Ponchos, The New North Face?

The poncho is a fun and exciting garment resurfacing in this year’s outerwear. Typically worn by women, the traditional poncho, as it originated among South American indigenous groups, is versatile, lightweight, comfortable and gender-neutral.

This year, expect to see more men working the poncho look. Since the onset of the 2010s men have — thankfully — been looking to diversify their wardrobes with inspiration from abroad. We’ve already seen the rise of men’s harem pants — or, joggers — and this style, too, is fantastic for versatility and unrestricted movement. This year, men’s wardrobes also involve greater emphasis on bright colors, floral prints and accessorizing, especially with scarves and watches. But men still have significantly fewer clothing choices than women — making ponchos a great step into the foray of comfortable garments that can be worn by both sexes.

Modern ponchos are also beautifully patterned, with sleek designs that are eye-catching without being distracting. They can be worn as loungewear, but are perfect for a classroom or dining hall setting during the winter months. Personally, I will almost certainly wear them around Grounds this season. In fact, I am being caressed by a poncho’s soft cotton fibers as I write this column.

One of the poncho’s most important aspects is the unique wearing experience it provides. Half cape and half robe, ponchos are simple garments with a superb vibe — plus they make great conversation starters. For those unfamiliar with the history of the poncho, it is worthwhile to do some research upon purchasing your first. There are many iterations of the poncho throughout the world, and many serve a particular cultural purpose. It’s a beautiful thing when practical fashion is able to teach us something about the world we live in.

Above all, ponchos allow cultures across the globe to grow just a little bit closer to one another. When we adopt wardrobes traditional to other groups, it shows that we value what that culture brings to the world. Ultimately, the influence of other cultures and styles is what pushes fashion forward.

I officially declare ponchos to be in. You’re welcome.

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