The clothing catalog before me describes a line of women's spring fashions as "folkloric"
"The Babushka Doll Collection" would be a far better description.
Picture Russian peasants emerging after the first Siberian spring thaw in the early 1900s, and you have it.
The folkloric look, which is "soft and fluid" according to the catalog, pairs big patterned, puffy skirts with long, loose blouses
trimmed in yards and yards of flounces and ruffles. This bulk is topped with a little vest and a big chunky belt that cinches the
entire flour sack look smack dab in the middle.
How is it that we so quickly went from "less is more" to "pile it on"?
This is not to say that the folkloric look totally lacks appeal. On the up side, you could gain 30 pounds in these clothes, and
nobody would notice.
I recently saw a picture of supermodel Tyra Banks modeling a rather folkloric outfit. A No. 2 pencil has more body fat than
Tyra Banks, but the layers of fabrics and ruffles made Trya look like a candidate for Slim Fast. If folkloric can do that to a thin
woman nearly 6 feet tall, imagine what the look will for average types or those of us who barely clear the 5-foot mark.
Should I lose my senses and suddenly embrace this folkloric look, I imagine my new silhouette would resemble the Liberty Bell
swooshing from side to side as I walked, sweeping the floor beneath me.
I try not to be hasty in dismissing new trends outright. I have found it prudent to pause, ask myself a few critical questions, and
then dismiss such trends outright.
Today, as I ponder the pros and cons of shrouding myself in yards and yards of fabric, I ask myself the following:
Is this a look that will turn heads? Definitely. Heads will turn and say, "Lady! Over here - there are some cigarette butts and
paper cups on the sidewalk."
Will this look become expensive in that it will require accessories? Possibly. The look all but screams for clunky bracelets, a
peddler's wagon and tambourines with streamers.
Is this look merely pretty or is it functional as well? Oh, it's functional all right. The full skirts would leave one well-prepared for
last-minute square dancing as well as offering a ready-to-wear parachute should the plane go down.
I had just about sold myself on the possibility of the look, when I turned the page in the catalog and saw what the men will be
wearing this spring.
They will be wearing hold on to your folkloric straw hat — traditional khakis, shorts, classic polos and button-down shirts.
Not a single one of them is wearing a baggy chemise, topped by a vest, and loose-fitting pants tucked into the tops of boots.
Apparently the men will not be joining the women this season on the journey to soft, fluid, romantic and folkloric.
There's no justice.