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Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Finale

This series has been a real eye-opener.

What’s become alarmingly clear to me – should I ever be searching for one of you bosom buddies in person – is the most likely place to find you is in the Men’s Clothing Department buying everything from Levi’s to jockey shorts.


Even Dan could just as easily be selecting Valentine’s Day work boots for his wife as adding to his own closet.

So much for Sammy’s deep dark sartorial secrets.

It certainly makes me hesitant to post my musing on whether anyone REALLY goes to those nudist camps for summer vacation!

Lest you think I’m a complete buzz-kill in black tanks and tan shorts, I’ll leave you with images … of … my … sox.





Can you believe it? The clinically proven explanation for this cluster chaos in my otherwise utilitarian wardrobe?

I retreat to Sox Sanctuary, confidently buying “Size 9-11” when the trauma of facing another claustrophobic dressing room with one pair of pants in each size: 10, 12, 14 and 16 becomes more than I can handle.

The sock department is not without its tiny torture. Sure, I can buy 3-paks and 6-paks, but sox in those paks match only one other sock which means I’m left with strays every time my washing machine eats a sock.

Defiantly, I wear the lonely singles – one on my left foot and one on my right.




Walking down the aisle at Whole Foods wearing the above two sox, I approached an oncoming Whole Foods employee. You know who I’m talking about: the 20-something farm-fresh, freckle-faced vegan who’s never met a calorie she can’t burn.

“I like your sox,” she chirped as we passed.

Holy Tank Top, Sammy! That little whippersnapper likes your sox! I got so giddy I gave myself a Fashionista Fistbump.

I told Maggie we already covered shoes with Dan’s earlier “when I like ’em I buy two pair” comment. However, I’m compelled to point out during this series the only shoes we’ve mentioned are:

  • Birkenstocks
  • Keens
  • Crocs
  • Sauconys
  • Dr. Scholls
  • Work boots
  • Comfy FLAT ankle boots

Need I point out these are the foot fashion equivalent of black tank tops and shorts?

Not a Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin among you? (Kirsten?)

Google Images: Louboutin

Google Images: Louboutin

My 7-year love affair with high heels ended when my burgeoning bunions required surgery – both feet – four surgeries.

Couldn’t former Mayor Bloomburg have widened his Nanny State Health Net to support this sadly neglected women’s rights issue? The right to wear orthopedically correct shoes on the red carpet?

Thus ends my series on Boomer Fashionista Secrets.

That cacophony of applause is suspect ….


Seriously, dear blogging buddies, I’ve reached a few blogging stats milestones this month. The stats we all claim we don’t pay attention to, but check daily as newbies.

The stat that matters to me is YOU.

Thank you, every one of you, for giving me support, encouragement and soft landings while I try unfamiliar writing voices, share personal experiences, and muse on curiosities possibly too mundane to garner an audience.

I never thought of myself as a writer. And I never thought of writers as artists. Now I know we are.

I count my blessings and you are many.

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 3

When Hub and I started dating, ski trainwe occasionally rode the weekend ski train to Winter Park, which was such a luxury because after a chilly day on the slopes, we could all party relax on the train on the ride home.

One Saturday, a fellow passenger  – who obviously partied relaxed too hearty – stared cross-eyed at Hub and me cuddling in our seat then slurred, “Zou look like brudder and zizter.”


We weren’t dressed alike that day but since then, when we see a couple dressed alike, we look at each other, “Promise me. Never!”

I’m not talking about those bad-dude, leather-decked, heavily tattoed bikers with their wind-whipped babes on the back of their hawgs. They’re wearing BLACK and you know how much I *heart* black.

I’m talking about those harmless little white-haired, stoop-shouldered elders Blue Jacket 1in their MATCHING pale blue jackets. What is it about the elderly and pastels – especially blue? Is there some rule like the “No white shoes until Memorial Day” that decrees once you reach 85, your jacket has to be pastel blue? And if you’re married and 85, your jackets have to match?

