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Archive for Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boomer Girl Diary: Trends make terrible masters

September 6, 2009

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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 BoomerGirl.com.

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