Batman, Evil Kenevil and Anna Wintour all had one thing in common (besides an impeccable sense of style.) They all wore capes on the regular and it absolutely worked in their favor. Besides being an absolutely bold sartorial statement (see Gwyneth Paltrow’s 2012 Tom Ford Oscar dress) it connotes a unique sense of power.
So much so that Wall Street Journal writer Michelle Raiz even posed the question, “Wearing Your Coat Like a Cape: The Ultimate Female Power Move?”
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OK so yes it may work better for women than men (unless you work in the magic industry, spend your days fighting bulls or are an actual superhero) but why in particular is this half coat hybrid so darn chic and yet at the same time connotes a strong sense of audacity, as recently exhibited by “it” girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the State of the Union?
Well, first of all, argues Raiz, it kind of gives a formal turned up nose to a regular coat as if to say “I’m above sleeves. They are for unoriginal people.” Of course, this also means you are throwing caution to the wind when it comes to the temperature which during this time of year may, in fact, be a very chilly wind.
The look also says, “I am cold but I still want you to see my amazing dress or pants ensemble.” Perhaps it is a direct affront to our overly air-conditioned offices? Women are saying they will not wrap themselves in a sweater that could double as a snuggie but instead have figured out a way to stay (somewhat) warm while also making a fashion statement. In fact, the word cape means derives from ex cappa, Latin for “to escape,” giving off a bit of a cunning and standoffish vibe (that’s definitely what Supergirl was going for.) Arielle who works in finance in Manhattan told Ladders, “I caped a lot in the summer the temperature in my office was unpredictable. And when I did it I felt powerful and fashionable.”
Plus, unlike a coat your body is able to move more freely as it is not constrained by pesky sleeves (are coats the corsets of the 21st century and we didn’t even know?) Nancy Deihl, director of the costume studies MA program at New York University, told Fashion Magazine, Celtic women actually wore capes centuries ago to so they could have their arms free.
Finally, Raiz points out that it takes a certain type of woman to actually wear a cape successfully as you have to have great, confident posture to pull it off and balance it on your shoulders. It’s simply another way to show off your skills. I mean Rizzo from Grease did it with her jacket and if she’s not the epitome of cool than who is?
So consider a cape jacket or just draping a coat over your shoulders for your next big meeting. It’s a show stopper. And if you have to save the world later, you’ve got the right outfit for it.
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