It took me a long time to recover. I was still wearing tapered-leg jeans in the early 90s, when all my friends were moving towards the straight leg. (I remember - here's a thing to amaze my children with - the first time I saw a fleece jacket. It was strangely bobbly and brightly coloured and I wasn't sure it was nice. Little did I knew what a ubiquitous piece of wardrobe it was poised to become. But I digress.)
Anyway, time passed and I embraced the boot-leg with all the passion of one whose thighs are not more slender - or even as slender - as her calves. Even though Ireland, with its persistent rain and perma-puddles is the worst place to have yards of denim flapping round the soles of your shoes, I left my jeans legs outside my boots, soaking up the moisture and passing it, by osmosis, halfway up to my knees every time I left the house. This is how we must suffer for our art, we fashionistas. With wet socks as soon as you take off your shoes.
Now I think of it, I also remember clearly that moment when taper moved to boot-cut. It was 1988 and we had a Spanish exchange student in the class. She wore her jeans outside her boots. We were flabbergasted by her audacity and certain that she was wrong, but in hindsight, the Spanish are always more to the forefront of the cutting fashion edge than those of us on the waterlogged fringes of the continent.
It also takes longer for global trends to get to the US. I think they start in Japan, actually, because in Sydney in 2007 I was already seeing flat slouchy pixie boots with skinny legs, and thinking they looked horrible. Now, a mere five years later, the look has reached the shores of America. (Okay, maybe it got here sooner. But it's only now that I'm getting inured to it.)
Which is really my point: what a long time it takes to come around to the idea of wearing something again. I know the shillouette this time is subtly different from that of the 80s: skinnies are not the same as tapered legs, and shoulder pads are not yet mandatory - but when the legs inside the jeans are more tapered than drainpipe-shaped, it sort of ends up looking the same. After so long liking the idea that my legs looked the same width at the bottom as at the top, it's hard to see myself getting narrower all the way to the floor and not zone in on my hips as an overly-wide widest point.
Last winter I bought a pair of not-too-skinny skinny jeans, and wore them a few times, with boots. Last week, I apparently lost the run of myself entirely and bought a pair of red quite-skinny skinny jeans. Now I'm obsessively trying to figure out what shoes to wear with them, because I'm not convinced the boots are the best thing after all. And what tops, and what coats, and generally everything. It has occasioned a lot of Google image searches and Pinterest wanderings and Zappos trawling and I may not find the perfect accompaniments until next year.
But that's fine, because then when I put on last-year's jeans, by comparison they looked much more like something I could cope with, being just a teensy bit wider and also dark denim instead of tomato red. My eye is adjusting to the new shape, slowly and reluctantly.
It's a fine line, trying not to look as if you spent the last ten years under a rock but also acknowledging that you're no longer 25 and even when you were 25 you didn't have legs that were four feet long and shaped like drinking straws. I just need the perfect pair of shoes to convey all that.