My Caped Crusade (this one’s for Lisa B!)

I recently got a terrific comment from Lisa (who runs a fantastic blog that you should totally check out) in response to the post about investing in trends:

I have been seeing a lot of commercials that show women in capes. I have always been a little unsure about this. While I appreciate the body forgiveness of a cape, I also can’t help but think of Ugly Betty when I see one. Are there good capes/bad capes? Sweater-style capes vs. coat-style? Belted? So confused! Please help, Deb! :)

Lisa captured my thoughts perfectly. The idea of wearing what is essentially a blanket with a neck hole is extremely appealing. We (the universal We of Women) spend so much time talking about Spanx and skinny jeans, that the prospect of wearing something that guarantees that we won’t have to suck in our gut all day, AND can be considered in style and on trend is pretty hard to ignore. I’ve imagined the perfect cape in my mind’s eye, which is cropped at the hip, camel colored, with a Burberry lining and one of those belts that you can only see from the front. I went to the Burberry website to see if they had read my mind, and they had not.

So I went to the Factoria Nordstrom Rack and tried on every single cape in the store. Seattle peeps know that this is the most glamorous Nordstrom Rack in the Factoria area. It’s next door to a DSW and a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Can anyone say Date Night? So I dragged my husband with me. He found the entire escapeade (intentionally misspelled for obvious reasons) to be vaguely redonk, but he married me so it’s too late for him to start thinking about stuff like that now.

Here’s what I learned:

  • It’s confusing to put on a garment that doesn’t have arm holes. There were several occasions that I put the cape on sideways. I think it would be easier if I had a butler who walked up behind me and placed the cape on my shoulders.
  • The longer it was, the less foxy my husband found it to be.  So don’t wear a cape if you are single and trying to snag a fella.
  • There are WAY more sweater styles at Nordstrom Rack than outer wear styles. Racks and racks of sweater capes. One poorly stocked rack of outer wear styles.
  • Be wary of capes that have little tiny wrist holes near the waist. The cape may go to your butt when your hands are by your side, but it becomes a boob tube if you raise your hands over your head. This warning should particularly be heeded by kids in middle school.
  • Sizing is strange. Everything that I tried on was a medium. Would it have made a difference to wear a small or a large? I doubt it. It’s all a bunch of blankets with arm holes. I guess wear whatever size you normally would wear in a sweater?

My verdict: I like the short chunky knit ones in solid colors. I hate the giant flimsy ones that go to mid-thigh. I felt about as wide as a movie screen in those, and not nearly as cozy as I had anticipated. The outer wear styles are actually quite chic, and I like the idea of something warm that will fit over a big sweater without choking out my armpits. I didn’t find one of those that I liked. Here’s what I did find, though!

Grey cape-like sillhouette

Watch out for those waist-level wrist holes! Want it? Joie brand for $110

This is basically a blanket. Rejected. But if you insist: Willow and Clay, $50

I actually really like this one. It might end up on my Christmas list. Design History, $50

The sleeves put it into the category of "Cape-like". Does it count? 360 Sweater $60

the woman behind me immediately tried this on after I took it off. I had the exact same cape when I was in the 3rd grade. I should buy this and wear it to the Muppet Movie. I kind of love it, but I don't trust my motivations. Olivia Sky, $30

No. Nope. Olivia Sky $30

Ready to take flight.

it's a bird, it's a plane! Remain $50

This one had my favorite shape. Longer up front and shorter on the sides made me feel a little longer and leaner. Photographs well (imho) but it's 100% acrylic and the buttons were cheap looking. Saaaad Faaaace. JJ Basics $20

Weigh in, folks! Are capes on your Christmas list?

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About dhanamura

When I was ten years old, I owned a mustard yellow sequined dress that I got at a garage sale. I stuffed it with rolled tube socks so that I would look more glamorous. That year I also got my first bottle of Chanel No. 5. I felt beautiful in my room, in that dress, smelling like Chanel. What you wear matters. It makes you feel things... or helps you to express things you already feel. Your feet aren't firmly planted on the ground, they are crammed into a pair of shoes. Love those shoes, or take them off.

8 responses to “My Caped Crusade (this one’s for Lisa B!)

  1. Love, love, love! You are right about Factoria, but really should come check out Southcenter’s. It’s next to a Kohls and DSW, so I think it wins 🙂 I must go shopping now for a cape! Bravo to Bruce for the mad photo skillz (and the bravery)… wish there was a boob tube pic though! Thanks for answering my question!

  2. Morgan Graham

    I literally laughed out loud on the pose with your Sherlock Holmes cape on. All you needed was a pipe. (It was also reminiscent of the bird of paradise mating dance on Planet Earth… http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/files/2010/12/Six_wired_bird_of_paradise.jpg)

    I actually came across this the other day http://shop.vans.com/catalog/Vans/en_US/style/ofp.html?categoryId=91112 and semi-loved it (yes, I was at vans.com… my sister gets half off!). But they consider it a poncho… wonder how the designers distinguish between poncho and cape? Demographic maybe?

    • dhanamura

      OMG – you are right. I DO look like one of those mating birds. Didn’t Oprah narrate that? All roads lead to Oprah! I would have to see that poncho in action – it looks sort of like a blanket. it could be the perfect sick day outfit? Go try it on and take a picture for me to look at. It exceeds the limits of my imagination. I CAN imagine discounts, though. Lurv those!

  3. i do love the green Design History one but I have a feeling that bigger busted women would have an issue with this style. The Olivia Sky is my favorite because it looks warm and cozy, fashionable and not ridiculous… like THIS one:
    http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/american-rag-plus-size-coat-batwing-sleeve-cape?ID=615352&PseudoCat=se-xx-xx-xx.esn_results

    I mean, if they photograph it with ears…

    I like the outerwear ones. This one, in red:
    http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/steve-madden-coat-long-sleeve-belted-cape?ID=603763&PseudoCat=se-xx-xx-xx.esn_results

    But I like anything with those flared sleeves. I’m like a witch… casting a spell on you…

    • dhanamura

      Design History + Boobs – that is an excellent point. The last thing a cape should do is feel restrictive, and if you are blessed with an ample bosom, it might make sense to go with something swingier… In that case, it’s all the more important to wear something that shows your figure a bit, which is why I love your selections. The ears worn w/ the Macy’s batwing cape… holy crap. Just… no. Why did they style it that way? But the cape is cute. I like it when they show your body and let us have that magic combination of cozy roominess and defined waistedness. The red Steve Madden cape is cute, but it also has me wondering if it is a cape, or just has bell sleeves on a coat. I think I need to do some research so that I can have a more definitive understanding of what is a cape vs. what is cape-like.

  4. Chris

    I’ve read enough comic books to know those aren’t capes they’re ponchos.

    See, poncho = http://www.tcf.ua.edu/Classes/Jbutler/T577/Students/ppd1.jpg

    And, cap = http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l88kdsYDA51qce9ueo1_500.jpg

    Let me know if you need anymore fashion pointers.

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