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Above: Jessica Choay Fall/Winter 2016-17.
Trend-wise the cape may not be new, but it is persistent. It graced the fall / winter 2016-17 runways and continues to blanket the backs of the street style elite. If you want to try it for yourself, here are four ways to wear the cape this season.
1. Layer It.
The best thing about the cape is that it fits over everything. No, really. You know in winter when you try and cram the sleeves of your extra-thick sweater into a coat and everything gets bunched up and too tight and you wish you had have bought the coat a size bigger after all? That doesn't happen with a cape. There are no sleeves. You can throw it over the bulkiest of layers and it will fit.
Above: Valentino Fall/Winter 2016-17.
The cape is also perfect for travelling because you can always resort to wearing (instead of packing) it. You can even resort to wearing multiple capes because — having established that they fit over anything, remember? — they also fit over each other. When your suitcase is overweight and you end up needing to turn yourself into a walking storage facility in order to get the rest of your clothes onto the plane in any way possible, there's no easier garment to wear on than a cape. Or three. You only need to get as far as your seat, after all, until you can start de-layering like a Russian babushka doll.
2. Belt It.
This season's capes tend towards tailored cuts, so you need not be too concerned that you'll end up cocooned in a shapeless swath of flapping fabric. Still, if you want to accentuate your waistline even further - or indeed give new life to last season's blanket-style cape - you can always add a belt.
Above: Pernille Teisbaek photographed by Style Du Monde.
3. Wear It As Eveningwear.
Evening dresses are always a bit of a problem in winter. They fare well inside heated rooms; but what about chilly theatres and draughty halls? And, of course, that dreaded expedition between the taxi and the venue?
Rather than throwing a jacket over your shoulders — a temporary solution that immobilises your arms — try an elegant cape. If it's beautiful enough you won't ever need to take it off. Your gown will still be visible underneath; and it won't ruin the lines of it.
Above: India Salvor Meneuz photographed by Style Du Monde.
Since velvet is a big trend this season, a plush velvet cape would be more than ideal for the nights. You might also try faux-fur, or a tailored wool cape with embroidered trim like the one pictured above.
4. Add Volume To A Skinny Silhouette.
If you're stuck in that eternal winter battle between warmth and style, the notion of throwing a huge blanket over your shoulders and calling it fashion probably sounds appealing. Actually it does sound appealing... Though maybe see point 2 above about adding a belt. Anyway, the other thing to note in such a circumstance is that you're better off balancing a voluminous top half with a streamlined or slim-cut bottom half. Think skinny jeans with a billowy cape, like the one pictured below.
Above: Alexa Chung photographed by College Vintage.
This serves two purposes. Firstly, the volume on top stands out more and creates a more interesting silhouette. Secondly, the flowy outerwear will soften up your skinny jeans and give you a way to feminize them during the coldest months.
Finally, if you're on the fence about investing in a beautifully-made cape because you're not sure how many seasons you'll get out of it, worry not. Stick with classic colors — black, navy, grey, khaki, camel or aubergine are all good options — and a cut that you feel comfortable in. Darth Vader quips aside, you'll appreciate it for years to come.