What’s the Difference Between a Poncho and a Ruana?

a woman standing on a railroad track

You thought you were wearing a chic poncho that you bought down in El Paso but you keep getting compliments on your ruana. Suddenly, you have a moment of confusion. What are you wearing? What even is a ruana? Is there a difference in how you style them?

Before you have a fashion panic attack, take a deep breath. While the poncho and ruana are close cousins, there are some key differences between them.

Spotting the Differences

While you could probably get away with swapping out a poncho for a ruana, there are distinctions both in their origins and their styles. In a way, it’s like comparing a letter envelope with a heavy-duty mail envelope you can get at the post office. They do roughly the same thing but there may be a reason to pick one over the other.

When you talk about a poncho, chances are you’re thinking of a pre-Inca fashion statement. That’s right: Even though you may think they came from Mexico and the United States border, they have even older origins. The poncho is traditionally a single sheet of fabric. At the top, there’s a hole for your head. Sometimes, there’s even a hood. Depending on the area, there are even local names for the poncho but these will often vary by region through the United States and other countries.

The ruana, on the other hand, has some slight, but noticeable differences. First, the basics are still the same. You’re still talking about a swath of fabric with a hole in the center. The fabric is usually square or rectangular in shape and may even be made out of a blanket-type weave. On top of this, the ruana is known for having a slit down the front all the way to the hem of the garment. The ruana has origins in Colombia and Venezuela. So while the two garments are close cousins, they aren’t the exact same.

Don’t worry: You won’t receive an affidavit if you can’t distinguish between the two and nobody is going to pull up surveillance footage of you saying you’re wearing a poncho when it’s actually a ruana. Just don’t mistake your garment for State Rep. Poncho Nevárez. That would be a much larger fashion faux pas. However, there are stylistic reasons why you may want to choose one over the other.

Ruana vs. Poncho: How to Choose

If you’re having a difficult time pairing an outfit, think of it this way: The poncho is your statement piece. The ruana is your outer layer. Since the ruana has the slit down the front, it often looks much more like a cloak than you would suspect. Even though the patterns or fabrics may be similar to the poncho, the ultimate goal of the ruana is to maintain the warmth while still being able to show off the rest of your ensemble.

The poncho, on the other hand, doesn’t have a slit. It may have a button opening or snap fasteners, depending on the designer. Most commonly, though, it’s one continuous piece of fabric. This is your chance to choose a bolder print that catches the eye.

On top of looking good, it’s also an excellent idea to feel good in your new clothes. For a relaxed feeling that helps you enjoy every second of the day, you could try incorporating a dosage of 500mg CBD oil into your daily regimen. For the best results, talk to a physician or someone familiar with CBD tincture. CBD and hemp oil are excellent for stress relief and relaxation so you’re able to rock your poncho or ruana without a care in the world.

Both the ruana and the poncho are excellent garments that everyone should try on at least once. They’re flowy, eye-catching pieces that can truly tie a look together. Whether you’re looking for a bold statement piece or a lush outer garment to compliment your outfit, you can’t go wrong with either one.