Different Types of Poncho

Know your ponchos – We are going to take you through a time machine looking at the different types of poncho throughout history.

The poncho (also known as punchu, pontro) is essentially a single large piece of fabric with a hole in the middle for your head. It dates back to a Peruvian, Pre-Inca Culture around about 500BC. However is more frequently associated in history with the Americas in the 1800s particularly Spanish-America or as its known today around the Mexico area. The poncho also has historical connections to the American military dating back to the 1850s and variations of poncho are still worn by military’s around the world to this day. We are going to take a brief look at all the different styles and their uses:

Firstly and most notably is the traditional Mexican style poncho usually made from wool it is a large piece of fabric with a hole in the middle to place your head through. It usually features colorful designs and can also have tassels at both ends, sometimes the patterns would feature traditional or worshiped animals and creatures. This style of poncho was made famous by Clint Eastwood’s character in the Sergio Leone western trilogy as is still popular to this day to wear as a warm outer garmet due to it’s versatility and durability. There are slight variations of this poncho from province to province and they include; The Chamanto – a traditional Chilean poncho woven in silk and/or wool that is finished with ribbon edging – it is also unique due to the fact that it’s reversable. There is also the Ruana – a poncho variant from Venezuala/Colombia in the Andes region that was usually knee length and draped across the shoulders more, it could also be fastened with a belt and was generally a much thicker mountain climate suitable poncho. The Serape or Gaban is just another name for the poncho in Mexico, these usually feature bright striped patterns and are also worn as shoals, particularly by women (this exact poncho is known as a Chilote in Chile). There is also the Jorongo poncho which is a longer poncho that traditionally was used for horse-back riding however these days is more a special events poncho.

A Chilean man wearing a Chamanto Poncho

A Chilean man wearing a Chamanto Poncho

When you hear ‘poncho’ these days a lot of people are not referring to the item of clothing associated with Mexico and cowboys but actually are talking about the type of rain poncho that you will see people wear in the rain to stay dry. Also known as the emergency poncho, the main characteristics are the same. Its a large piece of waterproof material with a hole for your head and also a head to keep your head dry. Variants of this style poncho also include pockets or even longer length ponchos that will sit over your motorbike/scooter as well (this style is most notably seen in Vietnam/China).

Mostly worn by women there is also the shoal poncho which is a lot shorter and as the name suggests just worn as a shoal/scarf over jumpers or the likes to stay warm, this type of poncho is often fastened with a broach or tie.

It is quite rare that you will actually walk the streets in most parts of the world and see someone wearing a poncho (even though it’s impossible not to have fun whilst wearing one) even though they have being featured in Hollywood movies such as Luke Skywalker’s one in Star Wars series, Michael J Fox in Back to the Future part 3 and even on stage by the infamous ZZ Top band, however there is the hybrid baja hoodie poncho – made popular by the surfing and hippie community this type of poncho is often seen at the beaches, skate-parks and most predominantly at music festivals. They are essentially a hybrid of a hooded jumper and loose fitting poncho and making them one of the most comfortable, versatile items of clothing around. They along with all types of other ponchos can be purchased directly online at our ONLINE STORE.


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