HALLIE EPHRON: When I first saw a pair of four-inch spike heels with horse-hoof toe beds, I thought that trend can't last. And yet it did. For years. Until finally -- if Marshalls, where I shop for my shoes is any indication -- comfortable (wearable!) heels are once again everywhere.
A few years ago it seemed as if anyone endowed on top was letting it overflow. Much more boob and cleavage than I personally wanted to know about was on display from young and old alike. That, too, seems to have ... deflated.
So now comes the skirt with the hem that can't make up its mind. Short in front, long in back. Show of hands, who thinks this is a good idea? And this dress is from Eileen Fisher, whose clothes I would generally love to be able to afford.
When I posted this on Facebook, there were people who stuck up for it:
"...women who've been 'graced' with ample rear bumpers don't have to worry so much about the hem riding up in the back. Also, there's room in case you leave the ladies room with a bit of dress caught in the pantyhose." (Rhonda Lane)
But for the most part, it was "Looks like it's a mistake" (Sue Robinson) and "the mullet dress." (Cornelia Reed) And my favorite, from Keenan Powell: "On shirts, it's a public service in the event the wearer bends over. In skirts it's just stupid."
What fashion trends are you digging or avoiding.
RHYS BOWEN: I've tried on several dresses with that hemline and I simply don't like it. When I was shopping for an outfit to wear for the wedding it seemed that skirts were either halfway up the thigh or long. And if long, then the waist was usually right under the boobs, making me look pregnant.
It took a lot of shopping before I found an elegant dress online. Most of the sites that were titled "Mother of the Bride" were full of clothes that no sane woman would wear--either bride of Frankenstein or covered in pleats, drapes, fake roses, lots of beads, making the wearer look like a walking advert for Joanne's Fabrics.
I've come to the conclusion that nobody caters to anyone over 50, expecting us to wear comfortable clothes and lace up shoes, no doubt. If I wasn't fully occupied with writing, I'd start a chain of stores for elegant older women--well tailored clothes, good fabrics and the waist in the right place.
HALLIE: Laughing, Rhys, because most of us "over 50s" would kill to have your shape!
LUCY BURDETTE: I've always like handkerchief hemlines, but that sounds different than what you two were seeing. Rhys, when you start stocking your boutique, make sure you find some dresses that make us look cute. Why shouldn't we still look cute over 50?
For a family wedding this summer, our daughter shopped through RentTheRunway.com. She looked adorable--but I went to the site and was immediately overwhelmed by the choices. I think I need to see something in person and try it on.
I'll tell you one trend I hope never comes back--that's shoulder pads. We went to a Miami Vice party a couple of weeks ago, so I dragged this dress out of the back of my closet. (I know, why is it still in my house??)
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Rhys, I hear you about waistlines -- why are they always so high? I don't get it. Do most women like that?
And Hallie -- I'm with you on the four-inch-heel shoes, too. Whenever I see a woman wearing them, my first thought is always "Ouch!" and then, "Chinese foot-binding!" — not "What great shoes."
So-called "skinny jeans" — don't even get me started....
Honestly, I know very little about current fashion —I don't even know what the trends are, let alone how to critique them! I'm a New Yorker and just default to black, I'm afraid....
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I thought the "short in front, long in back" was a country fashion thing, not a good look, and one that they will probably view with absolute horror in twenty years...
Lucy, I thought you looked adorable in your shoulder pads! None for me, thank you--my shoulders are broad and square enough without any help. No four-inch heels either. Yikes! I think the worst fashion decade of the 20th century for women may have been the eighties. Just watch some old episodes of Miami Vice. The guys looked fabulous, the women... ack. Will anyone confess to having had Big Hair?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: See, they have to think up new stuff, so people who want to be trendy have to BUY the new stuff. They tried it with "color blocking," right? An easy way for clothing manufacturers to use up odd sized leftover fabric. Sleeveless dresses? SO much easier to fit, righ? Because you don't have to adjust sleeves. AND it uses a lot less fabric to make sleeveless things...right ? But do they COST any less? Oh, my dear, no.
Cleavage? Do NOT get me started.But shoulder pads? Um, subtle ones? I'm, I have to admit, in. And high heels? Oh yes, NOT PLATFORMS. Those are absurd and dangerous, And ugly. But gorgeous high heels can fit beautifully and even be comfortable. Semi-comfortable. Comfortable enough. And I do wear them all the time.
Big hair and shoulder pads in the 80's? Oh yes, Here I am covering the 1988 Democratic Convention in all my big-haired shoulder-padded glory.
HALLIE: Hank, what sells it is the attitude. You are all Hildy Johnson.
So where are the rest of you in all this? When we look back ourselves, what will we be wearing that prompts us to say: "What was I thinking?"