What is the history behind this seemingly simple piece of clothing draped over the shoulders to offer protection without the complexity of sleeves? How long has this garment been around, and what was its original purpose? Pinpointing its origins is challenging due to the paucity of documentation.

In the early days of the Renaissance, capes were attached to women's collars and later evolved into dignified attire. For instance, Queen Elizabeth I was noted for wearing long, ornate capes to shield her shoes from getting wet. During the Victorian era, capes became more in vogue among women than men, often appearing in scarlet red and the iconic hooded cardinal cape worn by esteemed women. They became so widespread that they were incorporated into bridal ensembles and became an integral part of the well-known story of Little Red Riding Hood.

The cape as a fashion statement changed with the contributions of various tailors, such as the French fashion designer Paul Poiret, who revolutionized it with vibrant, ethnic-inspired designs. The fashion houses of Paris influenced the global fashion scene in the early post-war era, and capes became a crucial element of a complete outfit, serving as a sophisticated way to safeguard evening gowns when heading out or as a simple everyday attire paired with a skirt or pants.

Since then, the functionality of capes has remained consistent, but the evolution lies in the materials used, such as water-repellent cotton, and the innovative ways of incorporating the essence of capes into new garments, like dresses.

Below you can find six examples of that: a blazer with a cape effect, two different styles of dresses that have a cape approach, and three classic and chic versions of the cape, one for evening occasions, one for daily use and one for both.


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