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Fashionable capes: 3 things you need to know

Woman in black pants and white sherpa cape and matching gloves


What kinds of fall outerwear currently sit in your closet? A leather jacket, a rain coat, a trench? What about a fashion cape? You might think this garment is too flashy or formal for everyday use, but times are changing, and capes are quickly becoming a cold-weather must-have. Here are three things you need to know about this versatile piece of apparel:

1. Capes are a classic way to shake up your look

The iconic trench coat is a staple of fall fashion. Women’s versions with flared hips and a belt show off your beautiful curves. Capes don’t have the same form-fitting look, but they’re somehow just as feminine and classic. This makes them a great way to change up your silhouette during the cold months without looking messy. Add variety by trading each piece of outerwear for the other on occasion, or get the best of both worlds by wearing a cape with trench elements included.

Party Plaid Cape

2. Capes have a long, fashionable history

“French designer Paul Poiret made capes fashionable.”

It’s difficult to pinpoint when the first cape was created. They’ve appeared in images from numerous cultures across the ages. However, they first became fuel for the runways in 1910, according to Vogue Italia. The fashion magazine credits Paul Poiret, a French designer who rose to prominence at the turn of the 20th century, with bringing capes to the public eye.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Poiret was known as “Le Magnifique” in France and “The King of Fashion” in the U.S. His memoir “My First Fifty Years” – alternately titled “The King of Fashion” – described the outfit that brought him fame: a mantle (which is a cape-like garment) made of black tulle over black taffeta created for the actress Rejane. She wore the mantle in a play named “Zaza,” shaping the way Poiret would market his future creations.

A fashion cape made of black tulle and taffeta is perhaps too theatrical for your closet, but you can evoke the spirit of Poiret with smart detailing or accessories. Pair your outerwear with a patterned scarf or multistrand jewelry to add details perfect for a woman on stage.

Sherpa Cape

3. Capes pull your outfit together

Capes are such large, dramatic fall outerwear that they can’t help but serve as your outfit’s primary focal point. Therefore, you don’t need to add a lot of patterns or accessories – just let the cape speak for itself. If done well, the garment will bring together your clothes, purse, shoes and other items together for a complete look that still embodies your unique style.

So how should you wear a cape? If it comes with deep pockets, leave your purse at home. Going bagless evokes a sort of freedom, showing you off as a modern woman who paves her own way and is hindered by nothing and no one.

If a purse is unavoidable, choose a satchel over a crossbody bag. The latter will be awkward to carry and restrict your arms’ range of motion.

As for the clothes you wear, fashion capes look good with anything, not just formal outfits. Go for a classy date night look by pairing your coat with your little black dress. This way, you can show off your gorgeous legs while still keeping warm on a chilly night. You can also wear your cape open over a white T-shirt and jeans to dress up an otherwise casual outfit . Finish with knee-high boots for a fun daytime autumn look that still has a touch of class.

If you haven’t yet bought yourself a cape, now is the time. This piece of outerwear is classic, eye-catching and a great way to add variety to your closet.

Ombre Wrap

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Published on Sep 22 2017

Last Updated on Oct 05 2018

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