By Michele Oresky Kusiak

On the subject of spring, you may get the urge to take a trip to the shops to discover what’s in fashion. As you travel from department store to specialty shop to boutique, you may begin to realize your leading choice this time of year is to dress like Popeye. Now, I’m all for fresh, bright color to bring me out of the winter blues, but why does Big Fashion think I want to dress for swabbing the deck?

There are boat-neck striped tops, white flare-bottom pants, and deck shoes, all smartly topped off by a pea coat with brass button epaulets. There are sailor caps and hats, red kerchiefs, seashell costume jewelry, and light sweaters with amusing anchor prints. But, the only people I know who would sport this type of ensemble would be the Skipper, or maybe the occasional 9-month old baby. Even that baby will grow up and ask his mother, WTF? Personally, I want to add style and functionality to my wardrobe, but I don’t want to remake the dance number with Gene Kelly and Jerry the mouse.

Much to my excitement, the majority of these looks are geared toward women, but occasionally, stores or magazines will cross over into men’s wear. Unless you have the brooding good looks of a Calvin Klein model, or you are a long-lost Kennedy off-spring, please, gentlemen, don’t try to pull off the rolled up cotton/linen blend capri with Sperry’s and a sisal hoodie – you’ll end up looking like a portly seaman.

Regardless, of the depth and breadth of these looks on the racks, I find it hard to believe such a mass of humanity is looking for quirky vacation or resort wear. Are there really that many of us Finding Nemo each spring, or are these styles simply left over from seasons past? How does one update nautical style, anyway? And, what about Home Décor? Do I really need a lighthouse lamp on my side table, or a throw pillow that says, “You are my anchor” to feel loved? I suppose being your significant sailor’s “anchor” is better than being your prisoner’s “ball and chain”, but still, is it a good thing?

You may say, ease up, it’s all in fun, especially if you’re one of those going on a Carnival Cruise, but fun isn’t trying to undo eight oversized buttons imprinted with little starfish when you have to make a quick visit to the bathroom on the high seas. Besides, all those tubbies waddling up to the all-you-can-eat bar, like geese force feeding themselves into fois gras, is enough to make me want to hoist em’ round the keel.

For those who are vacationing on private yachts this spring, and are able to pull off Maritime Chic, I salute you. Let your nautical flag fly. For the rest of us, however, allow me to suggest something that doesn’t require sea legs – like furry fandom fashion .

Michele Oresky Kusiak writes from her palatial home under the influence of suburbia