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Forum > Fashion Styles and Trends > Bell Bottom Overalls - can any figure wear these? ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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Bell Bottom Overalls - can any figure wear these?
Have fallen in love with vintage Simplicity 5890 from 1973 - need reality check
Vivienne
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Vivienne
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Date: 10/20/13 5:35 PM

I have fallen in love with the idea of a fine menswear check woolen made up as Simplicity 5890 from 1973. Hem circumference is 28".



I've only worn bell bottoms twice - as part of an angel costume for Christmas assembly in 1991. No pictures can be found to confirm, but my mom assures me I looked ridiculous.

I'm 5-3 and don't have a curvy behind or hips. I usually wear very skinny trousers. In fact, my sole pair of wider legged jeans measure 23" at the hem. I got my heel caught in the sweep of the leg and fell part way down the stairs at the train station! These are now paired ONLY with cowboy boots.

Will I be a fashion crime as well as a danger to the public in bell bottoms?

Anyone out there who wore or wears bell bottoms have any comments?

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a7yrstitch
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In reply to Vivienne <<


Date: 10/20/13 5:57 PM

Always thought the trickiest part of bell bottoms or widely flared pants was in choosing the right shoes - for fashion as well as function.

Really, they originally tended to be made more from denim or other fabric that was considered casual then. They were worn with a more casual shoe, sandal or boot. Many of us will surely remember that the bell bottom jeans often had horribly but fashionably frayed bottoms from constantly scraping the ground.

The bell bottom - really flared - pants from dressier fabrics were usually not as dramatically flared and tended to descend from a straighter line from the hip. It was a nice feeling pant with the fit just above, and just below, and right at the hip being crucial. For one thing, the accurate hip fit kept the pants up. But, it also balanced all that extra fabric at the bottom so there was a flow of fabric and not a body swimming in fabric.

So, are you thinking snug t, body fitting sweater, or tailored blouse with extra volume in the sleeves?

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Vivienne
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Date: 10/20/13 6:45 PM

I pictured a snug fitting turtleneck -just like the pattern envelope (haha).

I think I will need to muslin - and I'm guessing I will need to narrow the flare somewhat to meld with my "skinny jean brain".

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Cheap fabrics, like cheap shoes, are a false economy.

aprilla
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Date: 10/20/13 7:35 PM

I love the idea!
I like the bell bottom that flares from around the knee, though I remember a favourite pair of 'flares' (dark green, white bishop sleeved blouse with wide collar, green/white knit vest *FAB*) ... the flares were special, for going out (ROTFL) but the bell bottoms were for everyday.

I wore dungarees until somewhere around 1986? 87? ... somewhere around then. I now remember I nearly bought a pair a few years later (not bell bottoms though), tried on and loved them, no cash. Went back and they were gone. I love the thought of bell bottom ones.... good luck with your project!

Anyway, I think anyone who likes to wear jeans can wear them ... and just might consider a pair for myself! Also with the polo shirt

ps the shoes with those green flares?... white square heels with shiny socks to make the shoe look like a boot. Oh wow huh?

Quote:
Will I be a fashion crime as well as a danger to the public in bell bottoms?

Possibly, but do it anyway.


-- Edited on 10/20/13 7:40 PM --
BriarRose
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Date: 10/20/13 7:41 PM

A-hem. I graduated from high school in 1973 and had a pair of bell-bottomed overalls in which I look quite fetching. Instead of the overall top, though, it had a halter top that fit from the waist up then wrapped behind the neck.

Actually, I may still have those somewhere in the costume collection. I'd be happy to model them except I seem to have lost my waistline over the intervening forty years.

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It's just fabric; we can out-think it.

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 10/20/13 8:41 PM

OMG!!!! They're baaaack!!!! I used to have this same pattern, and I have long legs. I was much thinner then, too.

But in looking at your description, a lot of women I knew back then who were shorter than me, (I'm 5'8") wore platform shoes to compensate. The bell bottoms look better on longer legs, or "longer looking" legs. There is something about the "law of thirds" or balance when wearing bell bottoms. You don't want the straighter part of the leg to be less than 2/3 of the overall length, otherwise you will look like a penguin or a bird with fluffed feet. So, what my high school girlfriend did (she was 5'2") was buy platform shoes.

If you want to get a visual of what I'm talking about, take the pattern envelope, and fold a horizontal tuck of about 1/2" into it, just above where the flare starts; above the knee and below the hip. You'll see that this will make you look much shorter. I've tried doing this in PaintNet, but it also means I have to post a photo to my online site, which I'm not in the mood to do.

Edited to add: It might work if you lowered the flared part more toward your ankle, but don't make it flare out as much. That will still keep the lean line of the leg and make you look taller.
-- Edited on 10/20/13 8:54 PM --

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SandiMacD
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Date: 10/21/13 4:36 AM

My mom sewed many a bell bottom and I loved them in the 60's- jeans slightly flared and fabric with a skirt type thing at the knees.
My sister and I looked really really cute in them. We wore sandals and tennis shoes but mostly bare feet as I was in CA and HI in those times and yes the hem took a beating! I seem to recall carrying my shoes a lot. It was an after school thing as we still were required to wear dresses and skirts to school back then.
I was so lucky my Dad was in the Navy and I could get dungarees and pea coats.
Feeling a bit nostalgic to see those trends returning.

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Adventurer
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Date: 10/21/13 11:39 AM

So,everything comes back. I wore pants similar to this, w/o the bib top, though. I am 5'4", and I agree with Miss Fairchild, but I never knew about the "law". If they were wide at the knee I looked very short and swam in them. My favorite was a pair of jeans that hugged my knees, then had a very low wide flare. That's what I would recommend for you. You could alter the pattern to be a lower flare. And the shoe thing, yeah, I remember those brogues and platforms, very clunky and made you walk strangely. Oh, and wooden clogs would really give it a 70's vibe.

Kathi R
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In reply to SandiMacD <<
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Date: 10/21/13 1:29 PM

A trip down memory lane ---- going to the War Surplus store to buy Navy dungarees ... patch pockets both front and back, bought to fit like the skin on a sausage with huge bell bottoms. If I still had my 16 year old shape I would rock that look again!

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2012 : starting stash 386, net additions 206, used 164, ending stash 428...I'm never going to get in front of this pile of fabric!

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In reply to Vivienne <<
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Date: 10/21/13 1:42 PM

LOL!! I still have a pair of bell-bottom overalls (denim) that I bought in 1973. They were worn with platform sandals - like this



Of course back then I was my current height (5'6") but weighed 108 lbs. Ah, youth!

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