Ask FGG: "Are there any great capes/ponchos out there in plus sizes?"
Posted by Angela in Ask FGG
Flamenco cape by Felt Inspired

This week's Ask FGG feature is brought to you by FGG's newest contributor, Angela. Angela writes from Chicago, just down the road from FGG editor, Toni, and we're excited to have her on board. Look for more great stuff from Angela next week!

Up front, I’ll confess a wee bit of envy for readers who can pull off this look, because it’s not for everyone (read: makes me look like a fabric-draped box with feet). For the rest of our less vertically-challenged readership, the retro look of ponchos and capes – which reappeared on runways for the Fall 2009/Winter 2010 seasons – offers interpretation in endless fabrics, patterns and trims. Best of all, many retailers are currently offering end-of-season closeout pricing, yet these pieces will still work in your wardrobe as the weather (hopefully!) transitions into spring.

A quick background: The poncho/cape/capelet genre can blend together based on designer and style, but a poncho at its most basic level is a large sheet of fabric with a center opening for your head. It drapes in front and back and may be open on the sides. Capes tend to be more open in the front and fasten at the neck or shoulders. Instead of sleeves, they may have holes or slits for your arms. A capelet is an abbreviated version of the cape and sits on the shoulders. All three styles are frequently offered in a generic, single size.

We found a better selection of true plus sizes in capelets as opposed to capes, possibly because of the poncho/cape definition overlap. Our hands-down favorite: the adorable, gray tweed Polyanna capelet, $19.95, from – who'd have guessed? – in sizes up to 4X. Another favorite, though described as a poncho, has a definite cape-like look: B & Lu's hooded, 2-button Solveig Poncho in chocolate brown, $32, is available in sizes 1X-3X and features pleated detail and metal buttons.

In the poncho category, the unique buttons and comfy feel of Pure & Co.’s plus-size urban poncho, $169, caught our fancy. Available in sizes 1X-3X, this stone-colored, hooded number is hand-knit from 100% cotton and looks cozy enough to chase away even Snowpocalypse-level doldrums.

While we’re always big fans of Etsy, the handmade marketplace offers two great reasons to surf for ponchos. Not only are several pieces offered in straight-up plus sizes (the largest we found, sized as Large-5X, is crocheted in solid black, $34.59), but many sellers can also tailor-make your piece using your own measurements and color preferences, as is the case with this belted, felted merino wool poncho, $118. Other styles, including this softer, crocheted look with scalloped edging, $55, can be adapted to fit 2X or 3X sizes. Just be sure to read descriptions thoroughly, as tagging anything without a defined size as "plus size" seems pretty common.

Finally, girls who’ve been burned by “One Size Fits All/Most” tags over the years should take heart – and pay close attention to the garment’s actual measurements. The poncho’s inherently exaggerated dimensions mean that the OSFM sizing may prove spacious enough in the waist, hips, bust, etc., even on designs not specifically cut as plus sizes. That’s good news when the potential find is as cute as this gray/green/black jersey concoction with accent scarf, $80, also from Etsy. Decorative ties cinch the waist for a less boxy look, and the garment’s width measures 68”.

Readers: Share your favorite cape choices and poncho picks in comments!