imagesTo trend, or not to trend? That is the question. At least it’s my question now that I am a woman of a certain age (read: over fifty) who is still trying to be fashionable. A new look appears on the scene. I see it, I like it, and yet ….

Do I follow it? If I don’t, will I be considered dowdy and out of sync? If I do succumb, will I be a laughed-at-behind-her-back cougar type wearing the latest in “trying too hard?” As if dressing to accommodate my body type (short and prone to chunky) isn’t challenging enough, I now ask the dreaded “age appropriate” question.

Honestly, sometimes I’d just like to take an Ambien and go to bed early. To further complicate matters, this is not my first trip to the fashion rodeo. Many of the trends coming at me these days are rehashed from my twenties and thirties. I laugh at some of the “new” looks. Wide legged pants? Yup. We called them bell-bottoms. Low-rise jeans? Those were hip huggers. Peasant blouses? Wore them in college. Blousy and comfortable, I now appreciate their flaw-hiding ability.

But how to describe my horror with the return of skinny jeans? I don’t care how on-trend they are, I refuse to even try them on. I’d probably have to be gurney-ed out of the dressing room by paramedics after passing out from lack of blood flow and sheer revulsion to my three-way mirror reflection.

My current guiding principle for trend assessment is this: if I looked like an idiot when I wore it the first time, I will now look like a much older, albeit not smarter über idiot if I wear that today. I must cherry pick my way through each new wave of fashion trends with a focus and precision usually required for decoding DNA samples.

One trend I happily endorse is the return of platform shoes. As a vertically challenged woman, these suckers are footwear nirvana. I’m thrilled to instantly gain three or more inches just by stepping into my shoes. Now I can be five-sevenish and mingle comfortably with people taller than me, which is just about everyone.

Maybe that’s why platforms are making the rounds again. There’s an entire population of women who wore heels in the 80s and still want to be tall, but the thought of slipping a foot into a pointy stiletto sends us running. If we can still run. Old feet and all, we’re the women who blazed a trail in those shoes, paid for with our very own Nordstrom card. Now—older and wiser with better-than-ever credit ratings—we demand to look good and be comfortable too.

Whatever the reason, I’m happily clomping around in sandals so reminiscent of the pair I wore in college that I practically wept with nostalgia when I first put them on. I was instantly transported back to those carefree, pre-dollar-a-gallon gas days when my entire wardrobe consisted of jeans, jeans, and more jeans.

So, the return of platforms: good. The reemergence of neon colors, especially popular—for some bizarre reason—in athletic clothes: bad. I’ve declared a personal boycott. The second-coming of day-glo is upon us. Who decided that highlighter yellow is “on trend,” that traffic cone orange is the “now” accent color for sneakers and workout gear? I’m not talking about those clever silver reflective strips on athletic shoes, shorts and tank tops that make you highly visible to potentially careless drivers. I’m talking not-found-in-nature colors. You will never not be seen while wearing these clothes, but you may cause an accident by blinding everyone with your spring-green-on-steroids running shorts.

Like my foray into the historical land of high heels, I’ve worn these colors already—back in 80s when Jazzercize was all the rage. I had a gym bag full of day-glo everything including one of those awful stretch leotards with the thong in the back. Although I’m refusing to don the day-glo colors of my past, I still plan my workout wear, my inner fashionista coordinating everything right down to my sock trim color.
Apparently, my fashion radar remains fully functional. I perked up at the gym recently when I saw a young woman sporting a pair of very bright, very pink running shoes. This was definitely a new color, but decidely not the day-glo pink highlighter that comes in the Costco multipack. These shoes were bright, in a rich raspberry kind of way, a much deeper tone compared to the spots of day-glo gear popping all around the gym.

As I hurtle towards sixty, I’ll try and stay current and not look like an old fool in young clothes. I’ll stick to my cherry-picking ways, but those on-trend raspberry sneakers would definitely work for me. I easily envision them in my closet, cheerfully coexisting with my neo-platform shoes. I bet I could even find socks with trim to match.

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