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Wool Capes, Tweed Ponchos and Shawls | Whats the difference?

Here at Triona, we are very proud of our line of women’s capes. Drawing inspiration from the Donegal landscape and the colours found in the heather, a wool cape our line combines fashion with practicality. 

Tweed capes come in many styles, from capes to shawls, cape coats and ponchos, they are as diverse as they are versatile, but what are the differences between these styles? In this blog we hope we can help you with that question.



What is a Cape?

When you hear the word ‘cape’ you may picture a long flowing piece of fabric hanging off the shoulders of a rather large superhero, or even super villain. But, capes in reality are much more quiet, conventional, modern and stylish. Draped over the shoulders they will often be open on the sides without sleeves. Most modern-day capes will come to the waist or to the top of the legs.

In years gone by here in Ireland, the wives of local weavers would wear capes to social gatherings, fairs and markets to show off the quality, patterns and design of their husbands tweed. Irish women gathered wearing Tweed and wool capes

Today, their design remains similar; they have retained their original purpose, benefits and stylistic designs. The reason why the cape has thrived as a garment for centuries is because of its versatility; they are comfortable, convenient, non-restricting, complementing, accessorising and they provide warmth in mild weather. 

Model wearing Triona designed wool cape

They are quite flexible in their design, too. They can be button-down capes also known as cape coats, long capes, woollen capes made with tweed or even waterproof materials for the unexpected downpours.

How Can Capes Be Worn?

Moving onto the important part, we already know that a wool cape is a flexible garment, with fashion designers all over the world taking the garments style and making modern day alterations.

If you are considering a woollen or tweed cape such as our range of wool capes , you’ll be fashioning your style for the Autumn and Winter months, providing a soft and comfortable outfit-topper. They are the perfect addition to any outfit; work, date night, high-street and runway. For example; say you’re meeting some friends on a Saturday for a shopping trip but going for a meal afterwards. Wearing some dark trousers and ankle boots with a white shirt, topped with your cape will provide the perfect get-up for both occasions rolled into one!


What is a Poncho?

Often associated with the see-through waterproof and hooded cover given by stewards while you were enjoying the rain and were up to your ankles in mud at your favourite concert or festival, the poncho is a garment with a rich history and many cultural ties. 

Unlike the cape, the poncho is worn by both men and women and features no arm holes. In its most simple form, it can be a large square piece of fabric; woollen or tweed,  often with patterns related to the maker's culture. Worn over the shoulders, the large square will have a circular hole in the centre for placing over the head. The poncho will then droop over the neck, shoulders, arms and chest for warmth. In some cultures, the poncho would have frills on the hem and historically are largely associated with the cultures of South America.

Here at Triona, our soft wool poncho’s offer a timeless and chic style in Donegal tweed with a pointed hem and soft neckline that is a perfect additional layer for crisp mornings. If you’re braving the beautiful and changing weather of Ireland, then a tweed poncho is a perfect addition to your wardrobe. Here in Europe the temperature can drop in the evenings and, if you’re out for dinner or a night out, you may want a little extra something, like a tweed poncho on your shoulders to fight the chill.

They can be worn with some skinny jeans, court heels and matching clutch, Don’t forget your statement lips and earrings! 

 

What is a Shawl?Woman wearing a traditional Galway Shawl in Ireland

A shawl can be thought of as a large piece of fabric that can be draped around the wearer in lots of ways. 

The shawl’s history can be traced right back to 14th century Persia where the name originated from woven rectangular garments that were draped over shoulders and around the body.

More recently in Ireland the shawl became popular in the late 19th century. The most popular example being the Galway shawl, which usually refers to a specific type of heavy weight shawl that was worn by Irish women during the colder seasons.

This style of shawl was still being worn up until the 1950s by a few older, more traditional Irish women. Throughout Ireland, women traditionally wore various types of lightweight shawls that were hand knit, crocheted, or woven; and would have been of solid color, plaid, print, or paisley.

Lightweight shawls, worn directly over the blouse and tied or tucked in at the waist, were worn in all seasons both indoors and out. 

Today we have modern designs with our wool throw capes that can be draped into any flattering style.

 

How Can Shawls be Worn?

Tweed cape at Triona Although we mentioned a shawl being like a large scarf, they are worn differently. There are many ways in which a shawl can be draped The shawl can hang elegantly from the shoulder providing a slim and elongated figure. The throw cape can also be paired with a belt around the throw to provide a cinched-waist look.

Triona Wool Capes

Here at Triona we provide traditional Irish tweed garments and including wool capes, ponchos and the shawls. Our women’s wool and tweed cape section can be found by clicking here.