Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

How to layer your clothes like a boss (aka how to wear a poncho)

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 68 Comments

Sponsored by Motto

A quick check of my weather app tells me that it’s about 10 degrees warmer here right now that it is in Melbourne but that we started the day on the same temperature. That’s the crazy thing about this big land we live in, winter can look very different from one city or town to another.

Where I live, it’s not uncommon to have a 20-degree temperature range from morning to midday. We can start out in low, single digits and reach low 20s within a few hours. It’s all very well and good to have that lovely sun and warmth in the middle of the day but it can wreak havoc with your wardrobe and outfit planning.

To survive a BRinter (Brisbane winter), you need to learn to layer like a boss because you know you’ll be de-layering and re-layering in an eight-hour period. Even if you don’t live in a similar climate to me, layering skills are key to dressing in winter. You might need more layers but if going inside to a heated office or home, there will be some de-layering action required.

In this post, I’m sharing my top layering skills for winter as well as shining the spotlight on ONE GARMENT that is key to my successful layering throughout the season.

7 tips for how to layer your clothes like a boss

1. Your base pieces need to look ok without anything layered on top of them. This is my number one tip as it’s where I can often be let down if it warms up and I haven’t considered how my base pieces (eg jeans and tee or long-sleeve tee) look when the layers are off. Does the t-shirt sit well and look smart enough without any icing on top? Nail the base and you’ll never be afraid to de-layer.

2. Make your layers light in weight. If you live somewhere cold this doesn’t mean sacrificing warmth. It means utilising layers that don’t require bulk to keep you warm. Think cotton blends, technical blends, cashmere and merino wool. Even a jacket can have warmth without the bulk.

3. Wear thermal pieces as undergarments. Hands up if your mum made you wear a spencer back in the day. Yes, me too. They were scratchy and made me feel like a nana. Not so, the spencers of today. You’ll find the fabric is super thin and won’t add bulk but works to keep you warm.

4. Keep thick knits, coats or jackets as the very outer layer. If you look at each of your winter outfits and make only one piece on the thick side, then your outfit will be balanced out. You won’t feel like the layers have made you look and feel bulky. A heavy coat will not appear bulky if worn back with streamlined, lightweight knit or technical fabric layers. If you work in a corporate office then the coat will be key because once you’re at the office, it will be warm, so underneath will be similar to what you wear all year round. A chunky knit will appear balanced in an outfit when worn with skinny jeans or leggings.

5. Swap out leggings for ponte pants. If you’re wearing an outfit that includes a tunic-style dress or top, opt for a thicker pant in ponte. They’re still the streamlined shape of a legging but with more warmth. If it’s super cold, add heat-retaining leggings or tights underneath the ponte pants.

6. Concentrate on covering and keeping your extremities warm. My dodgy thyroid lets me know the minute the weather has changed, and my hands and feet are perpetually cold for the duration of winter. Keeping feet encased in wool or heat-retaining socks and boots helps; as does keeping a pair of gloves in the pockets of my coat or in the car for early mornings. Hats, beanies and scarves work to keep heat from escaping around the neck and head. All of these extremity layers can make great fashion statements so embrace not just for the practicality.

7. Embrace the cape or wrap. My favourite outerwear pieces are the ones that essentially give you permission to leave the house wearing a blanket. The rise of the poncho, cape, wrap or shrug in all manner of fabrications has been an absolute win for those of us who aspire to “couch chic”. Underneath you wear any level of layers you might need for warmth. It could be just be a short-sleeved t-shirt and jeans if you live where it’s mild. Add on the blanket/cape layer and you immediately have a layered/put-together look that keeps you warm but also looks the business because of the addition of winter textures. You can also add a coat over the top if required for warmth.

It’s the poncho/wrap cape that is the one garment I can say helps me successfully layer and de-layer throughout a winter’s day. How to wear a poncho is totally up to you. I have quite a few in my collection but this one below caught my attention because it’s a timeless classic that will work in your wardrobe for years to come.

