Pants flared at the bottom, popular in the 1400s as well as the 70s. Often were striped vertically! Sometimes horizontally. Also known as "hip huggers". I think. The set of pants that are "hip huggers" has a good deal of overlap with the set of pants that are "bell bottoms" in any case.

Why did bell bottoms make a comeback?

I don't understand modern fashion. What is with this return to the 70's vibe that seems to be all around us? The 70's had ugly clothes. Horrible clothes.

I'm sitting here on a laptop watching these two girls standing at the counter ordering coffee wearing these ugly bell bottom jeans. Of course, they are too long for their legs as the current fashion dictates, so the bottom of the hem on both legs is all ratty and dirty. At least they are not wearing platform shoes, which is good. They are both wearing big clunky work shoes/boots. I remember when it wasn't cool to wear combat boots and the like with clothes, and I did it anyway and people thought I was lame. Now its cool, but people still think I'm lame. Such is life I suppose. :)

At least they were bell bottom jeans and not polyester tight pants with a zipper in the back. Those look even worse. You really have to have just the right ass and thighs to wear those, and trust me, those girls didn't.

I suppose it could be worse. They aren't wearing the big pants that hang off your butt, even with a belt. Of course, you are supposed to let them hang off your butt so you can show off your Calvin Klein boxer shorts. No, that special look is left to the skater punks over at the magazine rack reading about Playstation games or some shit. It is also popular among ravers.

Boy, do I sound like the fashion police or what? :) Personally, I don't really care all that much about what other people wear, but current fashions mean that I have a harder time finding normal jeans in the store to wear. I hate it when that happens.

Kill the bell bottomed fashion designers! Kill em all, let God sort em out!

Hip huggers were pants with a low waist, a couple inches lower than ordinary pants, but they were tight enough to stay up without a belt.

Bell bottoms were also referred to (by their detractors) as "street cleaners" because their wide bells were supposed to be low enough to entirely hide your feet.


The original bell bottoms were worn by sailors. The reason for the design was to allow them to easily roll their pants' legs up when getting out of a boat near shore so as not to get them wet. It also made it easier to roll them up when scrubbing the deck. Or, at least, that's what I was told back when we were wearing these atrocities.

I saw a really exaggerated pair on a guy the other day and I just had to slap my forehead and go, "Oy vey! Was I the biggest Schmuck on Earth? Or what?"

Oh, and there's a very good song on the Derek and the Dominoes album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, called Bell Bottom Blues.

dannye is correct in that the original bell bottoms were worn by sailors, but the reason is much more practical than mere convenience. Bell bottoms were/are a primitive life preserver. If you end up in the drink, you can slip them off quickly and easily, without the need to remove shoes. Then you throw them around your head and blow into the holes to fill them up with air. Of course, they don't work too well long term as you have to keep blowing into the holes as air leaks out.

Not perfect, but not bad for a little extra cloth on your pants.

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