From Webster's Revised Dictionary, 1998: poncho A kind of cloak worn by the Spanish, and South and North Native Americans, having the form of a blanket with a slit in the middle for the head to pass through.
Once a marker of boho-hippie lifestyle and ideology, the shapeless, coarsely woven poncho is now the season's chic, must-have top. The trend really kicked in last winter, and earlier this spring, this column noted plenty of ponchos at boutiques like Studio 615. In the last few months, the poncho virus has spread quickly, infecting dozens of Nashville style seekers and worming its way into trendy boutiques and mass merchandisers. It's been seen on everyone from pampered socialites to drag queens to preschoolers.
Enough already! Once a trend has exploded, there's no point in catching on. As bam♦boo's canny Rhett Murdaugh says, "Once I see it in Gap Kids, it's over, honey. Just over."
But if you somehow feel incomplete without a poncho in your fall wardrobe, you can at least one-up the trend by finding one with unique character from vintage spots like the Hip Zipper or a thrift store like Goodwill. Borrow your mom's, or even your grandma's, wooly batwing thing from the '60s. Thick ponchos with authentic moth holes or ones knitted by hand are fine (especially if they were crafted in a trendy neo-knitting circle). But, please, put down the nylon/rayon/poly thing from Bebe and step away from the mall.
Followers of the fashion press and those who veg out to the Style Channel probably noticed that fitted blazers (like Anna Sui's), belted trench coats (à la Marc Jacobs) and lavish, updated pea coats (de DKNY)both with oversized lapels (Tom Ford's last collection for Gucci) and with sleek Nehru collars (from Prada)took precedence over drapey wraps and cloaks for fall. Meaning, that as form-fitting feminine suits (obnoxiously referred to by Vogue as "retro secretary") quickly make their way from high design to boutiques to malls, that must-have poncho will soon succumb to moth holes just like Mom's old camel hair capegiving it lived-in character for the inevitable next go-around as the toggery du jour.