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

Motto York woolly poncho | Teal viscose travel top (I’m in size 14) | Black ponte miracle shaper pants (I’m in size 12)

Before I show you two other ways I’ve styled this poncho, let me talk you through it. It’s actually a wrap-style garment, which is AWESOME for versatility and for very much allowing you to leave the house in style, even though you’re technically wrapping yourself in a blanket. Yes, “blanket chic” is a thing. HAH.

It’s a woolly fabric but not made from wool – so great for those of us who find some wools a little scratchy on our skin. What sets this one apart and takes this piece next level is its leatherette trim and tassels. It’s designed in a shape that easily falls over your shoulders and I found that the fabric didn’t easily slip off the shoulder either. It’s 100cm wide from top of shoulder to hem at longest point; 65cm to shortest point

The lightweight fabric provides warmth without bulk for a mild day or when indoors, making this a great travelling piece and one that I can fold up in my tote bag during the day when it warms up. Best of all you can pop it in the washing machine in a garment bag. Easy care is key.

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

How to wear a poncho – three different ways

I’m a bit of a cracked record on mindful shopping, I know, but if most pieces in your wardrobe can work dressed-up or dressed down, then you have a wardrobe that’s really working for you. I’ve put together casual, work and evening options below to show you just how versatile this poncho/wrap is.


This is my weekend winter uniform – comfortable pants or jeans + long-sleeve casual top + wrap poncho – for watching my son play sport, heading out to brunch or hanging at home. It’s also an outfit I’d wear on a plane. I’m wearing layers for interest but also layers that will look very ok if I have to take off the top piece as it warms up. 

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

Motto York woolly poncho | Teal viscose travel top (I’m in size 14) | Black ponte miracle shaper pants (I’m in size 12)

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho


I work from home but often head out for meetings, so that’s when things get a little more professional. Whether that meeting’s in a coffee shop or a boardroom, having a wrap like this one on hand as part of my outfit, means I’ll not be caught out feeling cold. 

Heads up: the shape of the skirt is similar to the scuba skirt I wore a lot last year. It’s so, so flattering on.

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

Motto York woolly poncho | Silver fur scoop back top (I’m in size 14) | Check ponte tango skirt (I’m in size 14)

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho


Layering a frock for evening occasions or nights out can be tricky. You don’t want to take away from the hero piece – the frock – but you do want to keep warm while at the venue. To and from the venue you might need a coat, depending on where you are, but while at the venue, this wrap will work a treat if the heating is on the cool side and not meeting your PCLs (personal comfort levels).

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

Motto York woolly poncho | Red velvet Sienna dress (I’m in size 14)

Motto York Woolly poncho | how to wear a poncho

Shop all my favourite Motto pieces HERE. Check out the Motto online magazine for even more outfit inspiration, as curated by Motto creative director Faye Browne.


Get excited. Motto has 5 x York Woolly ponchos to give away to five Styling You readers. Follow the steps below to enter.

  1. Head over to Motto HERE. Fill in the form (new subscribers get a $20 voucher; existing members get 10% off).
  2. Once filled in, you’ll be directed back here to answer this question in the comments below: How would you wear this poncho this winter?

Entries open on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 5am (AEST) and close on Friday, June 1 at 5pm (AEST). Australian entries only, sorry. The five winners of the “answer the question” competition will be judged on originality and creativity. Both steps of the competition need to be fulfilled to be judged a winner. The winner will be emailed and their name will be published here. Entrants must include an email address when the filling in the commenting system below to be eligible to enter. Full terms and conditions here.

This photoshoot was shot on location at Montrachet, Brisbane (do yourself a favour and experience a little Parisian chic, whether you’re dining in or picking up a baguette from the bakery). Photography: The Photo Pitch; Hair and Makeup: Dale Dorning/Arc Creative

Comments 68

  1. I would love to win this for my Mum , she always wanted a wrap like this , we did buy one a few years ago to share but of course my poor Mum never got to wear it because I was always wearing it
    This is even nicer the one we bought together Thankyou x

  2. We are travelling soon for nearly 5 months, everywhere from Singapore to Greenland. Packing is a logistical nightmare and I am ruthless!
    My MOTTO is layers! This poncho would be Perfect for everything fromtaking the edge off the chilly aircraft air conditioning to blocking the Arctic blasts while Iceberg spotting in Newfoundland.
    It certainly deserves a place in my carryon luggage! (Carefully folded into a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out to save space!)

