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The Difference between the Wrap, Poncho, Cape & Shawl

Posted by Weavers of Ireland on 12th Jan 2017

As purveyors of Weavers designs, we offer a wide and colourful range of Irish woven Ponchos, Capes, Shawls and Wraps, all made from the finest quality of tweed, wool and cashmere that Ireland has to offer but are they not all the same thing we hear you say?

Although part of the same family and quite similar in style, there is a unique difference between all four which is inherent to their designs. 

Here we explore more to help you truly understand the difference in each and help you decide which one is right for you. 

The Wrap

The Wrap as its name suggests refers to a long piece of fabric which can be wrapped around the wearer as they so wish. The shape of a wrap will often be unstructured, resembling that of a blanket, giving the wearer more freedom to wear as he or she wishes. This is a great choice for someone who values comfort and individual style as they have free rein to style exactly as they wish. 

Woven Wraps Ireland - Irish Craft Tradition

The Cape 

In contrast, a cape, which originated in medieval times, is a sleeveless garment which is short. Although no sleeves exist, it typically mirrors a short jacket or coat and has a fastening around the neckline. It may also include some fastening elements down the middle of the garment which again mirror the more traditional coat design but with the absence of a sleeve. 

Irish Woven Cape - Tweed Capes Ireland

Wool Cape, Irish Wool Craft - Weaving Ireland

The Poncho 

So now you understand the difference between the Cape and the Wrap so pardon us in advance for the confusion which we are now about to impart on you with relation to our next garment, the Poncho that is. 

This equally popular garment which originated in South America in the pre-inca times is quite similar to the Cape in the sense that it is also worn over the neck and is again sleeveless. 

Other names for the garment include; Chamanto (in central Chile) and Ruana (in the colder regions of Columbia and Venezuela). The difference here is that whilst it may have some fastening around the neck, it is usually a much freer flowing garment in comparison to the cape. It may also include a front which forms a V shape although this is not always the case. Confused yet ? Hold on, we're nearly there....

Woolen Poncho - Irish Wool Aran Poncho

The Shawl 

Last but not least, we have the Shawl. The Shawl can take on many styles but has similar qualities to the Wrap in that is usually rectangular in shape and has a very unstructured fit. The difference being that it is usually a much smaller version, suitable only to wear around ones shoulders, not having the access material needed to wrap around a person's body more than once. 

We hope you have found this blog helpful and are now inspired to go fourth and wrap yourself up in whichever woven design suits you the best. Until next time. 

The Team at Weavers of Ireland