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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Awakening of the Bell Bottoms

Flared or belled below the knees was the style in the 60s and 70s. Popularity was measured in the size of the bell of your pants. The bigger the bell the better. These pants were normally made of denim, cotton, or polyester. Along with the bell bottom pants do not be surprised to find platform shoes as well.

The United States Navy did not have a standard issued uniform until after the 19th century. Many of the sailors would don a pair of wide trousers that ended with a bell shaped cuff. In 1813 the sailor uniform was described as "glazed canvas hats with stiff brims, decked with streamers of ribbon, blue jackets buttoned loosely over waistcoats and blue trousers with bell bottoms.

Present day United States Navy uniforms are still referred to as "bell bottomed" but they are rather straight legged in this time. Perhaps the bell bottom appearance came to be as for years the trouser leg would be rolled up allowing the sailor to work in bare feet

The 1960s and 70's would witness the Hippie culture influence fashion with the bell bottom pants. Young people were publicly objecting the retail expensive, conservative garments in favor of casual, inexpensive items from thrift and military surplus stores. While hugely popular they were mainly found in surplus stores and looked down upon as a style of radicals. Many would make their own by cutting the outside seam on straight leg jeans and add a triangle of fabric to create a wider leg. The 1970s would watch the movement of the bell bottoms go mainstream. The jean companies would begin selling bell bottoms for both men and women.

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