This Season’s Polished Alternative to Jackets

Capes are making a statement. And no, not the kind that come on superheroes. I’m talking an effortless, polished alternative to jackets that embrace the crisp winter season. They’re so versatile, even celebrities like Jennifer Lopez have been spotted wearing them on the red carpet. Fashion designer J’Amy Tarr shared expert tips on how to rock them as every-day wear.

Related Content: 3 Local Scarves to Rock this Winter

Casual Cool

For those looking to lounge or stay local during the weekend—consider a cape your new sidekick. “Skinny jeans offset the volume of the piece, so pick a wash that corresponds to the color of the cape.” Slip-on shoes, mules or ballet flats are comfy-but-cool footwear options. As for the top, Tarr suggested a jersey shirt with a handful of layered mixed-length necklaces. “For a casual movie night or dinner with girlfriends, simply switch out the top for a silk camisole or shell.”

Savvy Executive

This outerwear chameleon can be worn to nearly any function—even the office. The goal is to create a clean silhouette. “Throw the cape over your suit blazer for a layered yet still polished executive look for work. Remember to pair a sleek, streamlined style cape with your suits.” Though you may be busy, avoid letting your outfit give off the same vibe by steering clear of chunky, over-embellished capes.

Cultured Sophisticate


image: claudia goetzelmann

Flaunt a belt with your cape to create an elevated, refined look that’s ready to go the distance. Capes that have double welt arm-holes are especially pleasing to style. Tarr recommended sliding the belt through each arm-hole and wrapping it around the body on the inside of the piece. “This effect will pull the belt closer to the body in the front while creating a trapeze silhouette in the back.” Belt options are endless—a sleek belt creates a minimalistic look while a flashier statement belt brings the drama.

Polished Posh

Opt to wear a cape with a black dress to achieve ultimate splendor. Tarr suggested getting creative with the fabric of the dress and adjusting your look according to the season—silk for summer and cashmere knit for chillier months. “The cape can be in a neutral tone to showcase other parts of your outfit, like shoes, accessories or make-up. Alternatively, make the cape the star and keep everything else neutral. Wear opaque tights and a stacked heel bootie or pump with your cape.” Best part is, the cape can be dressed up or down, for a holiday party or a boardroom meeting.

Edge It Up

Whether you’re going to a concert or show, the cape can be fashioned with rock and roll appeal. “For an edgier vibe, wear stretch leather leggings, over-the-knee boots (leather or suede), graphic print jersey tee and a statement ring.” You can even add a wide brim fedora hat, but Tarr recommended that it have a streamlined, structured silhouette, that way it doesn’t detract attention away from your outfit.