  3. I’ve always be frightened to try a poncho as I’m a bit of a shorty but seeing you showing different ways it has inspired me to try. Firstly with my skinny jeans and a lovely top.

  4. I am already a big fan of the poncho, so can see myself wearing this beautiful Motto poncho daily. As a teacher in a Sydney Boy’s High school it would be the perfect wardrobe item to wrap myself in when leaving the staff room or classroom to head out into the cold windy playground for duty; to keep warm for sport training with my team two afternoons after school and then with jeans and boots at early morning games on a Saturday morning. I can also envisage myself in the evenings styling it with a dress and boots to finish off my outfit.

  5. I’m a self confessed poncho/wrap fiend as I love the comfort & versatility of these garments not to mention that they take me back to the happy days of my childhood where my dear mum was an avid knitter & provided me with a new poncho whether they were in fashion or not each year, lol!

    I do currently own a couple of knitwear wraps but oh wow… this particular one by Motto is just next level! As Nikki has demonstrated & with the type of fabric it’s made from makes it ever so versatile & it can be dressed up or down.

    I would wear this baby every chance I had; with jeans or pontes & a simple tee for a Coles grocery run, to feel polished running around my now elderly mum to all of her medical appointments & out with the hubby with a lovely dress for any special occasions that may arise.

    This piece I’m certain will prove to be a lifelong piece as it’s a timeless classic style!

  6. I would wear it perhaps just about everytime I left the house from now until November. I live in Toowoomba so all winter gear works on high rotation for me. Plus I’m travelling to Northern Europe this December. I have loved reading all of your styling advice Nikki about winter dressing. You’ve not only helped me to be more targeted in my thinking about what I need for the vagaries of the Queensland cold season, but your descriptions also extend to coping with the really cold extremes. Many thanks, Mel

  7. This Poncho would be perfect with my black jeggings, ankle high Vans and plain white tee, with my hair pulled back into a messy ponytail and a simple pair of diamond studs. Perfect for my Wintery walks along the beach walkway.

  8. Arctic Park – that’s how we describe the Shepparton netball courts in winter. This poncho would be a GOD send. And I’d look stylish too. Thanks to Motto for the opportunity to win one.

  9. Hi
    This poncho would feel right at home in the boot of my car or work carry bag so it was always at hand.
    During the week I would wrap myself up in it on the balcony of an evening over my pj’s, over my work attire while waiting for the bus or in the office to protect me from our chilly air con. On the weekends I’d wear it over jeans to children’s sporting matches, with track pants whilst chilling on the lounge or over a going out evening outfit. Most of all I’d love to wear it in an airport lounge and on a plane to an exotic destination….

  10. Finally, a fabulous wrap poncho that doesn’t look like it’s off the back of Nanna’s couch!! Hallelujah Motto! While I thought your miracle pants were amazing (and they are), the real miracle is that this wrap will let me leave my not so flattering puffa coat/wearable doona at home over chilly Melbourne winters! I love an extra layer that is warm and cosy without the frump! Any excuse for blanket chic: work, long weekend fireside winery lunches, work, cheeky date nights, work, footy, work, presenting!!

  11. I’d style this gorgeous poncho with comfortable and smart attire, jeans or ponte pants, long boots, white shirt, soft jumper, a colourful scarf and a happy smile because it’s my Motto to smile even when the days are dark and dreary.

  12. I looove ponchos, with any outfit and have been wanting a black one! It would be particularly handy for my flight as I am heading overseas for my 50th in a month. With a great looking one like Motto’s I might have a chance of scoring an upgrade!!!

  13. I would get lots of use out of this poncho this winter. Weekdays it would be fantastic for the office with air conditioning that fluctuates between arctic and solar desert. For evenings it would be great to add style and warmth to a dress on the occasion I get out – dinners and formal work functions. The poncho would also be well loved on weekends to bring style to my casual outfits for weekend duties such as daughter’s netball, farmers market shopping and maybe a catch up with a friend.

