The Makeshift Poncho

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Poncho from Antiques Garage

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Poncho from Antiques Garage

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Poncho from Aspen

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My West Elm Throw

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Shawl from Zara

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Poncho from Antiques Garage

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Poncho from Antiques Garage

burberry-blanket-coat-3

Poncho from Aspen

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My West Elm Throw

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Shawl from Zara

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In this second installment of transitional fall fashion, I present the poncho. Part equestrian riding attire, part cold weather kaftan, it's perfect for weather that’s skin-grazing-nippy but not bone-chillingly cold. I first fell in love with the idea after seeing this photo of Robert Redford and Paul Newman from 1969. The rest of the world caught up when Burberry did a pretty great version for fall.

With a level of cozy that's basically unparalleled, the blanket-style poncho extends bedtime into real life—especially if it is quite literally a blanket, repurposed from your bed, potentially cinched with a belt. But I'll get to that later.

First, to the thrift store, a veritable poncho emporium. If your thrift store search had keywords, they’d be “soft materials” and “very, very large pieces of fabric.” Also, “fringe!” Using these indicators, I found a charcoal fringed number at Antiques Garage (RIP!) for $30. Then, at an Aspen thrift store—where the rich cast off their unwanted clothing and is my equivalent of heaven on earth—I found a cream-colored one. Besides the fact that it’s slightly itchy, smells of mothballs, the fact that I hardly ever wear it outdoors, and it makes me look like a Shetland pony—it’s perfect.

But if you absolutely need the blanket poncho now goddamnit, I refer you back to your bed. It’s my favorite option because of its sheer utility—stain on your sheets with takeout food while watching Netflix in bed? Oh, just put a blanket on it! Chilly, but can’t find a coat because they’re still stored under said-stained bed? Put a blanket on it! Eileen Fisher Home is the ultimate, but West Elm also provides some wonderful options. Take this Ombre Faux Fur Throw that will positively make you look like the seventh Stark sibling. The one I wore IRL from the company is no longer in production, but this one would work just as well. Luckily, for only $8.50 more, you can even have it monogrammed. (Zara does make wonderful shawl scarves this time of year, as does Nordstrom—if your blankets aren't up to snuff.)

Now you are warm, fuzzy, and inviting. Though be aware of the extreme sartorial spectrum. Best-case scenario: You look super chic. Worse case: like you could possibly be approaching homelessness. The middling area, in no particular order, ranges from:

-Claire Randall in Outlander

-Dumbledore in Harry Potter

-The oft magnificently caped André Leon Talley

-Depending on who you ask, the judge, or, clothing designer Antonin Scalia

To avoid unwanted comparisons, the belt is a must. It nips in the added volume and semi-disguises the glaring fact that you’re wearing a duvet outdoors. That, or just tell people you've dedicated your fall to the memory of Paul Newman.

—Alexis Cheung

Photos by Makena Miller.

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