Women's Poncho Styles

Updated March 19, 2018
Woman wearing knit poncho outdoors

Ponchos are back again, and they're wonderful alternatives to jackets, cardigans, and shawls. They can dress up an outfit, they're versatile, and anyone can wear them. They're also chic, elegant, and come in so many colors, patterns, and materials. Get style ideas and tips on how to wear this comfortable piece.

Casual and Lightweight

Perfect for chilly summer mornings or evenings, a lightweight open-weave poncho sweater pairs well with a simple tank top or t-shirt and denim shorts. A neutral color like tan or white make good options for spring or summer. Look for added touches like a fringed edge for an extra dose of style.

Woman wearing cap and poncho

Bold Patterns

If you want to make your poncho the focal point of your outfit, look for one in a bold, eye-catching print. Black and white patterns look classy yet a little edgy at the same time. Pair an attention-grabbing style with your favorite little black dress and a pair of tall boots for a sophisticated look.

Girl wearing striped poncho

Elegant and Smart

A poncho in a smart fabric like tweed with elegant details like classy buttons looks stylish and elegant. This could be worn to the office, but would also look great with skinny jeans and ankle boots. A higher collar also provides a bit of extra warmth on chilly days.

Indian woman wearing classy poncho

Rich Colors

Fall is a prime time to wear a poncho as it's not yet cold enough for those heavy jackets but there's still a chill in the air. Pair one in a rich fall hue, like mauve, plum or burgundy with a sweater and dark-wash denim for a great autumn look.

Woman wearing knitted burgundy poncho

Warm and Rustic

A wool poncho can provide plenty of warmth, and a simple pattern can lend it extra charm. Pair a casual poncho like this with a warm hat and scarf next time you want to brave the cold temperatures without the puffer coat.

Woman with fur hat and poncho

Maxi Style

If you want to get plenty of warmth as well as make a big style impact, choose a longer poncho style. One done in stripes or a print will make it as eye-catching as its long length. Pair with a simple top, leggings, and boots for a casual look.

On beach with full-length poncho

Cowl-Neck Ponchos

Another popular option in women's ponchos is one done with a cowl-neck style. These not only make the style even warmer, but are very flattering as well and create a nice balance when paired with fitted bottoms. A central print or design adds more visual interest.

Beautiful girl wearing cowl-neck poncho

Colorful Coverup

A poncho done in a shorter style with a lightweight fabric might be the perfect alternative for your standard coverup on vacation or at the beach. Look for styles done in bright colors or vibrant prints, like the tie-dye look shown, for a fun, casual feel.

Colorful cover up poncho on beach

Fun Fabrics

Another way you can stand out with a poncho is by trying out some different fabrics. Chenille, faux fur, and other styles look fabulous when worn as an accent piece. Try a neutral colored one with denim, a plaid top, and colored boots for a cute outfit perfect for running errands or running around town.

Shopper wearing fur poncho

Sleek and Simple

Not every poncho look has to be attention-getting. If your style is more minimalist, or you're in the mood for a simpler look, just go for a solid colored poncho done in a thinner fabric and more streamlined design. Pair with leggings or dark jeans and the result is sleek and just as flattering as other options.

Girl wearing black poncho at night

Tips for Wearing Ponchos

Ponchos are some of the easiest items to purchase and style, from casual boho looks to office-appropriate versions.


In most cases, you won't need to go to the store to try them on, since many are one size fits all or come in only a couple of sizes that will work for several body types. In the cases that you do have several sizes to choose from, there are sizing charts just like there are for other clothing items, sometimes even with tips to size up or down if you're between sizes. And since they're loose-fitting, you still won't have to worry about zeroing in on a single perfect size in most cases.

If you're on the fence and have no guidance to say otherwise from the retailer, sizing up may be the safest choice.


When it comes to styling them, almost anything goes.

  • Consider pairing a poncho with form-fitting items like pants or even pencil skirts - this is one of the best looks for this type of outerwear.
  • Dress up a pair of blue jeans (not baggy) or slip a poncho over your head or around your shoulders to go with your neutral-toned slacks as you head out to work on a chilly day.
  • A wool poncho may be just the thing you need before the weather turns completely frigid and you're looking for your longest, warmest peacoats and down-stuffed quilted winter coats.

A Warm Alternative

Comfortable, stylish, and flattering for virtually any body type, ponchos are a great item to add to your wardrobe. Selecting this type of outerwear offers a departure from standard coats and jackets that's still warm, but offers a stylish alternative choice. Take advantage of the myriad colors, patterns, and fabrics to choose from. Whether you pair one in a fun pattern with your casual outfits for running errands or opt for more upscale versions with classy trims, you can easily incorporate this versatile item into your closet.

Women's Poncho Styles