When Ponchos Attack


Pon. Cho.

Now there’s a funny word.

When we arrived in Riga I was suffering from flu and culture shock, a deadly combination that turns one into a shivering, mumbling twit. I was curled up on the hostel bed moaning into my pillow, Why didn’t we go somewhere easy? Why not an all-inclusive to the Costa del Sol?

Then I heard the voice of JFK, going on about the moon and how he had to go there not because it was easy, but because it was hard. Then I thought how my fever must really be out of control if I could dare be so simultaneously wimpy and precious to compare a Latvian jaunt to the lunar frontier.

But these days I’ve learned to expect that initial 24 Hour Freakout when you land in a strange country, and the only cure for me seems to be to buy a really trashy magazine. Preferably an American one with a lot of advertising and fashion that I could never afford. So this elaborate backstory was just to explain how I came to be reading US Marie Claire and consequently discover that the Poncho is HOT this fall.

Why would you want to wear a poncho? Why not just wear that mat you stick under the Christmas tree? The magazine even dared to say the poncho was suitable for all body shapes, flattering curves and disguising hefty hips. Well, sure it does. Just like a Barbie doll with a crocheted skirt effectively disguises a toilet roll.

there's loo paper? under there? you are shitting me!?

I’m amazed how quickly the latest trends filter from the catwalk to the high street to every dame in town. At the airport last week while Rhi umm-ed and ahh-ed over duty free perfume, I observed at least a dozen different be-ponched ladies swanning past. When we arrived home, the ponchos were waiting, propped up in Princes Street shop windows like scarecrows.

Today I saw the ultimate. When the teenage lassies of Scotland roam in packs, they often choose the standard uniform of two-tone hair (dark bottom layers, bleached blonde stripes on top, aggressively ironed), cigarette, withering kohl-rimmed stare, and the mini-est of mini-skirts with no regard for arctic temperatures. But this season they’ve added the ubiquitous poncho. I watched a quartet standing in a row outside McDonalds, gnashing their chewing gum and checking for text messages. Their ponchos swirled and snapped in the autumn wind.

The poncho season has barely started. The poncho population is set to explode. More and more ponchos will wing their way these kiddies. Can you imagine the aerial view of Princes Street on Saturday mornings? Row upon row of flapping flopping Eastwood-esque crotched clones.

Clint Eastwood

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! Iโ€™m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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25 thoughts on “When Ponchos Attack

  1. You’ve stolen my post! Have been thinking about a poncho rant on my own blog and you’ve beaten me to the post!

    You should see all the ponchos in London. They’re outnumbering the pashimas these days – – and that’s really saying something.

    The last time I wore a poncho I was six years old. They were all the rage in 1975. Hand-crocheted by my mother in an appalling range of colours – red, orange, pink and black.

    That is one fashion faux pa I will NEVER repeat. I have been mentally scarred forever.

    I want to shake all these so-called fashionistas and tell them “you look like a moron, and don’t you know blankets are supposed to be worn in bed and not on the high street, what on earth are you thinking?”

    There. Don’t have to rant on my blog now. I’ve done it on yours.

  2. You noticed it too, eh?

    Of course, they’ll shrink at the first touch of rain and end up looking more like those covers you put on armchair arms.

  3. I will admit it, I guess. I am a dork and I totally love ponchos. It has to be a certain kind though. I am not totally nuts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    No crazy crochet squares. Large drapey fringe makes my head hurt.

    Don’t hate me.


  4. Ponchos are fine with me as long as the people wearing them act like they’re in a Spagetti western all the time.

  5. Such a funny post! I’ve been secretly wondering how any adult with non-compromised brain function would wear a hidious garment they call poncho ๐Ÿ˜€ I just never opend my mouth in fear I would appear totally old-fashionned and out of this century. They propably have a bet in fashion industry on how many people they can actually lure into wearing a mat stolen from under the x-mas tree hee hee…

  6. Sentences like, Just like a Barbie doll with a crocheted skirt effectively disguises a toilet roll. (backed up with phrases like, crochet dunny roll covers,) are why I love this website so much.
    As always, we’re pulling for ya’, Shauna!

