Why I'm sporting another poncho

There's this unwritten rule about not wearing any fashion craze more than once in your lifetime. This means I'm banned from peasant blouses, low-rise jeans (we used to call them hip huggers) and all manner of fringe.

This is a good thing. I didn't look all that great in those items 30 years ago. But the reasoning behind the unwritten rule is that if you're old enough to be wearing something the second time around, you're too old to wear it now.

But not the poncho. Just this once let me wear a frivolous garment on its current go-round. I count this as the poncho's third trip to the fashion front, the last time (in the '70s) being its second appearance.

Everyone with even a smattering of knowledge of Latin American history knows that Pancho Villa first brought the look into acclaim about 100 years ago. Over the years we've cleaned up the look a bit, gotten rid of the sombrero, the horse, and the guns. Only the quasi-eponymous poncho remains. !!iexcl!!Ay carumba!

I wanted to purchase a poncho for my daughter because she's the same age - 13 - that I was when I got my first poncho. I think my first poncho belonged to my mother; I liberated it from her.

The poncho was sort of a political movement back then. I am woman, hear me roar, see me slouch under a blanket that walks. Now it's just a nifty way to get through what we East Coasters call fall, when what we really mean is "too cold for T-shirts, too hot for wool coats." A poncho is all you need in southern California, where I grew up, where winter is more imagined than actual.

But my daughter wanted no part of it.

"Ew," was her exact response.

She did like the idea of me getting a poncho, though. She thought I would look cute in it. "Cute" is good. "Cute" is better than "dweeby." So I bit my lip, threw caution to the wind ... and let my mother buy me another poncho.

My new poncho is warm but flouncy in a sensible, substantial way. Sort of like me. It has little wristbands attached to the larger poncho-osity of the garment. The wristbands are a nice addition to the original design. It makes it easier to drive a car, but harder to hide your extra ammunition. Oh, wait - we got rid of the guns. Never mind.

My new poncho is black, which means I can wear it into the city without fear of being laughed at. Not loudly at least. In New York, black is always the new black. Magazines may mention orange, pink, and gray, but that's for the rest of the country.

I like my new black poncho. It makes me feel like a grownup for some strange reason. Maybe because my mother wore one. Maybe because it's swooshy, though that's the sort of thing that usually makes one feel like a kid. I think it's the turtle-neck collar. I can almost see Mary Tyler Moore, circa 1975, wearing one in the closing credits of her eponymous sitcom.

Maybe that's what I really want; something named after me. Not a TV show or an outerwear garment, but something chocolate. Dark chocolate. No nuts. OK, maybe a few nuts, halfway between fudge and a brownie.

Ah, yes: the Madora.

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