No siree! Not only will you never catch me in a pastel blue jacket, you’ll never catch Hub and me in matching apparel anything.

        * cricket  cricket  cricket * (sound of uneasy silence)

Fine. That’s not quite true.

I have another Sammy Secret.

If I tell you, I’m going to have to kill you. Some secrets are just that embarrassing sacred.

I’ve never had a waist to speak of. I’m best described as a tree trunk. Fairly straight up and down as in: thick waist + smallish hips = straight up and down.

Consequently I’ve always had trouble finding pants that fit. Women’s lower-half clothing is designed for pears and apples, not tree trunks.

If I get pants wide enough for my waist, they are too big for my hips. If I size down for my hips, they squeeze my waist. In addition my legs are short enough that I have to shop in the “petite” section. Did you know petite means “very sparse selection”?

Worst of all, whether petite or regular size, clothing is invariably too short/tight in the crotch resulting in a wedgie-like condition to the extent that I find it utterly painful to sit and barely tolerable to stand.

Two summers ago when I pulled my skorts and shorts from the closet, I realized a sadistic prankster had snuck in and shrunk everything. Nothing fit.

Cruelly, I was faced with that dreaded trip to the clothing store. The thought made me a little crazy.

I cannot justify or live down what I did next, but for some inexplicable reason instead of heading to the store, I opened Hub’s dresser drawer; removed a pair of his white briefs; and put them on.

What’s even more shocking than trying them on is discovering they fit! (Why do men’s butts get skinnier and women’s get wider as we age?) Sure there was a little excess room in the frontal area, but crotch-wise, hip-wise and waist-wise, the briefs fit. Comfortably!

I swear I’m not a cross-dresser and I wasn’t seeking a new line of underwear (like I said, inexplicable impulse).

But I desperately needed summer apparel for my bottom half. Why not shop in Hub’s closet?

Lo and behold, his black shorts fit me perfectly! Not only were they tree-trunk straight, but they had oh-so-comfy crotch space for my delicate self.

I raced to the store; bee-lined for the Men’s-Is-the-New-Women’s Department; and returned with 3 black, 1 tan and 1 gray pair of shorts.



I pulled out my Perma marker and tattoed my labels so we could tell them apart in the wash.




Mission accomplished, I poured myself a gin & tonic and toasted my Fashionista Coup. Two summers hence I’m still loving my men’s shorts.

When I was 10, I remember vowing, “When I get married, I’m ALWAYS going to dress up for my husband.”

Instead, I dress just like him!

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 2

Raqi is eight years old. For the last year and a half, whenever we have put on our swimsuits; taken a bath; changed into pajamas, there’ll be a moment when – her top off – Raqi will hunch her shoulders together to make (non-existent) cleavage; gesture towards her chest with her hand; and look up at me with hope and wonder in her eyes, asking, “Mima, don’t you think I’m almost ready for a training bra?”

At first, I’d say, “Almost,” thinking she’d lose interest.

She hasn’t.

Now I want to ask, “Train them to do what, Honey?”

I settle for, “Raqi, you’ve got 90 years to wear a bra, and they aren’t all that comfortable.”

She’s not listening.

Of course, this gets me musing about my own ambivalent history with bras. I can sum it up as:

The Five P’s of the Bra-pocalypse:

  1. Puberty
  2. Protest
  3. Perky
  4. Professional
  5. Past Their Prime


I was so traumatized by the Puberty P – PERIODS! – that I have completely forgotten details of my first bra or my teen years wearing one. Perhaps you blogging bosom buddies can ‘fill me in’ on your memories of crossing that threshold.

I’m begging you; no stories about PERIODS.


I was a child of the ’60s; now I’m in my 60’s.

Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?

When I arrived at college in September 1969, the Forbidden Fashions of Free Love flourished on every corner of campus.

I promptly ditched my bra, modest knee-length skirts, and suffocating nylons (girdles! garter belts!), happily donning the peasant blouses, bell bottoms and fringe belts that proclaimed to the outside world I was ‘down with the protestors’ even though my inside voice kept crying, “Where are the adults?”


