Cathy Hamilton: Proposing fashion's next hot item

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Michael Kors obviously didn't get the memo. Neither did Calvin Klein, Vera Wang or Marc Jacobs.

I e-mailed every one of those high falutin' New York designers with the same hot tip. "2009: The Year of the Bib," I wrote. "Get on board, people, before opportunity passes you by."

Yet, scouring runway after runway during Fashion Week, I didn't see a single supermodel sporting a bib on her bony torso.

"I'm not talking about a ruffled bib-front blouse," I told Tommy Hilfiger, Halston and the rest. "Or bib overalls like the tattered pair my husband wears to clean out the garage. I'm talking about a real bib. Like a baby's, but larger, made from fabulous fabric. Think oil cloth or vinyl in cool colors and patterns!"

"Sure, it's avant-garde," I continued. "And, yes, it will take a keen eye to make a bib flattering to the female form. (Don't be afraid to use darts!) But, you can pull it off. And when you do, mark my words, Bryant Park will fall at your feet!"

Apparently, some fashionistas wouldn't know a brilliant idea if you hung it around their necks and fastened it with Velcro.

Why am I so adamant about bringing the bib out of the baby drawer and into adult couture, you ask?

Like most of my brilliant ideas, this one came to me out of the blue when a dollop of tomato sauce landed squarely between my breasts, ruining yet another perfectly decent blouse.

You see, I am a serial spiller. I'm forever soaking my napkin in cold water, trying to remove salad dressing, pinot noir or hollandaise sauce from my shirt while cussing a blue streak (under my breath, at restaurants; at the top of my lungs, at home. It happens with such regularity; my family doesn't flinch anymore.)

It's gotten so bad that when I go out for dinner, I'll order red wine with a club soda back. Why not prepare for the inevitable?

My laundry room shelf is crowded with every stain-removing agent known to man.

I try to be careful. Really, I do. Still, the drips keep on comin', and always in the same conspicuous front-and-center spot.

The thing is, I'm not alone in my spillage. Whenever I'm at a party, frantically blotting my top with a cocktail napkin (spreading shreds of lovely white paper all over my black sweater) someone will cluck, "Tch, tch. I do that all the time."

That's why I KNOW this bib idea would be huge!

Come on, designers, how hard could it be? It's like a turtleneck dickie without the back flap. Crumb-catching pockets optional!

With a small but versatile wardrobe of stylish bibs, I'd never have to buy another shirt my whole life.

Aha! So, therein lies the rub, right designers? If you proclaim 2009 "The Year of the Bib," we wouldn't need to purchase any more of your clothes, now would we? Your bottom line would bottom out!

OK, if that's the way you want to play it, I'll launch another e-mail campaign, to accessory designers this time: Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Gucci. They'll get my memo and surely see the brilliance in my brainchild.

By the time I'm through, the bib will be the new black.

And, if not, I've still got my dickies from the '70s.

Cathy Hamilton is a 52-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author, who blogs every day at BoomerGirl.com.

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