The Great Cape Escape







By Michelle Crowe



Jane Birkin, cape champion, photographed by Jeanloup Sieff


A chill in the early morning air always feels refreshing after the hot summer months and it also means that soon my favorite topper can come out of the cedar closet for another fall/winter/spring rotation.

It’s a simple black cashmere poncho and it “erases everything” as the venerable fashion editor Polly Mellen is known to say.

A woman in a cape, wrap or poncho always looks wonderfully put-together, even if she’s just thrown it on over a pair of her comfiest pants.


Reversible Vintage Check Cashmere Wool Poncho at Burberry


From the fox fur-trimmed double-faced wool versions our beloved ladies who lunch favor to the edgier versions in sporty fleece and jersey favored by the sports moms clutching Starbucks cups on the sidelines, these versatile pieces are must-haves.

They are a staple at Burberry. The British house always offers a selection that makes it difficult to choose just one.


Valentino Haute Couture Spring 2017


Claire Waight Keller often included capes in her collections for Chloe. The fluid shapes suited the sort of musical festival, dappled sunlight free-spirited looks she was known for during her years at the house.


Dior, Fall 2017


Of course, one needn’t choose a designer version and it’s best to choose one that’s not too distinctive because you’ll reach for this piece time and time again. It’s a wearable security blanket and instant chicifier in one. With a sleek cape, poncho or wrap, a tube of lipstick and a pair of sunglasses a city girl can rule the world.

My own black beauty has been in rotation for years and years. Its friend, the white leopard print fine wale corduroy cape, has made only one appearance while this workhorse is called into duty at least once a week from mid-September through March. I’ll never part with either though. Perhaps I’ll shake things up at football games this fall and wear the leopard instead.


Crew, checked cape scarf. Sure to be a classic