A cape is a sleeveless outer garment that drapes the wearer’s back, arms, and chest, and fastens at the neck. Unlike cloaks, capes tend to be shorter and do not have a full-length closure. Historically, capes were common in medieval Europe for protection against the cold and the rain, and were considered a part of fashionable dress in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In contemporary fashion, capes are valued for both their style and functionality. They come in various lengths, from short capelets to full-length versions, and can be made from a wide range of materials, including wool, velvet, silk, and lightweight synthetics for different weather conditions and occasions.
Capes can be a statement piece in an outfit, offering a touch of drama, elegance, or whimsy. They are often used as an alternative to traditional coats or jackets, providing warmth and comfort while allowing more freedom of movement than sleeved outerwear. Capes can also feature additional elements like hoods, collars, or arm slits, enhancing their practicality and style.
In formal wear, capes are a popular choice for adding sophistication and flair to evening gowns and cocktail dresses. In everyday fashion, they offer a chic, effortless alternative to conventional outerwear, easily transitioning from day to night and complementing a wide range of styles.