What is a Ruana?

What is a Ruana?

If you’re not already familiar with the ruana, you should be. This garment is a type of blanket shawl that’s similar to a poncho—the difference is that ruanas have a slit in the front for versatile styling, while ponchos don’t. Ruanas have a hole for the head and can be draped in a variety of ways, whether you want to wear yours with both ends draped over your shoulders, with a belt, or even secured with a sparkly brooch.

Ruanas originate from South America and are typically crafted from cashmere or sheep’s wool, which makes them incredibly soft and warm. When it comes to colors and prints, you’ll find solid hues and shades, plaid prints, and Peruvian-inspired designs.

Is a Ruana Considered Outerwear?

Yes and no. Ruanas can be worn in place of a women’s fleece jacket on fall days, although they might not be warm enough for frigid winter temps. They’re great for air-conditioned environments, which means you can transition your ruana into springtime. For example, if you’re headed to the movies in capri pants and a tee, wrapping up in one of these wool shawls can keep you warm if the temperature in the theater is too cool for your liking.

Casual Ways to Wear a Ruana

Ruanas can be dressed up or down depending on the look you’re going for. If you want a casual style, start with your favorite denim. Skinny styles are great for balancing out the voluminous look of a ruana, or you can opt for a boot cut or straight-leg style. Women’s black jeans are a stylish accompaniment to any blanket shawl, whether you pair them with a black long-sleeve tee for a monochromatic look or a women’s T-shirt in a contrasting color. Indigo-wash jeans are also a stylish option, especially for ruanas that feature shades of blue.

Leggings are another casual bottom style that pairs perfectly with a ruana. You can match the color of your leggings to your ruana or go for a contrasting hue. For cold days, there are fleece-lined leggings that are as warm as they are stylish. Corduroy leggings are another trendy option to consider. Finish the look with your favorite boots, which are also a good footwear option for wearing with ruanas and jeans. You could even wear sneakers with either women’s jeans or leggings and a ruana to impart even more casual flair to your look.

Then there’s the jegging. Not quite leggings, not quite jeans—this versatile pant is a combination of the two. Jeggings come in different colors that look like denim, and they’re stretchy like leggings. For a versatile outfit that’s also comfortable, pair black jeggings and a black top with any color ruana or blanket shawl. If you want something vibrant, consider blue jeggings with a red plaid ruana.

If an eclectic look is your style, wear French terry women’s sweatpants with one of these blanket shawls. The contrast in textures creates an eye-catching look, while the soft, warm fabrics keep you cozy. Gray sweats and a gray tartan or Southwestern print is right on-trend, although any color combo works well. For a structured look, choose sweatpants in a jogger style with ribbed elastic at the cuffs.

Dressy Ways to Wear a Ruana

You can also wear a ruana over most any dressy outfit for an elegant finishing touch. Layer one of these wool shawls over a cashmere turtleneck with dress pants or a knee-length skirt, then add heels or flats in your preferred style. Ruanas add flair to sweater dresses, and they’re also good for wearing over jersey fit-and-flare dresses or flowy maxi dresses.

The classic sheath dress is another style that looks elegant with a ruana. Sheath dresses are simple yet stylish, with minimal embellishments and a figure-flattering cut. Usually, you’ll find that the average sheath dress falls to about knee-length and fits close to the body. A draped blanket shawl over a sheath dress eliminates the need for accessories, although you can add a pair of sparkly earrings or fasten your ruana with a decorative pin.

Cashmere ruanas layer beautifully over any cashmere sweater. Whether you prefer cashmere cardigans, crewnecks, or a cashmere turtleneck, a ruana in a coordinating shade is the perfect topper. This sweater-shawl combo can be worn with dress pants in any style. There are slim dress pants for a streamlined look and classic pleated styles, along with bootcut slacks to impart a casual touch—but not too casual—to your look.

Virtually any type of dressy outfit can be made even more stylish with the addition of an elegantly draped ruana. That’s one of the best things about this blanket shawl—it goes with pretty much everything.

Now that you’re familiar with the ruana, all that’s left to do is find one or more in your favorite color or print. It’s likely you have plenty of apparel pieces already in your closet that you can wear under one of these cozy fall and winter fashion staples.


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