A poncho is a style of outer jacket that is constructed from a large continuous piece of fabric with a hole cut in the center for the wearers head. Ponchos can either be worn purely for fashion, as a garment to protect against cold or as a means of keeping dry in the rain depending on the material used in its construction.
Typically fashion oriented and cold weather ponchos have the simplest construction; whereas rain ponchos typically incorporate some sort of hood to protect the head as well as additional protection for the side of the body.
The poncho was first created in Central and South America by indigenous peoples. By the mid-1800s the poncho gained popularity in North America due to military interest in inexpensive protective rain gear.
Today the poncho is worn worldwide and can be found nearly everywhere in both its inexpensive raingear and high fashion forms.