When I was a child, certain bits of clothing screamed “old lady.” For one, black lace-up shoes with heels. Every single old lady I knew wore them. My great-grandma Mabel. Eleanor, the ancient church secretary. All the cotton-candy-haired Lucilles and Hazels, Lillians and Ethels, who used rouge and wore hats and white gloves.

Old ladies also wore lace collars with brooches. This look was endlessly parodied on old TV shows. Anyone under 50 would probably not recognize these cliches, or the truths underlying them, because those things are long out of fashion.

Now, almost all old ladies wear putty-colored shoes, like this.

Or putty-colored shoes with Velcro. It’s hard to imagine Carrie Bradshaw and her three sidekicks wearing these when they are of an age to need cataract surgery, but then again, they will require comfy footwear after years of masochistic Manolos and injurious Jimmies.

The color of blah is spreading among the older set. Nearly every car in my mother-in-law’s retirement community carport is champagne-colored – the shiny car version of putty.

Putty is the new black. When and why this happened is beyond me.

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