Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Crochet: Good for Fashion, or Only Grandma's Doilies?

Your grandma is being channeled on high-fashion runways this spring, with crochet appearing on everything from dresses to swimsuits, handbags to shoes, and all that is in-between.

My initial reaction upon discovering crochet trends were resurfacing was ambivalence. I have fond memories of my floral-inspired, crochet vest that I wore in the seventh grade, beboppin’ up and down locker-lined hallways of middle school. But should my crochet vest stay in the seventh grade??? Are we really ready to resurrect a trend that pays homage to the doilies that sit under Grandma’s china???

A responsible fashionista knows what the runway trends are---tools for creating personal style. Runway trends are not the gospel standard for her wardrobe. Therefore, is it possible to find a happy medium with crochet? As it is with many things in life, moderation and balance are key. Just because an item of clothing boasts the crochet trend, doesn’t mean that it should be worn with abandon.

Examples of bad crochet are all around us. Unfortunately, the bad crochet far outweighs the good crochet options. Crochet frocks teeter on that fine line between bohemian chic and train wreck, and they call for a careful dissection of the trend.

In this heinous excuse for a swimsuit, Naomi has injured our eyes as easily as she injures her personal assistants. The psychedelic colors and flowers are tripping me out. Avoid.

Crochet and swimsuits are a dangerous combination in general. Cotton crochet tends to stretch when wet, swinging the door wide open for unexpected displays of T&A. If you venture to the land of crochet swimsuits, use discretion on size, cut and activity level. In other words, you should be fine if you're perched at rest by the pool, but hit the ocean and your swimsuit may wash up like discarded seaweed.

Items of crochet clothing are a different story entirely. It's easier to wear them more liberally, especially when they are a solid color and hold their shape. Acceptable pieces include cardigans, ponchos, shrugs and wraps. Notice the cardigan to the right. It's form-fitting, yet comfortable, lightweight to promote layering with a feminine camisole, and is ultra classy. The leaves exhibit a contemporary crochet design and are a refreshing change from the typical crochet flower pattern.

Now notice the shirt to the left. Not only is this shirt structured wrong for her body type, but it adds about 20 pounds to a petite frame. What's with the tent-like bagginess? Remember, the key is to NOT look like your Grandma's antique tablecloth. And please, please don't ever attempt this green abomination. It's not lovely--it's gaudy. The crochet flower in the center of the blouse doesn't help the situation.

Crochet tends to not lend favor to dresses. First of all, you have the problem of cut. Crochet dresses are mostly of the slipdress variety, with no form or structure for a real woman's body. Crochet is surprisingly heavy and will not float romantically on anyone. If the crochet dress is a solid color, it will never fail to highlight a tummy bulge or thigh dimple. What's worse are dresses with crochet embellishments, like the dress below.

Repeat after me: do I really want to commit fashion suicide by wearing this in public???

In closing, be wary of crochet. While you may think you are showcasing your inner earth girl, you may just look like your Grandma's crochet throw, circa 1973. Keep it simple, structured and contemporary and the folksy crochet trend will work toward your favor.