7 Tips on How to Wear a Poncho to Look Your Best (with Outfits)

Christine Steuber
Oct 17, 2022
You own a poncho but have no idea how to style it? Check out my guide with tips and outfit inspiration.

I have always loved ponchos. They are so comfortable and easy to wear. But I have always struggled with one thing – poncho outfit ideas. Do I just throw it on over my clothes? Or do I need to pair it with something special? And what about accessories? Can I wear a scarf or belt with it?

Don’t worry, girls! All your questions will be answered today. I have done deep research and picked some of the best tips to help you don ponchos like a real fashionista! 

Let’s start. 

What Is a Poncho?

A poncho is an outer garment with an opening in the center, worn to keep your body warm in the transitional fall and cold season. In other words, it’s a blanket-like coat with unsewn sides.

The popular garment emerged in South America, particularly in the Andes Mountains. As for the name, it’s speculated to originate from Mapudungun pontro or Quechuan puchu

Like any other clothing item, this garment also comes in a myriad of styles. For instance, check out this monochrome piece:

Monochrome gray poncho style example
Credit: Pinterest

This monochrome gray poncho with tassels is the perfect way to add a little bit of flair to your wardrobe. It’s a great piece to transition from fall to winter and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Want something more striking? Check this out:

Poncho with tassels and traditional patterns example Etsy
Credit: Etsy

For the females who want a pop of color, a poncho will never disappoint you as you can find a wealth of patterned and vivid pieces to elevate your fashion. I am in love with this colorful piece with that unique “Mexico” vibe.

And when it gets chilly outside, I am sure you’ll love something like this:

Brown turtleneck poncho example Michael Kors
Credit: Michael Kors

A turtleneck poncho is a great way to stay warm and stylish at the same time. Have you ever seen a more fashionable way to stay snug?

Finally, here we have a belted poncho serving as a focal point. And if you ask me, this is one of the best poncho outfit ideas.

What do you think?

Plaid shawl with belt poncho style example Cato Fashion
Credit: Cato Fashion 

If you’re wondering what the common materials are used to make these fancy pieces, Indian cashmere and wool are frequently the first choice because they keep the body warm. However, vinyl, cotton, and alpaca are also common options.

Are ponchos trendy in 2022?

Did you know that ponchos have made a comeback to fashion trends in 2022?

Yes, you heard me right. Lucky for you, ponchos are trending hard currently, and you should take advantage of it if you have one or two hanging idly in your wardrobe.

Don’t believe me? Let me support my statement with two credible resources. 

First, InStyle shares five iconic ways to style a poncho after declaring that this Y2K trend is undergoing a renaissance. Next, Harper’s Bazaar encourages readers to embrace ponchos this transitional season and happily claims that we’ve entered the peak of cape coat weather. 

As you now have peace of mind knowing that you can confidently wear your ponchos this season, it’s time to learn a few tips on how to style them properly. 

7 Tips on Wearing a Poncho Correctly

Who’s eager to become a  connoisseur in poncho styling? I’m totally sensing your enthusiasm and feel thrilled to share seven foolproof tips to make any type of poncho look A-plus on you.

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Tip #1: Choose a poncho appropriate for the season

Before anything else, let’s go through the different materials for ponchos that we see in varying seasons. Remember to only wear weather-appropriate fabrics as they will provide cooling or insulation accordingly. 

Summer ponchos come in lightweight cotton, allowing the necessary air ventilation to prevent sweating. 

Lastly, the chilly autumn and winter ponchos are often seen in yarn, wool, and Indian cashmere, as I stated earlier. These pieces are usually crocheted and knitted.

Festive colors and designs are also available, such as Christmas-themed ponchos. I have one, and I think I am the main attraction on every family holiday!

Tip #2: Add jeans for a casual look

Are you wondering whether you can wear jeans and a poncho together? Of course, you can, girl! You simply can’t go wrong with this combo. 

As a poncho is oversized on its own, fitted jeans will do the trick and make your body look proportional. Other types of jeans appropriate with this garment are straight and cropped trousers.

To prove my point, I picked two perfect outfits for you. So, let me show you the first one:

Poncho with traditional patterns blue skinny jeans outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

Go for contrast with a gray patterned poncho and blue jeans. The tight-fitting bottom and a loose shawl create a classic silhouette, making this lady look fantastic. Throw in ankle boots and a fancy bag in the same shade to complete the outfit. 

Want something truly unique? I am sure you’ll love this:

Gray poncho with tassels gray skinny jeans outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

This outfit is perfect for a casual day out exploring the city. The gray poncho is stylish and comfortable, and the gray jeans are a great way to keep your outfit grounded. The beret adds a touch of Parisian flair.

Finally, seal the deal with classic leather boots. 