  14. That delightful poncho would find itself in use on many a winters day in Sydney-town, dressing up my everyday school run casual, accompanying me out on the town when a fabulous warm addition to the outfit is called for – and everywhere in between!

  15. This lovely poncho would become my wardrobe staple! Living in Melbourne it would be an essential item that I could wear anywhere and everywhere on a daily basis. Imagine driving in the car with no bulky coat on, braving the elements to watch the footy, dining out when the restaurants idea of warm is not the same as yours, wearing at work when the guys have the heating/cooling set at a notch above freezing!! OMG I could just go on and on but I’m a little bit chilly and my fingers are frozen as I don’t have this lovely poncho to wear at the moment 🙁

  16. I once wore a poncho to a very trendy restaurant, I thought it looked great but the maître d obviously did not! He gave me one of those withering up and down appraisals that seem to last an eternity and I thought he was about to scream “No upmarket Thai for YOU!” I have never braved a poncho in public again but I would wear this gorgeous York wooly poncho with confidence everywhere this winter!

  17. I would wear it with either my black lace dress and high heels or tall black leather boots for dinner out…For a casual look with my pale blue boyfriend jeans, white long sleeved, long black boots and my new favorite winter accessory, my red beret.
    I love it and could see this being a valuable peice in my capsule wardrobe for home and travel.

  18. I love that poncho. I’d pair it with jeans most of the time. I think the leather trim would add a bit of sophistication to up my very casual day looks which I’d quite like!

  19. I’ve never had the confidence to wear a poncho but your styling tips have given me food for thought.
    Maybe I can wear one, especially with jeans on weekend outings. Much needed accessory in Melbourne town!

  20. This poncho is so beautiful and versatile. I would wear it all winter, for special occasions and more casual occasions. It would be super easy to pack and take on my trip to the Scottish highlands in July.

  21. It is so versatile I would wear it for all occasions however my favourite classic style would be dark jeans to suit my shape, black heels, a thin top with the poncho on top with glam earrings. Thanks Nikki and Motto for the inspiration.

  22. I would wear it with everything but especially to work because it is always cold in my office. This would look sylish and fabulous for meeting in cold Melbourne winter ❄️

  23. I would wear it with panache and pride, as an outer layer on my commute to and from work over my uniform ( a I’m a women’s health nurse), I think I would feel fabulously chic. I can see myself wrapped up in this walking to church each Sunday over what ever outfit I choose, jeans, ponte pants or denim skirt. I am visualising myself curled up on the lounge of an evening watching TV or devouring a good read encased in this fab poncho, or sitting sipping a turmeric latte in the sun on a Saturday morning with friends eat a near by cafe.

  24. This is the most stylish poncho I’ve ever seen.

    I would try it on for fun, and then send it to my sister in the UK, who always feels the cold terribly and would look beautiful wearing this poncho.

  25. I love to wear dresses in the winter months and I think this poncho would be a fabulous addition To my wardrobe. For a cool casual look I would love a light denim Jean teamed with a French stripe t -shirt a black beret and a gorgeous poncho to snuggle under for a cosy coffee.

  26. I’d wear it to Evita at Sydney Opera House- a special three generations of women trip for my mum, my daughter and myself.

  27. I LOVE ponchos! It’s been a looonng time since I had one in my wardrobe!

    I’d love to wear this for kindy pick ups, committee meetings and new client meetings, oh and with a cute dress and bit of sparkle for dates with my girlfriends

  28. This is a lovely wrap/poncho and I would wear it over my work dresses/outfits, with jeans and a top during the day, or over an evening outfit as a bit more dressy. I bought the shrug from last year’s capsule and love it, but I would like something a bit bigger and black would go with everything in my wardrobe.

