Fashion is constantly evolving, and the definition of a boot cut pant is no exception. Essentially, this style of pant today has a wider leg opening at the bottom and usually features a tighter or straight leg fit from waist to knee. There can be variations in this definition, however.
It’s thought that the term "boot cut" was first commonly used the beginning of the 1990s or end of the 1980s to to describe pants with a slightly flared cuff. Perhaps one of the reasons the flared leg pant was reinvented under this name was to distinguish it from bell-bottom or flare styles of the 1960s and 1970s, which might have been considered dated. Renaming the pant coincided with other fashion and popular trends, like interest in country western music and learning country and western line dancing.
Since many people were also attracted to the fashion of having a good pair of cowboy boots or boots in other styles, having a little more room on the ankle and calf to accommodate wearing these shoes was a great idea. As a result, the boot cut pant, and particularly blue jean, grew in popularity. The style continues to be popular, particularly with modern fits that have proven to be exceptionally flattering on many different types of figures.
The more recent style does differ from those produced in the early 1990s. Typically, the waist height is lower than earlier versions, at about the belly button and below natural waistline. Fit, especially in jeans, is straight-legged and snug through hips and thighs. At about the knee, the pants begin to flare slightly, and may end up as an exaggerated flare or a true bell-bottom, or just slightly flared at the cuffs. These pants are often worn with heels or wedges to accentuate a sense of length, and for those with extra curves, wearing dark colors is highly recommended.
This style is typically more figure flattering for most women than the skinny jean or even regular jean style. The flared leg tends to move focus from hips and belly. Length can be a problem, however, if women don’t want to wear a higher shoe, since cuffs may drag on the ground. Men have an advantage here because they can purchase in specific lengths.
The degree of flare at the cuff often depends on the manufacturer. Though jeans may be the most popular boot cut pants, there are slacks of a variety of types that might mimic this style. The skinny jean has made something of a comeback in recent years, and higher-waisted pants are becoming more in style again. As yet, this doesn’t mean the boot cut pant is finished in fashion, and it might be the case that the many who appreciate its style would be completely frustrated if it suddenly became hard to obtain. It’s likely some version of the pant will remain, though with each new season, changes to its style might occur, and definition may someday be outdated.