A Fashion Manifesto That Just Might Fit You

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It's hard to make a fashion statement when you don't really speak the language. Try as I might to rock steady on the currents of style, I've been known to have this habit of straying one step beyond. I'll go overboard, sartorially speaking: a brooch too big, a blouse too bloussant, a blazer too blazing - you get the picture. There are far worse fates.

Still, it would be nice to get up and get dressed some morning, any morning, and not feel an undeniable angst about facing the closet. Which is why I now have my uniform. These days I rarely vary it. Jeans, white turtleneck tucked in at the waist, brown leather belt, white socks and sneakers, pearl earrings (why not?). My goal is to blend in without looking bland; in short, to have a nice day. Secretly I hope to be mistaken for a college student.

But then the other morning it seemed as if all the clothes I saw on me, and everyone else for that matter, were dated. We all looked like we were stuck in the '80s. The commuters, the house moms, even the happy shopkeepers were out of style across the board, male and female alike. It was weird, different than looking old, it was looking out of it. I sensed that fashion had moved on like a train out of our station, and we were all left standing on the platform of another time, a recent past to be sure, but all the same the past.

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Somewhere nearby in New York City, people were dressing au courant. They were of the moment. Not us. We'd lost that fashion feeling. I thought there must be something we can do to fast forward us into the '90s. And I think I've come up with a quick-fix fashion manifesto, one that, if followed, will produce immediate results. Notice I didn't say good results. Remember, I'm out of my depth here.

1. Ladies: No more silk scarves over tan trench coats worn over pants ensembles and black low-heeled shoes. The look is too outr, n'est-ce pas? Let's hear it for slickers, bright yellow or green, preferably, over jumpsuits if possible, or maybe a bright blue dress. Shoes? No. Ankle boots? Yes! Also, let's lose as much of the makeup as we can. It's gone way beyond blotting. Some of us are starting to look positively kabuki.

2. Gentlemen: Stray from gray and head for red. OK, maybe not red, but how about camel? How about robin's- egg blue shirts? How about smiling every now and then?

3. Leisure wear: Everyone, and I do mean everyone, in white short-sleeved collared shirts, chinos, and loafers (no socks) forever. There's a difference between dated and timeless. This is a look that looks good on everyone. Tuck the shirt in, or leave it out. Makes no difference to me. Come to think of it, let's all just wear leisure wear all the time. And while we're at it, let's all move to Montecito, Calif.

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