In my early 20’s as a married-too-young, college dropout housewife, I played tennis with my small town fellow housewives who were in their late 30’s. I was lucky – my boobs were tiny and perky. I never considered caging them, not even for tennis.

One judgmental competitor with a bleached blonde beehive hairdo and securely harnessed buxom bosom jealously lectured me: if I didn’t ‘support’ my breasts in my 20’s, they’d be sagging by the time I was 30.

She was as off the mark with that prediction as she was with her backhand.


Post-divorce, returning to college to complete my degree and securing my first career position, I dutifully wore a bra every day to work. Those were the days when a professional female ‘costume’ consisted of pantyhose, white blouse, navy suit (skirt, not pants) and one of those silky patterned rectangular strips of cloth that we wrangled into a clownish neck-choking bow

Aha! That must be the reason for my aversion to wearing patterns!

After two miserable years, I fell into my dream team position at a small firm where I could dress in a more boutique-y style, ditching “the costume” altogether. But I still dutifully wore my bra for work.

Past Their Prime

OK, they’ve finally lost their perk and – Victoria’s Secret be damned – there is no suitable bra for 60+ year-old national treasures.

There’s also no credible reason my past-perkies chose this stage to expand 3X the size they’ve always been.

I see three choices:

  • Free Range Roaming No Bra
  • Pushed Up and Painful Underwire Wonder Bra
  • Flat, Flatter, Flattest UniBoob Athletic Bra

Well hell. I’m a Colorado Cowgirl; ain’t nothing better’n Free Range Roaming for my buckaroos.

I cling to my Sammy Secret that my all-black ensemble covers a multitude of sins. Except of course for the rare opportunity to meet a blogger buddy in person, in which case I’ll ‘saddle up.’



Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 1

The seasons, they’re a-changin’.

With that, I begin the arduous task facing any *ahem* fashionista who spends as much time and effort on her wardrobe as I do – switching my eclectic array of breezy summer fluffs for warmer winter fuzzies.

Prepare yourself, Sammy. This is not a task for the faint of heart.

Here’s my summer wardrobe:



Here’s my winter wardrobe:


Can you IMAGINE the physical exhaustion and mental exertion it takes me to pack, unpack, inventory and move that extensive fashion collection?

When I hosted monthly bridge, after some fiercely contested hands, we snacked. I promptly, and predictably, dribbled food down the front of my sleeveless, scoop-neck, black-knit top.

“Rats, I’ve got to change my shirt; I’ll be right back.”

When I walked back into the room, Alice looked up at me and choked on her mouthful of iced coffee. I was wearing an exact (clean) replica of the top I’d just gone to change.

“How many of those tops do you have?”

“Five.” I replied, which made the other two women burst into laughter.


Doesn’t everyone shop that way? Find a top that fits – in black – and buy a bunch?

Hate is such an ugly word, but I hate clothes shopping. Let me count the ways:

  • Lack of (my) body cooperation
  •  Lack of manufacturer sizing cooperation
  • Lack of “that’s-exactly-what-I’m-looking-for” in my size
  • Lack of finding an exact replacement two weeks later when I’ve stained mine beyond recovery
  • Lack of helpful store clerks
  • Way-too-perky checkout clerk
  • Overload of “push” marketing by the perky checkout clerk
  • LOUD store music

There have been WAY too many times when I can’t find what I’m looking for, and I talk myself into a substitute that doesn’t fit; is a fabric I later discover itches or makes me sweat; or – worse – is a colored pattern.

Sammy quote: “Sammy tangles patterns; she doesn’t wear them.”

Purchased in June:



Hanging in closet – untouched – in September:



Hence my shopping dogma: When I find it in black and like the fabric and it fits, Buy Five.

Correction – buy five in one size for my “skinny” days and five in a “more inclusive” size for my “other” days. (Guess which size gets worn more often!)

Occasionally – as you saw in my summer and winter wardrobes – I’ll go a little wild and throw in a pink or purple. But mostly, you’ll see me in black.

