A Bell bottom, shortly called as Bells is the second skin that created the upside fame from the bottom. Bell-bottoms are trousers that are very wide at the bottom of the leg, near the feet. These trousers were originally an occupational design worn by people who worked on boats during the 17th century. Washing and cleaning the boats was a scruffy job and wearing these pants actually helped. The wide legs at the bottom were easy to roll up to finish their jobs.
It is an important landmark in the history of humankind and an incredibly well-known style during the 1960s and 1970s that swept off the feet. In the 1960s bell-bottoms became fashionable for both men and women in North America and Europe. Bell-bottoms are mentioned in the popular 1971 music single Bell Bottom Blues by blues-rock group Derek and Dominos.
These trousers were so high on the waist that a man with washboard abs would have his six-pack hidden and for women, it was a no navel show. Men preferred a cool mock turtleneck top with the bell-bottoms to truly go with the retro vibe. A pair of heeled boots to this fusion complimented extremely well and it lengthened the look of the legs. People wore these for parties, celebrations, Sundays and it became their regular attire. It became a part of their lives.
Balloon bells and Elephant bells were variants under the bell-bottom styles which were extremely wide: Balloon pants were called Loon pants later (shortened from Balloon) which had an increased flare than the regular ones. Elephant bells became popular in the mid-late 1970s and these typically were made of denim. They became universally accepted and were available in a range of fabrics as preferred by people.
Bell bottoms were introduced to India in the year 1968. It was more flared than the ones in the existing market. The film industry played a very vital role in spreading this fashion across the common people. Bollywood Superstar Rajesh Khanna popularized matching these with loose fit Kurtas. Amitabh Bachchan, in his super hit movie DON, wore his jackets with these wide bottom pants with a record 36 inches flare.
People started to convert their regular trousers to Bellbottoms. The seam from the middle of the trouser was split; a triangle cloth piece was inserted and stitched. That easy it was. Few tried making such patches of different colors just to set the trend. Bigger the bell better was the style. These bells made noise for more than 2 decades and gradually lost its fame by the end of the 70s in the US and 80s in India.
The revival of bell-bottoms happened after the music band ‘the stone roses’ re-introduced them when they slowly went missing and repeated history in the 1990s across the globe, under the new name as Boot cuts. It was re-launched as a part of the 1970s retro style and as a version of baggy fashion in India. Women’s boot-cut jeans were tighter at the knee than men’s, and flare out from knee to the hem.
Denim Destroyed flares were the next trend. Millennials wore them with the hems tucked underneath their shoes. It would go so dirty and that’s how they preferred to wear. And the next trend was the cargo flares which had huge side baggy packets.
It is a come and go favor trend. People have the flair to wear these whenever it was introduced and reintroduced. History repeats now and then. Let’s wait and watch as we are at the tail end of the year.
It ruled the world from the bottom – “Bellbottoms”, the Glad rags under the feet.