If you’re someone who doesn’t like ponte fabric I have to wonder what is wrong with you.  No, really, what is wrong with you?  All kidding aside (It really doesn’t bother me how you feel), ponte fabric is one of the friendliest, most forgiving and comfortable fabrics around for any woman who has to dress up in a way that looks like she cares about what she looks like.  I mean, sure, living in yoga pants and pajama bottoms may be a life goal for some, but we all know how unrealistic that is unless you have zero responsibilities in life.

Of course, there is a good chance that you have been a ponte fabric fan without even knowing it.  You may be walking around enjoying fabric that offers comfortable stretch and tailors beautifully without realizing there is a name for the fabric.  Ponte (pronounced pon-tee) is a double-knit interlock fabric, it is stable and firm, yet retains all of the flexibility and softness of a typical jersey.  This is what makes ponte so desirable, you get the comfort of stretch in a more structured and streamlined look.  Ponte is also beefy, making it not only perfect for minimizing body flaws but structured enough to hug the body without showing every lump and bump.

How to Wear Ponte Fabric

Ponte (also known as Ponte di Roma) was originally rough polyester fabric most often used as 1970’s uniform fabric (ew, gross), but today is seen as a versatile fabric with a fabric content usually of polyester, rayon and elastic.  I have also seen ponte fabrics with wool content.  But it’s not just fabric content that makes ponte ponte.  Ponte is a stable double knit which means that the fabric is created with two needles on two needle beds making the fabric not only durable and stable but reversible.

When ponte made a comeback it was primarily in pants.  It was a time when everyone was wearing leggings and women needed a beefier, sturdier fabric alternative to thin jersey knits.  Since then ponte has shown up in just about every silhouette imaginable, and it makes sense.  In a time when women aren’t interested in sacrificing comfort, ponte has come to the rescue to give us a structured alternative that also moves and stretches as we do.

Below I have put together five looks using five different ponte pieces and also invite you to shop at the end of this post for more options.

Outfit #1


The first ponte piece I am featuring is this blazer from Boden.  How perfect is a ponte blazer?  Blazers without any stretch can be terribly uncomfortable and ponte allows more range of motion, particularly in the shoulders, across the bicep part of the arm and the cross back of the body, which is the upper back of the body.

I styled this ponte blazer with a stretch cotton shirt from BOSS Hugo BOSS and relaxed straight leg pants from Theory.  I finished the outfit with a plaid scarf from Bp. Nordstrom, Bella Vita block heel pumps, burgundy bag from Urban Elements and soft blue earrings from Monica Vinader.

Outfit #2


Next, a ponte dress, like this sheath from BOSS Hugo Boss.  If having one timeless LBD in your closet is a must, consider a ponte style.  Not only will it be a structured and forgiving dress, considering sheaths can be very form fitting, this beefy stretch provide some comfort.  Ponte isn’t just good for sheaths, however, having a nice drape, ponte can work well in many dress styles.

I styled the BOSS sheath with a cropped jacket from Akris Punto and finished the outfit with a pair of red pumps from Calvin Klein, Prada tote and simple drop earrings from Ippolita.

Outfit #3


In this outfit I am styling a ponte skirt from Halogen to show how this fabric can work as a skirt.  Like a ponte dress, many skirt silhouettes can work also work well in ponte.  In a-lines, ponte can help retain the shape of the skirt and in pencils, it is a fabric that can offer a streamlined and structured look while providing comfortable stretch.

I styled the skirt with an ivory sweater from Vince and finished the look with a pair of weatherproof cognac pair of Aquatalia boots, bag from Kurt Geiger and scarf from Prana.

Outfit #4


Ponte pants are like leggings for adults.  Let’s face it, we all reach an age where it’s just weird to walk around in thin leggings that provide zero support, look cheap and thin and wear out in a matter of months, particularly if you want to wear them to work.  Ponte also typically has great recovery, which means the fabric bounces back into shape after being worn.  If you hate it when your pants bag out in the stress points, like the knees and thighs, consider ponte for silhouette retention.

I styled these ponte pants from Uniqlo with a tunic sweater from Eileen Fisher and finished the look with grey booties from Born, a yellow bag from Hobo and teardrop earrings from Halogen.

Outfit #5


Likely the least popular and most overlooked silhouette is the ponte top, likely because ponte can be beefy and too structured for some.  However, before you overlook it as an option, there are some merits to the ponte top.  First, a ponte top is structured and minimizing, which can be great for those with a tummy or have lumps and bumps they wish to camouflage.  Second, due to their more tailored nature, ponte tops can look finished without a finishing components.  If you want to look more professional but don’t need to wear a jacket a ponte top can look like an office appropriate top on its own.

I styled this yellow ponte top from Boden with a pair of wide cropped pants from J. Crew, a pair of loafer mules from Cole Haan, bag from Louise et Cie and gold hoop earrings from Ann Taylor.

Shop for ponte

Ready to add ponte to your wardrobe?  Check out these additional styles.