Triangular shaped knitted cape worn over your clothes with a hole for your head. The sort of thing you saw Mexican peasants in films wearing, sometimes with a sombrero hat. In the 1970s, the poncho was a craze and everyone was wearing them from schoolgirls to mature ladies. Not everyone liked them. My Dad used to put on a pretend Mexican accent whenever my mum wore hers, and she would get annoyed with him.
Although Mexican men in westerns wore ponchos, this fashion was strictly for the ladies. A big question today must be where did these bizarre fashion ideas come from?
The poncho is a traditional South American outer garment that originates from the Andes. These typical pieces of clothing are worn as coats and double up as blankets too. They can be made from windproof and waterproof warm material or alternatively be knitted garments in bright colours for ceremonial purposes.
They first became fashionable as womens wear in the late sixties but really took off in the 70s, which has to be seen as the era of the poncho.
One reason for their popularity is that they were extremely easy to make yourself. This simple garment – basically a square with a hole in the middle for the head, was easy to knit or crochet even for novices and in the 1970s, these types of craft were extremely popular. You could see the girls in their lunch breaks all sitting round crocheting ponchos, usually in bright 70s colours like purple and orange.
You could also buy ponchos in shops. They were often knitted or crocheted as the hand made version and you really could not tell the difference.
Ponchos were warm and easy to wear. You could wear your poncho on cold days as a coat. You could also find more dressy versions of a poncho that were suitable for wearing for evenings out. Most women who wore ponchos became very attached to this piece of clothing which felt like going out dressed in a comfort blanket. It was hard to look sexy in a poncho although some managed to pull this look off.