Well, it’s here. The calendar says fall and those of us that live in a city with seasons are ready for the crisp air, the apple cider and the changing of the leaves that are all indicative of arguably this most lovely of seasons. And if you’re a stylish woman who lives in a city of seasons, you’re familiar with the bittersweet task of incorporating outerwear back into your wardrobe. Luckily fall allows that transition to be an easy one, where jackets and sweaters can become the cherry in top of an outfit, before the winter’s chill causes us to cover them up completely. This idea was surely the reasoning behind the invention of the poncho. Half sweater, half cover up, the poncho is one of those beloved autumn hybrids that make getting dressed in the morning fun. Especially, when you have so many chic options to choose from.
The fall 2011 runways were brimming with versions of the poncho. For a fun statement piece, designers like Anna Sui made their cape-like cover ups into vibrant works of art, boasting graphic patterns and shocks of bright color. This puts a fun twist on any neutral ensemble, either for the office or out shopping on the weekend. For a sleek and darker toned option, the classic king of psychedelic patterns, Emilio Pucci, offers up a wraparound option in cool shades of cobalt, black and gray.
As much as we’d love the mid-range temps of autumn to stick around all year round, it is inevitable that winter is lurking around the corner. Prolong your poncho’s life by choosing an option in a warm fabric like cashmere or wool, topped off with an achingly chic fur collar. Alexis Mabille’s gorgeous camel confection would undoubtedly last from the first freeze to the first thaw, guarding one from the elements in the urbane kind of way. A more budget-friendly option with the same high-class polish comes compliments of Nordstrom Collection, whose fuzzy, fur-collared wrap looks as comfortable as a blanket but with ten times the style quotient.
Like a jacket or classic trench, a poncho can also be picked for its neutrality – and therefore versatility – to any wardrobe. You can never go wrong with a cream or beige all over color, accented with a subtle stripe. This bread and butter formula can be dressed up or down, be paired with pants or skirts and never takes away from the glamorous flourishes to can add to it. Band of Outsiders made a voluminous statement on their fall runways, choosing the classic cream and stripe combo for a dramatic shape. For a little less of a Three Wise Men look, opt for a shorter option that can be worn on its own as a sweater, or tossed over a tank for an evening out. Ella Moss has just the thing, which resonates with downtown cool when paired with skinny jeans and boots (or a mini, chunky tights and high-heeled booties!)
The final look in the most stylish ponchos of the season needs little explanation. Classic black, tailored cut, oozing sophistication. Who better to carve this out that American fashion’s all-knowing guru, Michael Kors. Kors’ boatneck, bat wing poncho in a clean, jet black is the definition of modern and urban chic. Pair it with just about anything and it looks amazing. But for those who feel it may be a bit too harsh of a statement, a more youthful approach can be found from the experts of fun and fresh fashion, DKNY. DKNY’s black capelet still has the full coverage of a poncho, but the panels on either side make the piece more edgy while it’s A-line shape allows it to stand on it’s own as a dress.
When choosing the perfect poncho, infuse your own sense of style when considering color, shape and pattern. By opting for any of these straight-from-the-runway trends you’re sure to find a fun new friend for fall.
1. Printed Poncho
Runway: Anna Sui Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Emilio Pucci ‘Wild Winter’ Graphic Poncho $1150
2. Fur-Collared Poncho
Runway: Alexis Mabille Fall 2011 RTW
Real Way: Nordstrom Collection Knit Ruana with Faux Fur Trim $148
3. Beige And Striped Poncho
Runway: Band of Outsiders Fall RTW 2011
Real Way: Ella Moss Stockholm Poncho, $278
4. Black Poncho
Runway: Michael Kors Fall RTW 2011
Real Way: DKNY Cape Tunic, $395
– Alia Rajput
Runway Photos: NY Mag