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How to: Jacket as Cape

Style Feb 19, 2013

Like it or not there’s no doubt that by now you’ll have seen hoards of people wearing their jackets as capes. If you saw even a few of the streetstyle pics from the last couple of weeks at fashion month you’ll know that it’s a trend that’s alive and kicking. Most likely started by magazine editors a few years ago, shoulder caping has an amazing way of making a person seem nonchalant to the point of not needing arm holes (or even arms for that matter!), but in reality wearing your jacket as a cape involves being anything but nonchalant – it’s actually pretty damn hard work. So if you plan on wearing your jacket as a cape in the near future (the whole short suit trend that’s hitting hard in spring is sure to tempt you), here are a few thoughts – mainly learnt through trial and (a lot of) error on my part. Big thanks to Jess for perfectly illustrating how to wear your jacket as a cape!

Shoulder Span: From experience, one of the major issues you have when wearing your jacket as a cape is that it has a tendency to fall off your shoulders when you raise your arms ie to wave or hail a cab. When choosing the perfect coat for caping, in my experience a wide and well structured shoulder span is much easier to wear (and keep on). Fighting over a cab in rush hour is soooo much harder when your favourite vintage jacket is lying on the sidewalk…

Clutch it: From experience the best bags to use when wearing your jacket as a cape are clutches, otherwise where to hang the strap of your tote bag becomes a major issue – been there done that. Get it wrong and you usually have to wrap the strap of your bag around your hand and end up having it drag on the ground (or is that just me?).

Proportions: Because capes, and indeed jackets worn as capes, can overwhelm your shape (unless you’re six ft tall), for me wearing a slim fitting style on the bottom half of an outfit can give a clean line and proportion, sort of essential when throwing on a bulky coat-cum-cape.

Birds of a feather: Shouldn’t flock together. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that too many jackets as capes amongst a groups of friends can look like (fingers crossed) french Vogue editor dress ups or (more likely) amateur superhero hour. If you arrive at a party and notice that six of your friends are wearing coats as capes (true story), you may want to draw straws as to who has to wear theirs normally. Or not. This is fashion after all and as they say, more is more, right?

Accept the fact: That some people just won’t like it or get it. And move swiftly on (whilst trying not to pump your arms too much lest your cape fall off).

What are your thoughts? Are you down with jacket caping?

Images: Harper’s Bazaar,, Song of Style, Tuula Vintage


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