Ponch it up

Capes and ponchos make a nice alternative to a jacket on cool autumn days.

October 26, 2011 16:21
1 minute read.
Girl in poncho

Ponch it up. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The word “poncho” can conjure up visions of the Old West or of a garbage bag with a circle cut through the top – a common solution for rainy-day recess or unexpected showers during a marathon. But for fall, ponchos of a more posh variety glided down designer runways looking sleek, elegant and ladylike.

The poncho and its cousin the cape coat are trickling into stores now. They offer a stylish alternative to the typical fall coat, providing just the right amount of warmth when the weather cools.

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The terms “cape” and “poncho” may seem interchangeable, but they are two different kinds of outerwear.

According to the Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion, a cape is sleeveless, cut as a circle or half circle with slits for the arms. A poncho is shaped like a square or small oblong with a hole in the center for the wearer’s head to go through.

Both have a dramatic, swooping silhouette that makes the wearer look something like a chic superhero. And both could be thrown over something as simple as pajamas and still look great.

For something more sophisticated, you could go with the 1970sinspired camel-colored cape as seen on the Lanvin runway or something straight-up preppy, such as a plaid duffel cape with toggle buttons from Fidelity Sportswear.

A solid piece will be more versatile. Punch it up by layering a longsleeved striped or printed shirt underneath. A patterned cape or poncho, on the other hand, is a statement piece, and everything else with which it is worn should be solid or subdued.

For a petite frame, watch the bulk and the length. If the garment is too long, you’ll look like a little igloo with feet.

The great thing about a poncho or cape is that it can be dressed up or down, and it’s a nice departure from the usual outerwear.


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