  29. Love, love, love a poncho! I have been wearing them for years and have even crocheted my own!
    When I spotted this gorgeous one on Nikki I went straight to Motto and gave them my email to join and to get more information about what else they had to offer.
    The leather and tassel caught my eye on this poncho and it would be perfect to dress up and down for school.
    I am an Assistant Principal and there are times when I need to look formal and other times when I’m outside with my class doing PE.
    This would be a perfect addition for my work wardrobe, as well as for my weekends away from school.
    For school I would mix and match with straight legged dress pants as well as my midi skirts. On a PE/sport day the poncho would be great with a pointe pant. Jeans would also look great with it and would give a relaxed look, which would be absolutely perfect for my weekend.
    This spunky poncho would definitely be a well worn, well loved and welcomed piece in my wardrobe!

  30. I live in Wellington so would wear this often as an outer layer with jeans or ponte pants – all layers are very welcome here as we head into winter!

  31. This would be great for school in the desert. Gets pretty cold here but classrooms are to warm. Would also be a fabulous addition for a trip to Hong Kong in July. Planes are always freezing but this looks like it would be a superb travel companion.

  32. I would wear this gorgeous poncho with my black ponte pants a staple this winter and white linen shirt with a spencer underneath of course

  33. I’d wear this poncho with confidence, and with everything, literally – what a versatile simply wearable garment, wrap, poncho, blanket, cardi, sweater and more!

  34. I would wear this over a black/white striped top, paired with black slim trousers. (For added warmth, a spencer-style arrangement under the striped top.) On my feet I would wear short black boots. Cold weather and style problems solved!

  35. I can imagine using this for breastfeeding, it will give me privacy and it’s very fashionable. It’s a multi-tasker.

  36. We live on the Great Dividing Range which gets rather chilly in late autumn and winter. A poncho would add a touch of panache to any outfit… most often with jeans, boots and top (and probably jumper!), with one side of the poncho thrown over one shoulder. All the girls in town would be jealous .. :). Of course, then I’d get home, it would be even cooler as the sun would be going down and with have one fire in the house and no other heater … so I would change into my PJs and put the poncho back on. Far more stylish than my dressing gown! Farmer Piper would think he’d got a new wife!!

  37. Being a ‘cold frog’ I would love this as an extra layer for all my outfits. Dressed up or dressed down. But particularly I love the idea of having this to wear with my special outfits when at an event and the air conditioning is too high. It is the one time I really struggle with the right thing to put over my outfit, without taking away from it.

  38. From footy training arvo’s to game days, food shopping to splurging one’s self, dressed up for din dins, dressed down for casual weekend’s…wearing this lovely Motto piece I’ll never wear a frown, I love me a multi functional piece that can go from day to night at the flick of an outfit!

  39. I love this classic poncho. I get too warm with thick jackets and cardi’s, so this poncho would be exactly what I would need. I’d wear with my jeans and shirt. Also it would be fantastic to cover up in the winter months as I walk from my car to the office, I think it’s perfect to wear at any time. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the comp.

  40. This is amazing !! One piece of clothing that you can reach for to take you anywhere, anytime. Would love to pack this beauty for Europe in Autumn ! It belongs in Paris !!

  41. How *wouldn’t* I wear this wrap over winter, is the question! I guess I wouldn’t wear it with my togs, and probably not with my active wear while out for a run/trot/stagger. I wouldn’t wear it to bed, either, but I’m pretty sure I’d toss it on over my pjs for a lazy school run…

    I would definitely wear it with jeans, leggings, a fab red dress that’s not easy to team with a warmer layer, and now I’m inspired by your skirt look, so that’s a definite possibility too. I could seriously have a lot of fun with this piece. And you had me at machine washable!

  42. I will be wearing this poncho every chance I get! The trim is sleek and elegant I may splash out for some sumptuous crushed velvet like the Siena as well.

  43. Love a poncho wrap over a check pencil skirt with tan boots and a crisp white shirt – Home & Country style! Also, the food at Montrachet is divine!

  44. My Motto miracle pants arrived in the mail this morning…yay!!! I’ve done the wardrobe edit and have all I need except…..this stylish poncho/wrap….Have lovely layers to wear underneath it for kids sport and travel….always on the look out for a layer to wear over ‘special’ dresses for occasions and evenings ….I think this is it!!

