Styling and Wearing a Ruana

Sewing a Ruana Lesson 4 | Sewing Accessories for a Ruana Lesson 3 | Embellishing a Ruana Lesson 2 | Making a DIY No-Sew Ruana Lesson 1 (and basic ruana construction)

A ruana is a great garment that can dress up a sweater and jeans and go elegantly overa black-tie dress or wrap over your work suit on a chilly day. Depending on your fabric and how you style it, it has endless possibilities:

The casual ruana:

In plaid, (wool or fleece), or a reversible knit, the casual ruana looks fabulous over jeans and ballet flats or leggings with tall boots. Layer it over a turtleneck sweater, a tunic or even just a long sleeved tee shirt for instant upgrade of your outfit. Toss one tail over your shoulder and secure it with a pin. If you want a cape look, toss one tail over one shoulder and the other tail over the other side, securing the second side with a brooch or pin and it’ll look like a cape. This cape look is fabulous over a cozy sweater and jeans with boots on a fall day.

We LOVE the ruana over the Shirred Turtleneck from the same pattern envelope - it really highlights the shirring when you wear it draped over one shoulder or open in the front. Or make a mixed print raglan tee shirt and layer over a coordinating ruana - try a black floral print, with black striped sleeves and a black and white plaid ruana - mixing prints is fun if you pick a base color to pull it all together!

Ruana with shirred turtleneck

The work ruana:

Besides keeping one permanently at your desk for those chilly overly-air conditioned or under-heated offices (we recommend black or charcoal gray), you can wear it over a sleek knit top and knit pencil skirt, belting the ruana at the waist with a wide or skinny leather belt. Wear this look with dressy short or tall boots.

You can also layer a ruana over a suit jacket. Most women wear ‘mixed’ pant suits, where your jacket is a different fabric from your pants. The ruana as a finishing touch adds a distinctive layer. Secured with a pin, you can take this outfit to a business lunch on a cold winter day.

Fleece rounded circular ruana ruffled edges

The evening ruana:

Besides styling this over your date-night combo of jeans and a great sweater or top for movie night, you can dress up the ruana over an evening cocktail gown (the ruana looks best with a slim fitting long gown or knee-length cocktail dress) and stay warm at those evening theater galas or fall and winter weddings. Go with a gorgeous sweater knit, or try double-sided (reversible) stretch velvet or even a decadent cashmere woven flannel with silk fringe. If you're terrified of cutting into a two-yard length of cashmere, the ruana is a great, easy project to convince you of the need of this luxury. Go ahead, splurge - you'll own this for decades and you'll wear it all winter long!

The sideways ruana becomes a poncho!

You can turn your ruana into a poncho with a bateau neck and a long asymmetrical side tail by simply turning it sideways, so the open edge is along one shoulder and down your arm. If you like, you can sew buttonholes in one side of the inner neck front edge of one, and buttons on the other, and button up the side (or front) of your ruana. Or you can simply use decorative pins (small ones) down the open edge for a temporary poncho look.

They make great gifts!!

You probably can’t have enough of your own, and when you do, you can make gifts for your BFFs, your sister (and, sisters in law especially), your mom, your aunt and your neighbor as a thank you for taking your mail in while you were on vacation.

Visit our Pinterest board at for more great ideas.

Show off your creations at our Facebook Group (free, and private):

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