There’s no escaping it. Fall is here. Yes it crept up on us and here in the Second City it’s somewhat short-lived, but look outside! Here we are currently living in that fall experience everyone loves: beautiful foliage and mild temperatures. It’s the perfect sweater weather without being too bundled up. On top of being able to enjoy a nice hayride or pumpkin patch, this idyllic weather allows for one of my favorite transition pieces: the cape! Yes, capes are not just for the beloved superheroes anymore, but have saved fashion’s day by making a major comeback as a go-to outerwear option.
The origin of the cape probably dates back to before historical records were even kept, however this particular article of clothing was recorded as a mainstay starting in medieval Europe. It was worn by both men and woman alike. Depending on wealth and social status it could have been adorned with jewels, beading or fringe. They were primarily worn as we wear coats now, to protect the wearer from the outside elements. Lengths varied throughout time and depending on the type of garment worn underneath and spanned all the way from just covering the shoulders to covering the body down to the ankle. Capes were also used by various military forces as rain protection in countries such as France, Germany and England. Some armies (including the United States) currently use them instead of coats when they are fashioned in their formal evening uniform.
Capes can be daunting and tricky to try but the key is just going for it! The easiest way to work this trend is to pair it with sleek and simple pieces underneath. You want to let the cape be the showstopper. Go with a thin knit, solid sweater or crisp button down woven shirt paired with a simple pencil skirt, understated skinny jeans or cigarette pants. If you want to kick it up a notch, throw on some elbow length leather gloves and classic pointy toe pumps or a statement bootie. Neutral colors pair well with this trend as it keeps the look chic and not costume-y. However if you want to go bold add one piece as your pop in a highly saturated seasonal color like red, green or cobalt.
1. Burberry Cotton Gabardine Trench Cape, $1,195
2. Vintage 60s-70s Crochet Cape Brown & Cream Striped, $39
3. Dsquared Fall 2014 RTW Collection, photo NYMag
4. Boss Hugo Boss Houndstooth Cape, $335
5. Vintage 1960’s Navy Wool Cape, $68
6. Rachel Zoe Regina Toggle Cape, $325
– Carmen Turner
Image Layout: Second City Style