair of dark or black jeans with a trouser-style flare that stops at the top of the foot can take you from work to dinner with a soft silk blouse and a removable blazer. 


Petite Women Can Wear More than Straight Leg Jeans 


flare jeans with sweater


Don’t feel like you’re stuck with your skinny jeans or a straight-leg jean—flare jeans are for petite sizes, too! From the United Kingdom to New York and Los Angeles, women of all shapes and sizes are embracing the flare trend.


The key is to find a great fit that helps you balance your overall look. Take some measurements and go by what flatters you, not a specific size. Wear your flares!

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