  45. Hi ,I am currently going through chemotherapy for breast cancer and I find I am hot one minute & cold then next . I also live in remote WA need need to go to the city for 6 weeks for Radiation . I love Motto , I have many pieces and I know that I would get so much wear from this beautiful poncho everyday and I won’t need to take so much clothing if I have this very versatile piece . Xxx

  46. I’m a big fan of a white shirt and jeans, this poncho would be a fantastic layering addition making the versatile base function further into the cold months. Then could also swap the jeans for ponte pants or skirt to give more of an edge to night outfit. Love the edge detail clean line on this poncho also, simple elegance.

  47. I’m also in Queensland and layers are a must! I would wear this over my new Ocelot print long sleeve top, ponte pants and to break up the dark colours, tan boots.

  48. I’m also in Queensland and layers are a must! I would wear this over my new Ocelot print long sleeve top, ponte pants and to break up the dark colours, tan boots

  49. I’d wear this for work. Moving from the car to the office then stepping put for lunch…Melbourne Weather is unpredictable!

  50. I’d love to wear this with black opaque tights, black boots and a slimline long-sleeve, knee-length dress (all the one colour). I’d wear the poncho over the top, with a wide black belt over it on the waist.

  51. I live in a really cold area – regularly minus 2 or 3 when I set out of a morning. After a hard frost we usually get a lovely sunny 15 or 16 degree day then by 4 pm it’s quickly dropping to 6 degrees on my way home. This lovely poncho would keep me warm through all the temperature variations but is still light enough to tuck away in my bag during the day.What a versatile addition to my wardrobe!

  52. I’m about to head overseas for a holiday….this Motto York woolly poncho would be ideal from on the plane to sightseeing to dinners out. I’m loving how versatile this poncho is and it would be awesome to win this beautiful piece of clothing. xx

  53. Their are so many ways I would wear this gorgeous Motto poncho, out with the girls for lunch/movie or a night out to a show/dinner also at a friends for a barbeque this list is endless, but at the moment my son plays mens soccer at night and instead of wrapping myself up in a blanket I would be so cosy and stylish in my Motto poncho! 🙂

  54. Oh this Motto poncho is perfect for me! I work in Waste and Resource Recovery and my meetings take me anywhere from corporate high rise offices to basements to field Service depots to environment centers and everything in between so I’m in and out of aircon, the sun, the wind from 6am to 6pm so I experience the full variation of Brisbane’s temps and weather!! I like to surprise people showing up in stylish outfits because they expect the waste lady to be wearing tradie workwear haha! Everyone notices and asks me about my outfits!
    I’m a big scarf wearer but this poncho would take it to the next level. I’d team this beautiful leather trim poncho with soft leather boots, Lycra tights and a Country Road wool mini skirt that has the same leather trim ( I know!!!) with one of my Cue fine merino knit tops in variety of colours, or could easily poncho layer over my stretch knit body con dresses or skinny leg pants. Lots of options!!

  55. This poncho would be ideal for travelling throughout the seasons anywhere. It will be worn to and from airports, I can see me popping it in my tote at the airport as I find airports so hot- why do they need us to be sweating so much getting to the gate??? But on the plane out comes the poncho as it is always freezing and then off again when I land at the airport and then on again when I get outside. Gotta look the part in my poncho and sunnies for the pesky paparazzi shots….

  56. Perfect weekend sport – wear over ponte pants, a light knit & long boots. And then during the week layered over workwear (love that tango skirt btw!) for the commute & dash out at lunch. And then over a sparkly top to keep the chill off for drinks with the girls at a nice little wine bar. Basically, it would be one of those items I reach for every time!

  57. Love a poncho or wrap I live in them in winter,I hate being cold so ponchos and wraps keep me warm on our freezing frosty mornings.
    Love the evening look Nikki Xx

  58. Love, love, love this divine Motto poncho! What a great versatile piece. It would take me from my sons’ rugby matches teamed with skinny jeans, long sleeved t & boots to a night at the theatre over my favourite LBD.

  59. This would be perfect for the many dance lesson taxi provider drop offs and pick ups I need to do – I can wear my comfy clothes and throw this on to look dressed up from the waist up when driving – that’s a winning piece of clothing!!!

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