Photo: Getty Images
Sure, capes do have their downside. The sleeveless, coat alternatives tend to severely limit their wearers’ upper-body mobility. While this shortcoming might not have appeared to trouble nineteenth century ladies who sported capes all over the pages of our history books and Jane Austen novels, we metro-riding, laptop toting, gym-bag carrying modern women rely on our arms, and not just up to the elbow!
Still, a number of advantages cause us to question whether the cape just might be worth the sacrifice. In addition to being sartorially unique, the cape is surprisingly versatile. Tossed over jeans or leggings it serves as a casual wrap, while layered over a dress (especially one with fanciful flourishes that benefit from a little breathing room) it becomes a fine substitute for a bulky parka on a chilly night out. Paired with some cute menswear accessories, the cape becomes a refreshing addition to an office ensemble. The wrap-like effect, though at times inconvenient, ultimately serves its purpose as well, trapping heat to keep the wearer warmer than a traditional coat in the same way mittens are toastier than gloves. Our verdict? Let Mr. Darcy carry your purse for you and embrace the cape.