Monday, March 2, 2015

Cape Town

When I buy something online, I always like to read the reviews first.  They can tip you off to mistakes waiting to happen.  But most reviews I find, are quite positive.  Best of all, some of them are well-written - even engrossing, and like a good salesman, they have the power to make me feel better about plunking down my money.
Years ago, a local magazine advertised woolen capes for sale on their back pages.  Included with the pictures of the capes were endorsements, née reviews, from women who had bought the capes.  Every month, new reviews would appear and I loved what these cape patrons had to say.  One woman wore her red cape to church on Easter Sunday and the minister stopped to compliment her on his way to the pulpit.  Before too long, I wanted one.
I never did buy a cape from the purveyor in the magazine but one day while poking around an Irish wool shop, I spotted two very pretty ones, a black one with fur trim and a caramel-colored one with a detachable collar.  I tried each on and undecided, bought them both.  It was a splurge but seventeen years later, my capes are still serving me. 
Capes make wonderful early spring outerwear.  In New England, most women are ready to burn their coats in winter's effigy around March 1st but there is still plenty of cold weather left.  Capes bring a whimsical, carefree (and cozy) element without the bulk of a puffy down coat or tiresome lint-ridden black wool jacket.  Wearing a cape instantly gives off airy romanticism.  They are very chic but like hats, one must be brave to wear one.  It will draw attention - others will wish that they too, could pull it off.  Or so I've been told.  Over and over.  For seventeen years.
I am lucky to have a cape that belonged to my grandmother in my collection.  It's a rich brown and tan Harris tweed with leather trim.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was bought it in the 60's after the movie The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was released.  Maggie Smith resurrected the cape in that film and it had a little heyday.  Some great capes from then can still be found in vintage clothing shops.  And what's more, they are often in great condition because, well...some women are just not brave.


  1. I love capes so much and I need to find one to buy. When I was in college I had a navy blue cape with red tartan trim, and I remember walking through my Midwestern campus in the autumn with the leaves swirling around my feet - I wore Lauder's "Beautiful" perfume and I felt so glamorous. Thanks for the inspiration! (off to search ebay) :)

  2. I once ran across a full-length, hooded, black velvet cape in a shop at such a ridiculously low price that I could not resist it. I've only worn it once - to a Halloween party - and my normal wardrobe consists of jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters. Yet the cape continues to hang in my closet. I simply can't let go of the idea that someday I might be that woman, the one who needs a long, black velvet cape.

  3. I had a red cape when I was 5 years old, I thought I was "Super Man"

  4. "Downton Abbey" must be THE absolute favorite of yours, Donna. I think most of us have tired of the Bates-Anna debacle but Lord have mercy...would you have wanted to miss Mary's arrival at the prison in that gorgeous portrait hat and ruby red coat, a coat with such fine detail that it was as pretty in back as it was in front? I record Downton and watch each episode several times because there is no way you can catch everything with the first viewing...the understated jewelry, the delicate hair decorations, finely detailed feminine dresses, furnishings, gardens, impeccable men's suits...even the horse-drawn wagons that took them grouse hunting. The photography is breathtakingly beautiful.

  5. You are so right! I agree - I need to see each episode at least twice to catch it all. Hope you are doing well.