> Trendy ponchos have acquired fringes and colour, fashion mavens say
PONCHOS are one of this season's biggest trends in fashion, part of a wider trend for comfort and soft shapes. Ponchos are a practical alternative to coats; you can just throw one on and take it off as you need and even stuff it in a bag, explains Christel Wickerath from German trade weekly Textilwirtschaft.
"Ponchos are also great because they can be both casual and elegant."
The ponchos tend to have a slightly longer cut this year, explains style consultant Janine Catherine Poetsch. "They are increasingly being worn like a coat." This means a bigger variety of materials are being used. "There is a lot of velvet right now, which can be heavy to wear and can wear out quickly with use."
A nice alternative is a fine cashmeremerino blend, adds style consultant Ines Meyrose. The trend is moving away from chunky knits to something more delicate. "Finely knitted ponchos are great for a sophisticated look." The ponchos are often in calm colours that can be combined with almost anything, explains Wickerath. These include grey, beige and offwhite or denim blue for an evening poncho. Meyrose advises making a statement in colours such as orange, pink, olive and pine green. You can also go wild with a decorated fabric. "The trend right now is for distinct patterns and bright colours," says Wickerath. Checks in particular are the look of now. "Smaller checks are better for petite women, as large patterns make the figure appear smaller," explains Poetsch. Those with a bigger figure should choose a bigger pattern. Fringes are also great for adding decoration to ponchos. "Last year there were a few premium cashmere ponchos with fringes. This style has been copied more widely this year," says Wickerath. The fringes are often very long and made of leather or cord; some are decorated with beads.
"Some designers have even created a hybrid out of the poncho," explains Wickerath. These are coat-like ponchos with buttons or a fastener on the front or at the shoulder area. "This means that the poncho doesn't slip down so easily." Ponchos are also available in different shapes, such as diamonds and oval shapes.
However, ponchos are not for everybody, warns Poetsch. "Women with a slightly fuller figure and who are short should avoid ponchos as they emphasise the midsection." Boots can help make the body appear longer and taller.
Ponchos that reach the knee should be combined with tight-fitting trousers. A hiplength triangular poncho is great if you want to look slimmer, as it gives you an hourglass profile, explains Meyrose. Skirts are another on-trend option. "They should be longer than the poncho, otherwise it looks odd," advises Poetsch. In addition, because the poncho is A-shaped, the skirt should have a V or an H shape. The top garment should be slim fitting, so that the upper body does not look bigger than it is. – dpa
Some ponchos, like this model from Comma, are coatlike with buttons to stop it slipping out of place. A poncho in fine knit from Laura Kent.
Longer ponchos in striking patterns are in fashion.