Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Great esCAPE

1960's Cape Coat Pattern Photo

((Click on photos for larger images))

Fall/Winter 2010 is upon us and it is my belief that everyone should try to step outside their fashion comfort zone and purchase (or re-use if you have it) at least one piece that may feel like a risk and be and/or become an investment piece for your fashion future. You could make a great esCAPE from your everyday conservative dressing and try a cape, caplet coat, cloak or some newly crafted version of a poncho for fall.

The origin of capes & cloaks can be traced back to the Romans & Scots who used a primitive version of this garment to protect them from the elements. They were also called Mantles. The shapes, length and definitions have also evolved over the years with several variations of virtually the same garment. The word Cloak comes from the Latin word “clocca” and unlike it’s cousin the cape, it is always full length (or mid calf) and usually has a hood. A Cape can be defined as a sleeveless outer garment fastened at the throat and worn hanging over the shoulders. It comes in various lengths but generally appears a cropped version of it’s cloaked cousin.

Several high-end fashion houses have shown capes for fall 2010 including Chloe, Celine, Derek Lam, Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Yves Saint Laurent. Check your vintage retailers and/or consignment shops for vintage versions of the cape/cloak. I have even seen re-designed knit poncho sweaters at Old Navy this season.




I live on the Central coast of California and have to say that the cape, cloak, or caplet coat is a great on trend choice here based solely on the weather and environment. Although it is “Fall/Winter” one does not require a full length winter wool jacket or what Coasters refer to as “going to the snow” attire. With a cape you get coverage front and back but your arms are bear to reveal the chic sleeves of the outfit you have on underneath or the cute cuff you are sporting.

If you do in fact live in the east where you will expect to see snow and plunging temperatures the cape is still a chic option for the pre-snow fall paired with a long sleeved top, turtleneck or fitted knit.

3.1 PHILLIP LIM Mohair Cape - PHOTO: US VOGUE August 2010

How to plan your great esCAPE:

1)For a flattering silhouette wear a cape with skinny jeans/pants, pencil skirt, fitted dress or long fitted skirt. The contrast between the fitted look with the layered cape is beautiful not bulky.

2) Opt for a cape that reflects your individual personality and style sensibilities. Grab a military inspired cape, go boho with a fringed poncho or knit cape, or explore Vintage glam with a faux fur caplet coat for evening. Make your own style statement.

3) Choose a cut and color that is complimentary to your body type. Women of all shapes and sizes can embrace this trend. For example: choose a thin material in a camel, grey or black to create a slimming silhouette. Petite ladies can wear almost any cape with flair and the curvy girls should opt for something with structure (use a belt) with a shorter length.

4) JUST TRY IT! and above all have fun. Play dress up with a cape and dare to wear it to work or your next event.

Make your daily life your runway. Release your inner fashion super hero or SHE-ro and enjoy your great esCAPE.


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