Tip #3: Don’t wear sweatpants or leggings

Ladies, since a poncho is an elegant garment, it won’t pair nicely with sports leggings or sweatpants. Never forget this fashion faux pas. Instead, try your luck with straight-leg jeans and leather pants. 

Let’s see the relevant poncho outfit ideas with the alternative trousers:

Beige turtleneck poncho black leather leggings outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

As we can see, a pair of decent leather pants can elevate any outfit. Whether dressing up for a night out or keeping it casual for a day spent exploring, leather pants and a poncho will always look great together.

And what about adding some country vibe to your attire?

Brown straight leather pants plaid shawl poncho outfit ideas
Credit: Pinterest

These attractive brown leather pants go perfectly with the long plaid poncho. I guarantee you’ll turn heads and get noticed wherever you go in this stylish combo! 

Tip #4: Opt for a turtleneck underneath

Brrr… it’s getting chilly out there! If you don’t like the cold like I do, wear a turtleneck underneath the poncho. The turtleneck will add an extra layer of warmth without sacrificing style.

Here’s how you can rock this combo:

Gray turtleneck bown corduroy pants plaid poncho outfit ideas
Credit: Pinterest

Adding a turtleneck underneath your poncho can actually be quite practical. If it’s cold out and you don’t want to wear a coat, a turtleneck will keep you warm without making you look like you’re bundled up in too many layers.

And what about something feminine like this?

Brown pants dark-gray turtleneck oversized poncho outfit ideas
Credit: Pinterest

This open, long brown shawl perfectly completes the entire mysterious outfit, which is ideal for autumn walks on crispy leaves.

Tip #5: Choose the right dress

Ponchos for women are usually compatible with bodycon dresses – this combination works to show off your curves in all the right places. They’re also both great choices if you want to show a little skin without revealing too much.

Here’s some inspiration:

Black bodycon dress plaid shawl poncho outfit ideas
Credit: Pinterest

I’m not a fashion expert by any means, but I do know that when it comes to plaid ponchos and black bodycon dresses, these two go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s just something about this combination that makes it look ultra fashionable.

Maybe it’s the fact that the poncho adds a touch of whimsy to the outfit, while the black dress keeps it grounded?

And here’s my favorite poncho-dress combo:

I love how the two colors complement each other, making the overall look stylish and classy.

Tip #6: Consider riding boots

Am I the only one who believes that riding boots were made for ponchos? And do you wonder why they look so good together? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. I just know that they do. 

Maybe it’s the contrast between the ruggedness of the boots and the femininity of the poncho? 

Let me show you what I mean:

Oversized plaid poncho brown leather riding boots outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

As we can see in this pic, riding boots are a great option for colder weather. Besides, they have a bit of a rugged, outdoorsy look that goes great with ponchos.

And if you prefer ankle boots, I am sure you’ll love this:

Oversized poncho skinny distressed jeans ankle boots
Credit: Pinterest

Ankle boots are an excellent option if you want to show off your poncho. They give the perfect amount of coverage while still allowing the shawl to be the star of the show. 

Finally, here is the comfiest choice:

Black oversized poncho distressed skinny jeans white sneakers outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

Opt for ripped blue jeans and a solid black, breezy poncho to create one of the most carefree poncho outfit ideas. To add some character and style, finish off with a pair of white sneakers. This is an effortless way to mix in a sporty and athletic vibe. 

Tip #7: Go for proper accessories

Since I am the biggest ‘poncho’ fan, I often get questions about how to accessorize it. So in this section, I will share my top tips for accessorizing this unique garment.

First of all, when it comes to necklaces, you want to avoid anything too heavy or bulky. Instead, go for something delicate that will compliment the neckline of the poncho.

For instance, don a long boho necklace on your poncho like Romee Strijd on her ski trip:

Traditional poncho with tassels minimalistic necklace outifit idea
Credit: Pinterest

And if you want to achieve an elite vibe, go with a statement brooch like this:

Plaid woolen poncho statement broche accessory outfit idea
Credit: Liujo

When it comes to hats, you really can’t go wrong with a classic beanie or fedora.

Oversized poncho black fedora had accessory outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

If none of the above accessories are your cup of tea, amplify your poncho outfit ideas with timeless black sunnies and a stylish  bag.

Inspire yourself with this combo:

Multicolored poncho brown bag accessory outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

Here, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears Burberry patterned poncho while carrying a leather beige bag that flawlessly completes her autumn look.

8 Outfit Ideas Featuring a Poncho

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to pair my ponchos with other pieces in my wardrobe and have come up with some great combinations that I wanted to share.

Let’s check out my selection of outfits with a poncho for every season and occasion. 

Outfit #1: Oversized poncho with jeans 

First, oversized ponchos look great with skinny jeans. I love the way the two pieces play off of each other. The poncho adds a touch of drama, while skinny jeans keep the look grounded. 

