What Is A Ruana?

August 18, 2021

What Is A Ruana?

Though you may not be familiar with the word, you have certainly seen a ruana in a store or on a fashionable woman. Ruanas are a stylish wrap that looks like a poncho, kimono or a cape but isn’t quite the same thing.

Shawls, capes, ponchos, kimonos, ruanas, wraps, pashminas… all these terms describe different garments that all look pretty similar. Each is a drapey piece of cloth (sometimes silky, sometimes woolen) that is worn over an outfit to add warmth and style. 

So what exactly is the difference? Is there one?



Ruanas are wool coverings that most closely resemble a poncho but unlike a poncho it has a slit down the front so you can wrap yourself in it. They are almost always made of wool or a wool-like material, often in a tartan print.

Ruanas are worn like a wrap but unlike wraps they are cut like a big square with a slit in it rather than like an extra large scarf.

The classic ruana is very long, like a blanket you wrap yourself in. Mini-ruanas are a more popular choice for many women hitting just above the knee depending on your height.

How Do You Wear A Ruana?

Ruanas are a very versatile garment that can be worn with just about anything. Think about what you would wear a poncho or wrap with and that’s something you can wear a ruana with. 

They are often worn over jeans and a sweater on a fall day or belted over a dress! Think of it like a stylish blanket you can wear out and about. They are a great piece to have in your closet during the fall.

So, What Is A Poncho, Kimono, Wrap or Shawl?

To understand what a ruana is it is important to better understand the other garments it closely resembles. Here is a quick breakdown...

  • Ponchos are like ruanas but instead of being a square with a slit down the middle it only has an opening in the center that you pull your head through.

  • Kimonos are generally made of a silky fabric and look like a ruana with large drapey sleeves.

  • Capes look like ruanas except the neck is more tailored to fit snugly and often has some kind of closure. Capes can be made in any kind of fabric but they tend to be shorter than ruanas hitting at about the hips.

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