Flair is a talent for something, like what the pro-wrestler Nature Boy Ric Flair had back in the day. Flare is on a candle or the shape of bell-bottoms that kids rocked back in the heyday of wrastlin'.

Flair is a noun meaning an aptitude or eagerness for something or a distinctive style. You might have a flair for photography, wrestling, or dressing like a flapper. If you describe food as having a certain flair, such as a Latin flair, you mean it has the distinctive style of Latin food. Flair isn't a synonym for flavor. Style is more than flavor. Here are some flairs, ta da:

Charming and gregarious with a flair for grand gestures, he was haunted by drug addiction. (New York Times)

Nice has always boasted an Italian flair; La Promenade respects that tradition by serving firm pasta, an outlier in a world of overcooked French noodles. (Business Week)

Flare has fun, too, in many different ways. As a noun, flare is a shape that is wider at one end, such as bellbottoms, also called flares. It can also be a flickering light, as with the flare of a match. To flare might be widen or to suddenly burn. A disease can flare up, or become worse, while your skirt can flare out, or widen. Flare on:

One oak is hollowed and flared at the bottom like an arched, empty shell. (New York Times)

Sudden anger flared up in the girl's blue eyes, though, he knew it was not directed against him. (Harold Bindloss)

If you're not sure which f-word you want, choose flare. After all, flair just refers to that special something, it's restricted to being a noun that means stylishness or an aptitude for something. Flare means everything else! (Almost)