Listen, the bad news is this: you are going to have to try a new trouser shape, other than skinny jeans.
How are you feeling? Panicked? That’s all right, that’s quite normal when faced with such a drastic fashion ‘shape’ transition.
I’m sympathetic. I had my own freak-out a while back when I, too, realised I was going to have to wear something other than skinny jeans for the rest of my life.
Skinny jeans are just so gloriously easy to buy, of course. As long as a pair has the right amount of stretch in the fabric and they’re the colour we want, they’ll do. You rarely have to try on more than three pairs of skinny jeans before you find one that is OK and before you know it, you’re swanning out of the shop and off for a coffee. Compare that with the trauma of finding a new bra or a swimsuit and you start to understand why each British woman has a minimum of 75 pairs of skinny jeans (I may have made this figure up).
Not only that, skinny jeans are practical: they keep us toasty warm and dry in the winter, make us feel like sleek and slimline otters
at night, and make rough-and-ready travelling gear.
That’s why they’ve had a hold on our wardrobes and our wallets for the past decade. But their time is about to be up, as it is with all fashion items. Soon they will look as dated as hair scrunchies, low-rise bootleg jeans or those cropped military jackets we all wore for six months solid in 2002.
Now is the time to embrace a new shape, a new dawn. Get the jump on the whole ghastly business before you wake up one Saturday morning and realise that you genuinely have nothing to wear.
My transition from skinny to Something Else was made necessary by having children. I suddenly couldn’t stand anything tight around my middle or around my thighs. Having small kids was hard enough without having to worry about digging-in waistbands or hoiking up a saggy seat.
In my youth, being dressed slightly uncomfortably was just the price I paid for being fashionable and fabulous; having small children in tow means that one iota too much of waist-area constriction may result in a total nervous breakdown.
Anyway: I had had enough. I bought a pair of very expensive, designer voluminous ‘boyfriend’ jeans and wore them with the cuffs rolled up every day.
With everyone else still trotting about in their skinnies, I must have looked quite a sideshow in my huge trousers, but I wasn’t bothered: the comfort, ladies and gentlemen, was beyond compare.
Since then, alternatives to skinny jeans have been more available – there are upmarket joggers, wide-legged cropped trousers of unimaginable unflatteringness, wide-leg trousers of perfectly OK flatteringness, boyfriend jeans, ‘mom’ jeans and sports leggings made from fabric of such technical brilliance that you could fire them into space and they’d find their own way home.
So it’s really just a question of trying out as many new things as you can bear. I’m not asking you to wear something that doesn’t suit you and that you don’t feel comfortable in, I’m asking you to see whether or not your new ‘forever’ trousers might be out there somewhere.
(Although it’s not lost on me that asking you to try on a whole lot of unfamiliar trouser shapes is a bit
like saying, “Have this lovely wasp sandwich.”)
Me? In all things, always, I like to have choice. And I like best not to be trapped in a this-old-thing-again nightmare while I am planning tomorrow’s outfit at bedtime (What?! Don’t you all do this?). So while it is always easiest to reach for something that you know works, something that will not drag in puddles on a rainy day or leave you chilly, that way leads to a major style rut.
If you start planning each outfit ruling out skinny jeans entirely unless it’s a complete time/laundry/style crisis emergency you will, out of necessity, find alternatives in those boyfriend jeans, or those wide-leg crops (they might suit you! You never know until you try) or those smart joggers.
And the joy of feeling more comfortable combined with feeling smug and modern is – I promise – worth those few moments of panic.