A cape styled poncho is generally used to describe a cape shaped like a poncho. They are styled so that the sides of the cape are shorter than the front and back. When lying flat, the shape of a cape poncho is somewhat like a very wide V. This type of cape is believed to have become popular during the late 1960s, during the era of hippie clothing and fashion. In more modern fashion terms, this type of clothing style has come to be referred to as “boho,” or bohemian.
As outerwear, a cape poncho can typically be made of any type of fabric, but is more often done in wools or crocheted knit. This may be because both of these construction methods take very well to fringing, and the cape poncho typically has fringe all along the hemline. The fringe is sometimes just an extension of the poncho fabric that has been raveled at the edges to create a fringed look. Another method that is used to create a fringed edge is using pre-made fringe and sewing it along the hemline. Not all cape ponchos have a fringed edge, but it seems to be intrinsic to the fashion.
Generally, a cape poncho can be most any length, but they usually reach the thigh at their longest point. It is rare to see them made much below knee length, though shorter versions became popular during the early 2000s, when there was resurgence in the popularity of bohemian fashion. The shorter version of a cape poncho is generally more popular with young adults and teens.
One of the things that make the cape styled poncho different from a regular poncho is closure. Ponchos typically have only a head opening and no front closure. A cape poncho is typically open at the front and ties or buttons at the neck, with the front remaining open. Some styles are designed to button all the way up the front, but this is generally less common. In addition, cape ponchos usually have hoods, and traditional ponchos do not.
The big difference between the cape poncho and a traditional cape is that capes typically have slits in the sides used for hand and arm openings. The cape poncho normally does not have this component. The body of the fabric just falls over the arms. In this way, they could be considered very much like a shawl.