  7. Ponchos really are the most hideous thing I have seen in recent years. I see girls at my high school wearing them, and I just want to cry. They’re so, so stupid (the ponchos, and, while we’re at it, the girls). The other day I was at the Polo Ralph Lauren outlet to look around, and they had the most hideous of all hideous ponchos: it was a poncho, but at the same time, it was a hooded sweatshirt, complete with the drawstrings and the pouch. I fell on the floor laughing.

  8. cate, you are hilarious ๐Ÿ™‚

    kim – i think what your mother did is child abuse, pure and simple! crochet should be used for good, not evil! hehe.

    bill – google image search yielded a small but sufficient result for “toilet paper doll”. hehe.

    maybe we need to start another petition? anyone remember the Everybody Hates Raymond campaign of 2002? we were unstoppable!

  9. The Albert Cuyp is absolutely lined with ponchos!

    I have to admit to a brief urge to knit one earlier this year but was luckily saved by the realisation that I’m temperamentily unsuited to finish anything bigger than a baby’s beanie. Thank God for my pathetic lack of staying-power I say.

  10. It’s scarey to hear what’s out there and though I know I’m totally unfashion-conscious, I haven’t noticed it here yet. Of course I don’t get into the City very often any more (that’s Sydney), so maybe I’ve missed the craze and it is quite prominent with those in the know.

    Hopefully, though, it’s quite recent and since we’re just getting into our warmer weather, we may miss out on the poncho, because it’ll be totally past it by the time autumn rolls around again. : )

  11. It puts me in mind of those long, belted, bathrobe-looking sweater things of a couple years ago. It also puts me in mind of the very early ’80s, when my mother used to make me and my sister wear matching pink ponchos for Easter. I have pictures. They are a hoot. But mostly because I think Mom made us dress alike because otherwise people couldn’t tell we were sisters. And I am not even remotely tempted to wear a poncho myself. They’re kinda cute on a three-year-old, if that three-year-old happens to be occurring in 1984, and if the poncho is pink and white with dangly fringe and an Easter pin holding it down against frighteous Missouri breezes. No, wait, I’m wrong. Carry on.

  12. ok i have to stick up for the poncho (though i am not, understand, sticking up for any random sweep of fashion trends that take over and force everyone to purchase the same thing). last fall i learned to knit, and soon after becoming tired of knitting scarves, i decided i wanted something a little more substantial. i had wanted a poncho for years, and decided that despite its lack of popularity (i was living in the midwest at the time, fashion takes a while to get there) i’d always thought they were fun. i wasn’t taking it too seriously, i just thought it would make me smile pulling on a sweater that had forgotten to stitch up its sides.
    so i made a very tasteful, fringe-free poncho.
    in fact, just today, i was wishing the weather would cool down enough here in spain so i could pull it out!
    of course, now that i’ve realized it’s a fashion trend it’s not nearly as much fun. perhaps i’ll tuck it away in the closet for 20 years and then pull it out again….when everyone has forgotten about “that awful poncho trend!”

  13. hehe… you crazy kids.

    holly if you knitted a poncho last year, you are clearly a visionary, ahead of your time… do you have a photo of your creation?

  14. Shauny, I love you. You are hilarious. You make my day. I am glad the fashion industry decided to revise the poncho, if only for your story….

  15. And I thought I was the only one who suffered from ponchophobia…nice to know i’m not going mad ๐Ÿ™‚ and what I really don’t get is when they combine it with Yetti boots…parents actually let their 8 year olds go out dressed like Clint Eastwood and the Abominable Snowman’s love-child.

  16. hehe… my sister told me that some scottish radio station has gone all Anti Poncho and encouraging people to point when they see somewhere wearing one and say “PONCHO!”. they go all these traumatised women phoning in to say they’re too terrified to walk the streets in their ponchos now. result!

  17. Its a relief to know that at least some people are still left in the world that don’t aspire to look like Clint Eastwood. Are these people blind? I’ve seen the ponchos in action, but Yeti boots?! haha, luckily those haven’t quite reached california yet…

  18. ick – its especially bad that fat girls think they’re disguising the fat, when in fact, they are just highlighting it – my god, how wide do you look when your arms are included in the bulk of the poncho? its like a wall. i’ll stick with my pashmina thank you.

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