Fashion flashback

The ever changing world of fashion moves in two directions. With the first buds of spring or the first snowflake falling from the sky, fashion moves forward to offer the newest trends in style, color and silhouette. As I leaf through the glossy pages of the newest issues of my favorite fashion magazines I sometimes experience a blast from the past. (At the wonderful age of 65, I can claim a “fashion trend past.”) Yes, fashion trends do move backward sometimes.

I love to watch reruns of my favorite movies and certainly enjoy reruns of my favorite fashion trends. But I have learned, through trial and error, that certain items should never be allowed back into my closet.

Corduroy jeans had a huge comeback in fall 2012. I had recently lost a “few” unwanted pounds, so I jumped on the retail bandwagon. Hues of orange, gold, green and assorted pastel “cords” somehow found their way back into my wardrobe, replacing those donated to charity long ago. Had I somehow forgotten that corduroy can add the illusion of a fuller figure? At the end of the season they were tucked away in hibernation awaiting the cool September breeze.

You guessed it! The cool wind blew and took my “cords” with it. Pair by pair, they were quickly discarded. It seemed the fit wasn’t quite right, even though I had not gained an ounce. Had I learned anything from this experience? You bet … the next time I see corduroy jeans on a sales rack I am going to resist the urge to buy them.

The late ’60s and early ’70s introduced a new trend in fashion – bell bottoms, peasant shirts, big floppy hats and platform sandals. Jumping on the “fashionista” bandwagon, I purchased a pair of tan leather platforms with the classic cork sole. At 5-feet-7-inches, I rose to new heights. It was also the first time I had worn socks with sandals since I was 5 years old.

When platforms made a fashion comeback I thought “Can I really do this again? It’s been over 40 years.” It didn’t take much to twist my arm. Front and center in a window display at Urban Outfitters was a pair of strappy black platform sandals. They were a perfect fit and soon found their place nestled among my other shoe boxes. That was one year ago. I have taken those shoes out of their box many times and after putting them on decided “it was not the right day, right occasion, right look … etc.” No big surprise, I have never worn them! The day of platforms in my life has come and gone.

I am now going to take a short break and place them in my “donation bag” before I lose the momentum to bring this fashion chapter of my life to an end!

Neon was the trend of the decade in the ’90s. One could either choose to go over the top in a neon look head to toe, but it was best showcased as “pops” of color complementing a neutral outfit. Twenty years ago I had my neon purses in hot pink and orange, multicolor neon scarves, and I really stepped out of the box with a bright lime green trench coat.

This was not my first neon encounter. In 1962 I wore a neon plaid jumper on the first day of high school. Of course it was not recognized as such, but the colors where turquois blue, hot pink, fluorescent yellow and orange. Even back then I was all about the accessories and I wore orange patent leather flats to complement the outfit. The only faux pas I committed was wearing white socks!

It only took one look around at my peers to realize nylons were now the way to go.

I have always had a weakness for shoes, my closet can attest to that. It started way back when I was in elementary school. Since I attended a private school for 12 years there was not much of a chance to express my fashion prowess. Every day I wore a navy blue jumper and white blouse to school. The most creative that I could be was in my choice of footwear. When the neon craze resurfaced last year I was drawn to shoes – hot pink, bright orange, fluorescent yellow. It was deja vu! Yes, I did wear them a few times. Yes, I did look at them and wonder exactly what I needed all these flats in bright colors for. Yes, into the donation bag they went.

Looking back on all of this, I can’t say that I had any regrets. For the moment these fashion flashbacks brought back a lot of good memories. It is always said that one must never look back, but a true “fashionista” always keeps one eye on the rearview mirror!

OnTrend is a fashion column written by Jacquie Bennett, formerly of Milroy, who now writes from her home in California. She can be reached at Read her blog at