Why black? Stay tuned for my next secret, which I’m sure I’ll regret posting.

Tomato Tom-ah-toe

tomato tomahtoe

Years ago, when I landed in Dublin after the long flight from Denver via Heathrow, I popped into a cab for a ride to my hotel.

irish cab My cab driver was a chatty lad, carrying on a one-sided conversation in which he’d rattle off a few sentences in rapid-fire fashion; turn his head back over the seat for a quick look in my direction; and ask, “D’yaknowwhatuhmean?”

This continued for the entire 30-minute cab ride. Even though he was speaking English, the ONLY part of his conversation I understood was his repetitive “Do you know what I mean?” Each time I would dutifully respond “yes” – sometimes even an enthusiastic, emphatic “YES!” – despite not having a clue what he was saying.

I’ve never forgotten the first time someone told me I have an accent.

The nerve!

At the time, I lived in Michigan and was driving through the beautiful limestone hills and small towns of rural Missouri.

“What do you mean I have an accent? You Missourians are nothing BUT accents!” I thought to myself.

michigan mapWhen I moved to Colorado, I learned what people meant by the ‘flat vowel’ Michigan accent.

Colorado accents, if any, are subtle. I can’t really point to any distinct accent markers that scream Rocky Mountain region; it’s more the absence of markers that gives us our accent-less distinction. Colorado vowels, when spoken, are more clipped and upright – if that makes any sense.

No drawl; no nasal tone; no drawn-out, fading finish to our high-altitude vowels.

I like to think I’ve lost my flat-vowel, Midwest ‘tell’. After all, I’ve lived in Colorado more than half my life.

There was one little bugaboo, however, in my Colorado accent-less immersion that puzzled me in recent years. Every time I’d say the word ‘bag’ – and I’ve said it a lot the last 10 years because we’re often schlepping overnight bags, food bags and activity bags to and from our grandkids’ house – my daughter-in-law would say, in a slightly mocking (although still affectionate) way, “There you go with your Midwest b-a-a-a-a-g.”

“What the hell; I’m pronouncing it like everyone else!” I’d think to myself each time.

Finally one evening last winter, I’d had enough. When she made her predictable comment, I objected.

“Ba-a-a-a-g”, I said defensively (but affectionately). “Like bay or bake or baby or razor. I don’t see why you comment on the way I say bag. I say it just like I say all those other words. LONG A

vowel a

After a pregnant pause, she – a Colorado native and elementary school teacher – said gently, “Actually, the ‘A’ in bag is a short ‘A’, not a long ‘A’.”

“What-t-t-t-t ?!?” (my thought bubble)

“It is not!” I said incredulously. “It’s a long ‘A’.”

“No,” using her patient teacher tone. “It’s short; like map or rat or tan.”

vowel a2“It can’t be.” I protested. “It’s always been ba-a-a-a-g. Long ‘A’.”

Hub – who can’t, by any stretch, call himself a linguist – piped up, “Parker’s right. It’s a short ‘A’ in bag.”

Out came my 1970 Webster’s Dictionary backed up by my I-Pad Wiktionary search.

“What … The … Hell? Call the Word Police. Someone screwed up, and it can’t possibly be me!”

Alas, in Michigan even though we boiled in a pan, took a nap, swung a bat, we:

Played ta-a-a-a-g

Cleaned with a ra-a-a-a-g

Carried a ba-a-a-a-g

colorado mapNot so in Colorado (or in Webster’s Dictionary either for that matter) …

Now I find myself mimicking Raqi when she was three years old and constantly whispering words to herself to sear them into her toddler brain.

“Lap, mat, bag … ran, pat, bag … map, brat, bag …”, I chant just loudly enough to reach my own ears.

I’m not sure I’m all that successful at mastering my personal vowel paradigm. No worries. It’s a measure of my fondness for my Michigan roots that I now take my suitcase and pouch to visit my grandkids, and take my ba-a-a-a-gs on my trips to Michigan.


Photos courtesy of Google Images


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