That was the questuion recently on Ravelry.
My answer is one of bear's sanitary needs in the wilderness. Recently I finished a little tunic dress for Littlest and showed it to the knit night ladies. They were shocked that it was not a shawl.
At which point, I pointwd out that the tunic dress was in fact a shawl.
It started with just a few stitches, increasing 4 stitches on every row.
It incorporated a delicate lace pattern to extend the yarn...remember lace uses about 30 percent less yarn than stockinette.
It ended with an edging that has points.
It's not my fault if she wears it like a dress...
So do you shawl?