Check it out:

Beige oversized turtleneck poncho skinny distressed jeans outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

A plus-size poncho with tight-fitting, ripped jeans? Yes, please! This is a great option for a casual day out or a night on the town.

Outfit #2: Two-toned poncho 

If a solid poncho seems too boring for you, why not choose a patterned or two-toned piece? 

Here’s an example:

Two-toned poncho black leggings over-the-knee boots outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

Knee-high boots, a big bag, skin-hugging trousers, and a contrasting poncho are all blending nicely with each other. The two-tone poncho adds a touch of interest, while the black skinny jeans and turtleneck keep the look sleek and polished.

Outfit #3: Fringe poncho over a skirt

Did you know that fringe ponchos also look mega-stylish with a skirt?

This is an excellent option for a fun and flirty look. The fringe poncho adds a touch of flirtiness, while the skirt keeps the styling feminine.

Try something like this:

Black fringe poncho black skirt suade boots outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

So, if you fancy poncho outfit ideas with tassels, you might love this one! Your favorite black skirt and a generously sized shawl on top will make you look like a real fashion diva. Finally, complete the look with over-the-knee boots.

Outfit #4: Sleeved poncho & suede boots

Bundle up against the cold with this closed-sleeve poncho having a turtle neckline. This woolen piece and suede over-the-knee boots are everything you need to look stunning this winter.

And here’s how to style it:

Black sleeved poncho black leggings brown suade over-the-knee boots outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

This is one of my fav poncho outfit ideas and something I often wear. The long sleeves of the poncho keep my arms warm, and the black jeans give the outfit a bit of edge.

Outfit #5: Belted poncho 

I also think a sweater dress would look great with the belted poncho over it. The poncho would add a touch of warmth, and the sweater dress would look great peeking out from under it.

Just look at this:

Two-toned oversized poncho with a belt leather ankle boots outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

The added belt reflects a dramatic look, while the turtleneck sweater underneath gives you maximum insulation. Poncho outfit ideas like this are meant for the discerning taste. Don’t you agree with me?

Outfit #6: Over a dress 

If your creativity is running low for formal winter attires, consider wearing your favorite poncho over a basic black dress.

Here’s some cute inspo:

Plaid poncho over a plaid dress outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

A soft plaid print poncho resting on top of a simple black dress is not only super comfy but poised as well. 

The trick is to wear only straight or body-hugging dresses as the poncho is itself oversized and airy, and a baggy gown will only exaggerate the appearance. 

Outfit #7: Original Mexican poncho 

Since the trendy female poncho style is an invention of South Americans, think about adding their traditional take on this fancy upper garment. 

Don’t know how? Let me help you:

Poncho with traditional paterns black skinny jeans black fedora had outfit idea
Credit: Pinterest

Mexican fashion is synonymous with excellence, and this outfit doesn’t fail to impress. The exaggerated patterns and colors are balanced by simple tight jeans, a black hat, and leather ankle boots. It’s great for a festival or an exciting occasion.

Outfit #8: Christmas-themed poncho

Speaking of special, the holiday we all wait for in December is nearing – Christmas. And there are tons of poncho outfit ideas based on this occasion, just like the one below:

Mexican fashion is synonymous with excellence, and this outfit doesn't fail to impress. The exaggerated patterns and colors are balanced by simple tight jeans, a black hat, and leather ankle boots. It's great for a festival or an exciting occasion. Outfit #8: Christmas themed poncho Speaking of special, the holiday we all wait for in December is nearing - Christmas. And there are tons of poncho outfit ideas based on this occasion, just like the one below:
Credit: Pinterest

Wrap up yourself in a red plaid poncho that maxes out on cozy. The bright and roomy turtleneck poncho joins hands with tight-fitting jeans. 

This go-anywhere ensemble taps in the festival cheer. Carry out your holiday shopping spree or run errands in the two-toned over-the-knee boots that keep the legs warm. 

Over to You

Well, ladies, we have completed the guide on poncho outfits and styling tips. I hope you’re ready to rock the ‘poncho’ style with confidence.

To sum up, we discussed these tips:

  • For a casual vibe, choose tight-fitting leather or skinny jeans.
  • Don’t pick leggings or sweatpants. 
  • If the cold is getting to you, wear a turtleneck underneath.
  • Wear a pencil skirt, a midi dress, or a bodycon underneath.
  • Ankle or riding boots are a timeless match with ponchos. Sneakers are another comfy option.
  • Choose minimalistic sunglasses, hats, brooches, belts, necklaces, and bags with a poncho.

Do you want to gain more weather-appropriate fashion inspo? I invite you to read the previous guides on my blog, girls! Thanks for reading. 

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