By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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I love my tank tops, shorts and flip flops. But after four months (yes, I drag them out way too early and keep wearing them way too long) and the first crisp indication of fall in the air, the entire ensemble starts to look, shall we say, ridiculous. It would look ridiculous all of the time, were I in center city Philadelphia, but summers at the beach are more forgiving towards 50-some year olds who insist on dressing like surfer chicks.

At any rate, by the time September rolls around, I’m more than ready to resume dressing like a big girl and I look forward to exploring fall fashion trends. That is, until I actually see what’s available in stores and realize I’ll be shopping in my well-worn closet. Again.

This year, the 70’s are back. Bell bottoms, ponchos, crochet and macramé tops and, horror of all horrors, the jumpsuit, are repeating on the fashion scene with the unpleasant aftertaste of a scarfed down Whopper and fries.

Yippee. I lived through the 70’s during the first go-round and it was ugly then. In fact, during the 70’s, I was in my prime, at least as far as the chronology goes, working my way through my youth in high school and college. And even given that advantage, I still cringe looking at photos of myself in high 70’s style.

Pants with huge swaths of fabric draped around the ankles. A garment that looks like a trash bag with a hole for one’s head. Granny’s afghan masquerading as a shirt. Yuck. But the worst by far is the jumpsuit. The reason? Three words: The Ladies’ Room.

Picture this: Pee on the toilet seat. Pee on the floor. Toilet tissue—used as well as not—everywhere. Now picture your pants mingling with the above. Now picture your shirt doing the same thing. In fact, once you’ve almost completely disrobed in a public bathroom, just toss your entire outfit on the floor, mix it up and when you’re done your business, pull your expensive new duds back onto your body and head out to face the world.

Are you gagging yet? It’s bad enough that the clothes inspire that response. But when high fashion requires you to almost strip naked in a public restroom, then forces you to perform a demented juggling act to keep your clothing out of the muck while in the midst of squatting over a potty—ugly takes on a whole new meaning.

(Come to think of it, perhaps the test of any new clothing purchase should be a practice run in The Ladies’ Room. Add a non-working potty to every dressing room and give us a chance to hover while trying to keep the merchandise off the floor. If the item hits the deck, back to the rack it goes.)

Anyway, if you’re thinking of indulging in the latest fashions, dig out your photo album and take a long, hard look at your 70’s self. If you wince, grimace, or feel faint, save your money. But if you must become a current fashion victim, get a jumpsuit. Wear it one day, wipe the bathroom with the next.

At the very least, you’ll save money on cleaning supplies.

What’s your take on fall’s fashion winners and losers? Click “comments” below and share!