Ponchos, wraps, shawls, and ruanas are all articles of clothing that are sleeveless and go over your outfit. They basically all have the same function but vary in design, fabric, and style.
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Ponchos, at the core, are essentially blankets with a hole in the middle for the head. They originated in South America in the Andes Mountains and were functional garments meant to keep one warm. Wearing a poncho is like leaving the house wrapped in your favorite blanket.
Ponchos have been adapted in the apparel industry as a fashion item that has become a staple in every season. It is seen in heavy wool knits in the winter season and light knitted or woven fabrics in the summer.
Ruanas are very similar to ponchos and are mostly made in knit blends. The difference between ponchos and ruanas is that ruanas have an opening in the front. They originated from Columbia and, like ponchos, have made it into fashion collections around the world. They have become an iconic item in the apparel industry.
Wraps and shawls are technically the same thing and very similar in style to ruanas. Shawls originated from India thousands of years ago and are still a popular item worn by Indian women. They are essentially square, rectangular, or triangle pieces of fabric that you wrap around your shoulders or cover your head with. They come in a variety of textiles and can be made from woven or knit fabric.
I wear a wrap or ruana almost every day. I embarrassingly own way too many. But I can’t help myself! I find them so stylish and comfortable, not to mention useful. If I’m not wearing a wrap, it’s probably folded up in my bag ready to pull out and slip on if I need it. I feel like it’s an easy way to add some color, interest, and movement to any outfit.
Here are some of the ponchos, wraps, shawls, and ruanas that I find really pretty.
Chico’s is always a great place to shop for wraps and ponchos. Every season they offer new color themes and styles. This beautiful modern poncho-style top looks great paired with jeans.
Another beautiful find at Chico’s is this pretty floral sheer poncho with tassels. This poncho would look great on top of a black swimsuit.
Chico’s also offers knit ruanas like this chic jacquard one. We feel a little Burberry inspiration with the beautiful neutral-colored plaid.
This lightweight textured jacquard wrap is made with golden metallic threads to give it just enough shine. It can easily be dressed up or down depending on what you wear it with.
Talbots is another place to find ponchos and wraps every season. Their classic look and colors are a staple in many women’s closets. This poncho is designed with a funnel neck for extra warmth and looks chic due to its high-contrast piping detail. Offered in navy and red.
This cozy colorful wrap is another one you can find in Talbots’ collection. I love the trendy soft sorbet stripes.
I own a poncho very similar in style to this one. I have had it for year,s and it always looks great anytime I want to add a bit more style to my denim outfits. This one is made with a soft cotton modal and is cut with an asymmetrical hem. It is offered in regular and plus sizes.
This classic plaid ruana from J. Jill is perfect for all seasons. It can look great over a winter jacket and light enough to wear over short sleeve sweaters in the warmer months. Another classic that is easily dressed up or down.
I love the bohemian look and own a few ruanas and wraps that are bohemian styled. This one is another from the J. Jill collection and is made of a cotton and modal rayon blend for a super soft extra flowy look.
This modern-styled poncho is designed with a front zipper to give it more versatile wearability while still keeping its true poncho look.
Do you wear ponchos, wraps, shawls, or ruanas? Which one on our list is your favorite? Where do you usually shop for these items? Do you shop online? Tell us about it in the comments below.