Boomer Girl Diary: Trends make terrible masters

This week, the eagerly anticipated list of the “Top Ten Fall Fashion Trends” was released by Neiman Marcus. Here, in case you missed it, is what the well-dressed fashionista will be wearing this autumn:

Red handbags and accessories; leggings (especially in denim with zippers at the ankles); long and chunky cozy knits; motorcycle-inspired jackets; leopard prints; metallic shoes; jackets with “emphasized but refined” shoulders; “statement” jewelry; studs, buckles or zippers on shoes and bags; and “major” (as opposed to “little”) black dresses with stand-up collars, cut-out details or big skirts.

I’ve never been a slave to Fashion, although I’ve certainly been her lackey, off and on, through the years.

In sixth grade, I purchased a pair of lime green hip-hugger bell-bottoms and an oversized lime green paisley shirt. (I did this, apparently, with my mother’s blessing and credit card. This was the woman who denied me white go-go boots the year before because she deemed them “too trendy.” Go figure.) The ensemble became my go-to roller rink outfit and, man, did I look cool. That is, until my so-called best friend bought the exact same outfit.

A year later, I chopped off all my long, blond hair for the “do” of the day — the Twiggy cut — and wore “unisex” jeans and shirts everywhere I went. For 10 minutes that year, before all hormonal hell broke loose, my body actually resembled the waif-like cockney supermodel. I thought I looked “mod.” That is, until one of my mom’s acquaintances told her what a darling boy I was, and I locked myself in my room and cried for hours.

Through the ’70s and ’80s, I experimented with various looks of the moment including hippie, preppy, yuppie, sporty, nautical, romantic, retro, vintage, glam, grunge, boho and baby doll.

I wore shirts that were tie-dyed, batiked, paint-splattered, appliquéd, bejeweled and bedazzled. I donned halter tops, tube tops under overalls (now, THERE was a look), popcorn knits, earth knits, cowl necks and mock turtlenecks.

Prairie skirts, mini, maxi- and midi-skirts, and those ill-fitting skirts made from blue jeans. Kilts, pencil skirts, flouncy skirts, scooter skirts and culottes. (You can bet I’d have been working a poodle skirt, had I been born a decade earlier.)

I’ve sported M.C. Hammer harem pants, hot pants, sailor pants and spandex pants. Leggings with leg warmers and madras Bermudas. Straight-legged, wide-legged, tapered-legged, bell-bottoms and “flares” (now called “boot cut”). My jeans have been frayed, embroidered, studded, sequined, neatly creased and gaping with holes. Acid and stone-washed, sun-bleached and sandblasted, dirty-dyed and dark-washed. High-rise, low-rise and every rise in-between.

Earth shoes, desert boots, platform sneakers, spiked heels, cute but really impractical Chinese slippers, patent leather clogs, clear jelly shoes, high-top Converse All-Stars (with skirts) and torturous Dr. Scholls.

I proudly donned off-the-shoulder “Flashdance” sweatshirts which I cut up myself, “Annie Hall” vests, suspenders and ties, “Working Girl” power suits and a forgettable ensemble (if only I COULD forget it) emulating Madonna in “Desperately Seeking Susan.” (My kids still have nightmares about that one.)

In the ’80s, I wore shoulder pads bigger than William “The Refrigerator” Perry and a color block sweater that could be seen while cruising at an altitude of 15,000 feet.

On my 30th birthday in 1985, I wore a royal purple stirrup pants with a furry blue sweater (think Cookie Monster), white anklet socks and black pointy-toed flats. Oh, and don’t forget the new perm I got for the occasion. (Think Madeline Kahn in “Young Frankenstein.”) I have a photo that verifies this. If you think I’m going to print it, you clearly need more caffeine.

(Oddly enough, I can’t remember what I wore in the ’90s. I think I spent the entire decade in Dockers or gray sweats.)

That’s the great thing about growing older. Those obnoxious lists of “must-haves” no longer matter. We’ve all outgrown vogue.

Yeah, right! Like I’m going to rush out and buy denim leggings with ankle zippers, platinum shoes, and a motorcyle jacket. Or ditch my little black dress for something “major” with a tutu skirt and stand-up collar. There’s a recession going on, people! Classic style is where it’s at!

Besides, at my age, there’s a fine line between dressing “in the moment” and becoming the next Glamour “Don’t.”

But, I did see the cutest red purse in the window the other day, right next to those hot leopard pumps …

— Cathy Hamilton is a 53-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at