Nancy Roman

Child Prodigy

By now I am sure you are wondering:

How in the world did Nancy acquire her unerring fashion sense?

Well, I don’t want to discourage you if you aspire to my ‘chic-ness’  – but the truth is:

I was born this way.

Why, I remember lying in my crib, watching my sweet old auntie (whose name I will not mention, as I wouldn’t ever want to hurt her feelings, even in heaven), and thinking to myself, “As soon as I can say more than ‘bye-bye’, I am going to tactfully bring up non-clumping mascara.”

My parents had one of the first TVs in the neighborhood,  and there was nothing like Television to sharpen my fashion perception.

Even as I toddler, I was watching Big Three Theater – a late afternoon show which televised old Shirley Temple movies almost exclusively. And I loved Shirley. But I knew that it was gauche to wear your dress so short that everyone could see your underpants. How her mother let her make movies that way, I will never know.


One of the shows I watched as a really little kid was “Adventures of Superman.” I may have been six, but I often shouted at the snowy blurry, rolling image of Lois:  “Your suit (or hat) (or earrings) (or lipstick) (or hairdo)  is hideous!”


I became even more discriminating by age nine.  I had a special dislike for bad wigs.  Watching “Bonanza” often infuriated me. Little Joe’s girlfriend – who you knew would die at the end of the episode – would be riding her horse, with the wind whipping through her hair, and I could see where her fake long hair was attached to her short hair. Sometimes the color of the fake hair didn’t even match her real hair – which is really saying something with a black-and-white TV.  “Get a better wig!” I’d sneer every Sunday night. (and a boyfriend who wasn’t fatal….)


As I got a little older, Elly May Clampett ignited my indignation. I may have been eleven years old, but I knew that pigtails didn’t make you seventeen when you were really 30. And even if I were raised in the backwoods, I figured it would take me about two hours to stop calling it the “Cee-ment pond”, and a week tops to get rid of the twine I was using for a belt.


(… which, by the way, reminds me again of my sweet father, and his favorite parody (copied from Roger Miller) of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line”:  ‘I keep my pants up with a piece of twine… ‘)


When I was twelve came The Patty Duke Show. As someone who had been dying for three years already to be a teenager, I was tremendously disappointed in Patty’s style sense.  Cousin Cathy was supposed to be a fashion failure. But Patty was supposed to be cool. Cool? Is that was Hollywood thought teenagers dressed like? It was as if they hired the nuns from my school to be the costume consultants.


(…Oh, and another by-the-way…. why would Ginger wear an evening gown on a three-hour cruise?)


Thank God  for 1965. I was fourteen, and I saw them –  my style icons. The Ed Sullivan Show. September 1965. It’s when I KNEW I was right all along. That Style is individual. It’s quirky. It comes from within. And you either have it or you don’t.




And I had it!  I had it up the wazoo!


  1. Annette Funicello from the Mickey Mouse Club was always my fashion idol. So the outfit was a uniform but her curly hair and attractive figure filled me with envy!

    • I envied her curly hair. Her big breasts rather horrified me.

  2. I never understood the whole Ginger-in-an-evening-gown ploy, either. But I had the fashion sense of a cabbage; and maybe I still do.

    • No… You should never where an evening gown to a day affair. I tried it once at the office. It was frowned upon.

      • But Bingo would be okay, right? It’s at night.

  3. I have never had any fashion sense-that was my sisters’ realm-but even I knew enough that Sonny and Cher rocked!

    • I still want a big fur vest.

      • I still have one. :)

        • I had bellbottoms like theirs!

      • Chris

        I saw one recently – I think I know where.

  4. Cher taught all of us a bunch. She elevated our hippie rags to high style back then. She’s still showing us a classy lady.

  5. pharphelonus

    I think Cher had it up the wazoo, too. When she was married to Gene Simmons. LOL

  6. Diane

    This is the first time I saw Lois Lane in color!!

    • Most of the Superman episodes were shot in color, even though TV at the time was black-and-white. They were pioneers technically – even their special effects (whick look just awful now) were considered highly advanced.

