Cool Ponchos
By Karen Parr-Moody

The weather is just beginning to get nippy, and barring the use of something as nouveau gauche as a Snuggie, the poncho is in order. GasLamp has a smattering of fabulous vintage ones available, since the ever-popular poncho was seen all over the Fall 2011 runways in New York.

While fashionistas will be warming up to this cozy trend, the history of the poncho goes back centuries. These outer garments have been warming the Native American peoples of the Andes since pre-Hispanic times. They are typically considered South American or Central American garments to this day. This hinges on the culture's mastery of the weaving craft; the indigenous cultures produce woolen textiles so fine that the methods of production have altered little in modern times.

At GasLamp, there are a number of dealers who specialize in vintage clothing. One is Elizabeth Burton, who has a penchant for all things South American and carries a stylish smattering of ponchos at her clothing booth, S-104.

The lovely young lady in the photo, right, is Sara Ruiz, a GasLamp shopper who was gracious enough to model these ponchos for the store.

The pink poncho is a vintage Columbian wool style, and Burton knows exactly who would look great in it (other than the lovely Ruiz!).





"It reminds me of Lynda Herdelin, the Nashville vintage clothing dealer," she says of the blonde tastemaker who drives around town in a hot pink Jeep and has pink flamingos all over her yard. "She's all about the pink."

What's so fabulous about this pink poncho, from the '60s, is that it has a subtle pattern to it of large color blocks. Such a patterned cover up is a great way to add some zip to a solid ensemble. Just skip on any accessories; adding a hat, for example, would be a whole lotta look. It's best to let a vibrant poncho be the focal point.

The camel-colored poncho Ruiz wears in the photo, left, is special; not only is it handwoven, it's South American. It cuts a trim silhouette when paired with skinny jeans because it lacks the volume of a typical poncho. If one was feeling particularly daring, this poncho would be chic coupled with a mini and a pair of high boots. Another great thing about this poncho is the color: A classic neutral, such as camel, easily mixes into the rest of a wardrobe.







The deep green poncho in the photo, right, is a virgin wool style from 1970s Columbia. It is yet another example of how one can stay stylishly warm this fall.

"It would be cute by the fireplace, by the fire-pit, or on a hay ride," Burton says. "Or even when taking a walk with the dog, it's the kind of thing you can just throw on over your schlepp clothes and look cute walking the dog."

Ponchos are back in style for a simple reason: They enable a wearer to be warm and look stylish at the same time. What's not to love? And as the season progresses, being warm and cozy will grow even more attractive.

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