Ever since I went on a Jack The Ripper Tour* while in London visiting a friend, I’ve developed a curiosity about cloaks and capes (which I will from now in use interchangeably in this post). Now don’t get me wrong, normally I’m all for bright colors and anything but the typical gray, but something about a cape being a dark color doesn’t seem to rub me as much the wrong way as a typical coat. In my opinion, capes are due to make a comeback. In fact, they haven’t been this sexy since Little Red Riding hood. Furthermore, Emma Watson didn’t hurt their rep much either!
So why is it that you barely see capes outside of the Renaissance Fair? I don’t get it. Fashion and function people. A 2-for-1 Special like none other! I could make the same argument for the Muff, but that’s an entirely different post all together (you’ve been warned)!
Capes have been around for hundreds of years. Historically, ladies and gentlemen frequently use the cloak as a fashion statement, or to protect the fine fabrics of evening wear from the elements, especially where a coat would crush, or worse, hide the garment**. Today, men and women are
wearing them as a fashion statement as well as to protect the fine fabrics of evening wear from the elements. What’s that? Nothing has changed you say? Well, this isn’t brain surgery after all, and we’re not reinventing the wheel! This could easily become a NY Necessity, especially with the weather flipping back and forth deciding if it wants to stay warm or not. Protect your clothes (and your look) until you arrive where you’re going. Felt that wind out there today? Well, I did….until my body went numb.
Being on the cutting edge of style in 1580, the cape came in many different styles. One particularly interesting style was called the Inverness cape and was is a type of formal overcoat, with long open sleeves worn by men. The style is actually still worn today by Scottish Bagpipers and is being brought back into the fashion eye with the ever ahead of his time Alexander McQueen.
Luckily, I see glimpses of hope out there with the increased spotting of capes and cloaks being warn on an everyday basis (mostly by fashionable young ladies or classy cougars). Just recently, an actress named Gwyneth Paltrow (you may not of heard of her), stepped out at the Academy awards in a stunning Tom Ford one shoulder dress complete with cape. I guess she got the memo! As for the future celebrities and current trendsetters, ladies like Jessica are making capes look good while staying warm.
Contrary to what I said before (I often like to contradict myself, so feel free to call me out on it) capes are not just coming in boring and dull colors. Just as the design, size, and shape of a cloak can vary, so can the range of fabrics that can be used to create them. I personally wouldn’t hesitate to rock the Sherlock Holmes look. Wouldn’t look to bad with a nice hat and a good pipe (just for show…..like fake glasses). If you’re really adventurous, go ahead and throw on the cape by House of Holland. It’s sure to keep you protected while showing off that outfit underneath!
So get out there and cloak it up! Don’t be afraid to add a cane if you so feel the urge. I just might!
*It was actually the Harry Potter Films, but JTR gives better street cred. (The tour is amazing though!)