  7. I always wondered about Shirley Temple’s underpants, too. Goodness!

  8. I came to fashion late. I watched cartoons and tromped through puddles when a kids. Closest I got to fashion was wearing an Indian feather bonnet while riding my pony like a wild Indian. But my mother is a clothes horse. Looks good in anything and still does at 70. So eventually, like arsenic, it seeped into my blood….

  9. Teresa Cleveland Wendel

    My fashion idol? Morticia Addams.

  10. I have never been much into fashion. My fashion idols were generally tomboys, like Doris Day in Annie Oakley gear. In a house with four daughters, and one very strict mother who did not allow us to wear ‘cool clothes’ it wasn’t easy to be up to date either. We were more like the Patty Duke role than Cher the entire time we were growning up. “A young lady should always be modest” was the mantra I grew up on.

    I learned to dress for the role I was playing at the time. Busines suits for work, casual skirts for church, jeans and t-shirts for home. I love jeans and t-shirts and still wear them today at 57. Being short, dumpy, and well endowed up top, doesn’t help. Not when clothes are made for tall, skinny, flat chested females (or whatever they are). No hips, no breasts, equals androgenous in my book.

    When I retired, I swore I would never “dress for success” agian. And I don’t. It is so much easier to decide what to wear these days. Jeans and a t-shirt. Fancy ones, or faded and comfy ones. And the occasional skirt for church.

  11. I had an interesting dilemma in all of this in that there was never anyone on TV that looked like me–at least not for a very, very long time, so the styles were a bit of a curiosity. That’s why Soul Train was so phenomenal. Don Cornelius demanded that all the dancers dress like they were going to the hippest club in the world, and that is when my fashion sense exploded! In other words, a diva was born.

    I’ve never understood the evening gown and the three-hour tour either. Somehow that story did not translate in the ghetto. Take care. ET

    • I copied the fashion on Soul Train too, because it didn’t get cooler than that!

  12. So, who are your fashion idols now?

    • It’s been 40 years since 1972’s “Play It Again, Sam”, but I still love Diane Keaton’s quirky yet classy style.

  13. Oh how I admire your “chic-ness” Nancy! I had so little fashion sense as a kid that I wore stripes and plaids at the same time! Horrors. I wonder if that’s acceptable now. And I’m still trying to match purse and shoes. Is that still “in?” No wonder I follow your blog! :)

  14. Well, I just found pictures of me in the 60’s and 70’s. I am sorry I am somewhere between fascinated and horrified. Hippie Chic or is it Hippie Chick? I am uncertain.

    You I imagine made it all seem rather chic. I would have likely followed you about hoping for tips.

  15. I was never chic, but Cher made me want to drape myself across a piano and sing “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” too. I remember waiting all week just to see what she’d wear … and then watching it parodied on the “Carol Burnett Show.” :)


    • When I saw Sonny and Cher on TV for the first time – back in 1966 – I could not believe my eyes. They both were amazingly, wonderfully, weird. I loved it.

  16. Michelle Gillies

    I’m pretty sure that Ginger was doing that whole “walk of shame” thing when she ended up on the three hour tour. You know how you get caught the next day in what you had on the night before. Not that I have any first hand knowledge of that.

    • Ha! I actually did wear the same suit to work once. Back in the disco days. But I am sure no one noticed. Right?

      • Michelle Gillies

        Heheheh! It depends on the quantity of the sequins that were involved.

  17. Your posts always make me smile! I have always loved style/clothes/etc. In the 80s, my mom was a consultant for Color Me Beautiful so she would only allow my clothes and make-up to be in my “color pallet.” Also, she is a firm believer in accessorizing. I think I get the style bug from her. I remember watching Terms of Endearment and she was so upset with Debra Winger’s wardrobe in the film. “She is such an attractive lady, and Shirley McClaine’s clothes are beautiful. I don’t know why she (Debra) doesn’t try to dress like it. It is a movie, after all,” my mom would say. Ode to style!

  18. I have no fashion sense anymore. I used to before my 20s and onward. Why was it so much easier then, I wonder?

    You’re my fashion advice go-to. I’ve never read anyone souind so straight-faced and kill my with laughter.

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