"Over my dead body."
That was my response when a colleague told me that Gen-Z had declared the skinny jean was dead and my loyal leg coverings were now a "cheugy" nightmare.
I was horrified. How on earth could a jean that was a staple for several generations, simply be out? All because a generation - who hasn't even known the struggles of life pre-skinny jeans - declared them to be so.
Clearly, they never knew the pain that we millennials endured in 1998 - dragging our wide-leg jeans along the ground, ripping the hem and thus encouraging surface water to drench our legs and the back of our DC shoes.
They were wrong, and I was determined to show them so. Skinny jeans were the forever jean and I was not giving them up.
That was until I was invited to preview a new collection at a 20-somethings staple store and took the plunge in a rush, telling the impeccably dressed fashion buyer to "pick me something to try".
As she reached for the wide-leg jeans I was horrified. It was clearly an act of sabotage and I was having none of it.
Determined to laugh at the notion and say "I told you so", I reluctantly slid the jeans on, French tucked a chunky knit sweater and turned around to the full-length mirror. "DAMMIT!" I looked fantastic.
The jeans hit every curve perfectly and the wide bottoms created a balance I had long since forgotten could be achieved in a pant. I was sold.
And apparently, I wasn't the only one, speaking to VIVA's fashion and creative director Dan Ahwa, who said there has been a global shift toward wider leg styles.
"Whether it's the influence of the surf and street sub-cultures with Dickie's and skate trousers to the ubiquitous elasticated track pants that defined 2020's lockdown period, a generous trouser is where things are at," said Ahwa.
"There's a relaxed dress code now with what we do and the reality is not everyone wants to wear a tie or a suit to work now. People can even get away with wearing smart sneakers on the red carpet. So it's only natural that something as universally worn like a pair of jeans will become more relaxed."
Since my own turning point, I have become something of a skinny jean rehab coach. Helping friends and colleagues who ask that question: "But what am I supposed to wear now?"
The possibilities in this new jean realm are endless. So here are my top tips, top picks and the answer to that, indeed, tricky question.
The transition jean
The first thing you want when looking to make the change from skinny, to straight or wide, is the perfect transition jean. The key element of this jean is that it needs to be slim through the thigh.
This gives you the feel of a skinny jean and the flattering look you are used to through the thighs but adds balance to the leg.
The Slim Fit Jeans by Maggie Marilyn offer just that. They are fitted through the bum and thighs, but have a looser fit below the knee, making them both flattering and also comfortable. A massive win in my book.
The wide jean
Once you have graduated from your transition jean and feel a bit braver, it's time to try a wider leg style.
Opt for something with a high waist that cinches you in. This means that your glorious waist will be the focal point.
Sure this style can be daunting if you aren't 6ft tall. But the payoff is so worth it. Team this look with a bold boot and a tucked-in shirt and you can take it anywhere.
The High Rise Wide Leg from RE/DONE are a brilliant option when trying out a wider leg, with Ahwa picking the upcycled brand as one of the best.
A similar version from Glassons offer that perfect waist cinch and come at an affordable price tag.
The designer jean
Once you find your groove, it's time to invest in something quality, that's going to last a lifetime. Something that won't go out of style, even when the next generation declares it so.
In my opinion, nobody does perfectly tailored jeans better than the icon that is Anine Bing.
The Sonya jean is a wardrobe essential, in a rigid denim that wears beautifully, and that's key when locking in a new style at a designer price tag. You need to make the most of that cost per wear and that's where the Sonya jean shines.
Team them with a pair of slide sandals and a well-loved T-shirt in the warmer months. Then pop on an oversized blazer and loafer in the cooler months. You cannot go wrong.
Bonus picks: The Annie Bing Kat Jean perfectly pairs the distressed look with an ultra-flattering high waist and will have you feeling seriously slick.
Ahwa recommends Kiwi brands KowTow and Wynn Hamlyn, who have been working toward creating sustainable denim options.
The mom jean
The mom jean is a staple in my wardrobe and a style I find myself getting constantly complimented on.
The style gets a bad rap due to the name - but if it was good enough for Princess Diana during her school runs in the 90s, it's absolutely good enough for me.
The mom jean is slightly wider through the thigh and therefore creates a relaxed vibe. They look perfect with the hem rolled and that small styling detail will make you feel more polished.
MUD jeans, who use recycled materials and organic cotton, make some of the best, with the Relax Rose jean effortlessly nailing this style.
Team with a cosy sweatshirt, or tuck a fitted shirt - this style looks brilliant with a top that is slightly cropped, ending where the waist of the jeans falls.
The tried and tested jean
I've said it once, and I'll say it again. Levi's 501 jeans reign supreme.
The 501 style truly lasts the test of time and has virtually never gone out of style since their launch in the 60s.
They suit any body shape and are made to last, no matter what you do in them. Vintage Levi's 501s can be seen on any self-respecting Gen-Zer, and are somehow more pricey than brand new 501s - the ultimate testament of the perfect jean.
Are skinny jeans gone forever?
Absolutely not. Skinny jeans have been back in fashion for the past 20 years and they aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
They have this ability to make us feel good once they are on but also hate ourselves as we attempt to pull them on.
Wide leg and straight legs are just having a moment - a rebirth of such. So it's perfectly ok to slip in and out of the habit.
Ahwa agrees, saying: "People can wear whatever they like, but there will be much less emphasis on skinny jeans as people look toward wearing clothes that are less restrictive and won't prohibit their freedom to move.
"Skinny jeans were also created by designers and popularised in the mid-2000s for a very specific body type. As the industry becomes less hung up on body size and becoming finally much more inclusive of all bodies, so too is the need for clothes, like skinny jeans, that only represent a certain type of ideal body shape."
But skinny jeans have stood the test of time as a forever style for a generation and, if you choose, you should still feel fantastic as you not so effortlessly slide into them.
And don't let anymore with less than 30 years of life experience and dreadful fads tell you otherwise.