Wearing a cape doesn’t have to reek of Superwoman — although wearing one should make you feel quite powerful. Who wouldn’t while wearing a garment that not only keeps you warm, but looks trendy and is super comfortable, too? We’d never turn down the chance to try out a new trend that’s basically the equivalent of wearing a blanket out in public.
But if you’ve never worn a cape before, you might be wondering how it’s going to fit in with your current wardrobe. The quick answer: easily. No, really, there are primarily three main cape silhouettes and one style will surely work with your regular day-to-day ensembles.
The Traditional Cape
A raised collar, a closure at the neck and open arm holes are the standard features of a traditional cape. This is a great transitional piece for fall because it provides warmth without a lot of bulk. It’s a sophisticated alternative to say, a puffy vest, which also just provides warmth to your body but not so much to your arms.
How to wear it:
Do: Wear your cape over slim-fit sweaters and tops.
Don’t: Wear your cape over bulky knits or loose-sleeved tops. There should be a definite contrast between the bell shape of your cape and whatever you’re wearing underneath.
Do: Wear it with work wear like button-ups and pencil skirts.
Don’t: Wear over billowy, flowy dresses. You want to keep your silhouette clean and tailored.
The Cardigan Cape
Whether made of a soft knit or a more structured fabric, the cardigan cape is really more like a blanket than a garment. It is a rectangular piece of fabric that’s open in the front like a cardigan and hangs over your shoulders. This is a great layering piece because it drapes beautifully and adds softness to any outfit. Also, its longer length is accentuated by the open front and will help elongate your silhouette, making you appear taller.
How to wear it:
Do: Layer your cardigan cape over a more tailored coat. Pair it with a fitted leather jacket for a contrasting-sleeve effect.
Don’t: Layer a cape over a puffer coat of any kind. You don’t want to add bulk to your silhouette.
Do: Belt your cardigan cape to add structure and define your waist.
Don’t: Wear your cape over too many other layers. For instance, a cardigan cape shouldn’t be worn over another cardigan, over a T-shirt, etc.
The Poncho Cape
The poncho cape is similar to the cardigan cape except that it isn’t open in the front. You pull it on over your head like a sweater and the loose fabric allows for lots of movement. This is a good style for all body types because it glides over the body and the volume of the poncho helps conceal any features that you may not be happy with.
How to wear it:
Do: Make your poncho your daily coat. It looks great with jeans, dress pants and tailored skirts.
Don’t: Layer a poncho over bulky layers. The silhouette is too loose and voluminous. Like the traditional cape, keep your layers underneath sleek.
Do: Depending on the length, do wear your poncho cape over a lightweight structured coat. Like the cardigan cape, ponchos often come in soft fabrications. They’re like a giant scarf with a hole for your head. This is a great way to add longevity to a fall coat when temperatures get a bit more wintry.
Don’t: Try to belt a poncho that’s heavier than a slim knit. Too much fabric inside your belt will be uncomfortable and will add bulk to your waist.