How to Style Your Cloak

by | Oct 30, 2020 | Costumes and Cloaks | 0 comments

How to Style Your Cloak

If you wish to incorporate your modern or medieval cloak into your everyday wardrobe, here some suggestions on how to style it to look contemporary and not like a costume. You’ve probably already realized you can’t pair it with items that are too casual. Instead, select garments from the more formal site of your wardrobe.

We’ve done several photoshoots with the cloaks now. Here is what we found works, but don’t feel limited by these ideas. Feel free to experiment on your own.

Boots or dramatic shoe

The length of the cloak emphasizes the footwear. Also, because the cloak has a large presence, a boot or other emphatic shoe balances it better. We’re tried lace up boots, suede boots, Doc Marten’s, etc. I believe most any boot will work, with some exceptions like perhaps cowboy boots. Heels, loafers, or wingtips will work well too, especially if they are stylish.

Hooded Black Cloak with Pockets

Contrasting mono-chromatic outfit

The cloak is a lot of fabric and will often dominate the outfit. Thus, we choose bold, bright contrasting colors.

Pattern works well

This bright plaid worked well too. I think one reason it does work is that the pattern is graphic.

How to Style Your Cloak

Subtle contrasting colors

We also used some subtle contrast that is typical of men’s wear, such as a dark red shirt with the black and brown cloak. And a black shirt with the red and green cloaks. Also, we found dark jeans work too.

Men's Cloak Brown

Add a bold accessory like a shawl, necklace, belt, or hat on top of the cloak.

Personally, I wouldn’t add more than one accessory, because I find a lot of accessories cancel each other out AND moreover make it look like you are wearing a costume. However, how much is the right amount depends on your style. For example, take the Louis Vuitton cape outfit in the photo below. The cape is monochromatic white with black trim, a black dress, white shoes and an elegant red and black belt. The belt accessory is more complex and breaks away from the simple elegance of all the other elements.

I hope we’ve given you some ideas for how to style your cloak for a day or evening adventure. Feel free to sent us a photo for Facebook or Instagram, assuming you are wearing one of our cloaks!

The 2020 – 2021 Everyday Cloak Trend

One distinct pleasure of my 2020 was discovering the s/TheCapeRevolution  The subreddit is devoted to sharing capes and cloaks people have made, bought, or admired.

How to Style Your Cloak

Everyday Cape seen at Louis Vuitton, Paris, December 2020

What’s an Everyday Cape Anyway?

One of the central discussions on the subreddit is about how “different” an everyday cape is from other everyday outerwear. Enthusiasts seem concerned about the cape being too different to wear everyday. Most of the capes people are trying out seem subtle like the one in the photos above and below. Neither seems likely to invite a lot of stares while providing a touch of the drama, mystery and romance to an outfit.

Everyday Cloaks

Who is Brave Enough to Wear an Everyday Cape?

Even a cape that masquerades as a more traditional item of clothing can draw attention. Not everyone is happy with drawing attention, positive or negative, and even if no one around them notices their cape, they can still feel uncomfortable wearing something they consider risky. The subreddit collects a large group of people who want to lead a revolution in fashion that removes the feeling that wearing a cape is risky – the Cape Revolution!

Meanwhile there are those that like the idea of drawing attention as a different, bold dresser. It comes down to personal choice and personality. More power to them! These are the folks that have the best chance of starting the revolution.

Everyday Cape

Paige Walsh @abbycomics on Instagram from October 2019.

Billy Porter Does Bold Beautifully

I look for opportunities to bring up celebrity actor Bill Porter. He might be a once-in-a-century bold dresser!! I also give him credit for contributing to the current cape and cloak trend.

Billy mixes traditionally women’s high fashion with men’s suiting. This combo looks different, but also elegant and stylish on him. See how he styled the outside of the cloak to match the color of embroidered suit. Also, take note of how his shirt, shoulders, pocket and shoes are the embellished items, while the surfaces are monochromatic. He pulls it off – and turns heads.

Billy Porter has access to first rate designers and tailors. This embroidered ensemble for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards apparently took 6 months to create.​

How To Style Your Cloak

Billy Porter in original outfit for 2019 Golden Globe Awards

My Personal Experience with Bold Outfits

As a college student, I wore a lot of bright-colored shirts with a neutral skirt or pants. Come to think of it, I still dress this way! I’d also sport a single color from head to toe. People would admire my colorful outfits, as well as my hats and scarves but say they couldn’t pull it off. They’d say it was fine for me because I dressed that way often.

One of the most unusual garments I owned at the time was a vintage A-line turquoise coat. It was bright! And I wore it as my coat on a trip to look at art schools on the East Coast.

Truthfully, sometimes I felt like a million bucks in that turquoise coat and sometimes I felt like I’d dropped in from another planet. It depended on the context as it felt cool around any artsy place, and little out-there around for non-artsy friends or an airport, for example.​ I guess I’m somewhere between the people who desire the attention dressing non-traditionally brings and those who want to wear what they like, but aren’t comfortable with the attention unusual fashion can bring. I managed it because I dressed with bright colors nearly every day so after a while people didn’t see the bright colors, they just saw… me!

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Like so much in life, we advance when we push ourselves past where we’re comfortable. If you want to dress boldly but are afraid, try it out in small amounts – “slow and steady” and all that. Enlist a friend to go with you to a costuming event, hold a costume party, or just go out with you in everyday capes.

Take it on in baby steps like other new endeavors. You may be fine making a bold statement by breaking out in your new fashion. Or maybe you’ll be more comfortable making small changes that become more bold over time. However it works for you, there is no reason for you not to be happy with your personal style.

Want a cape or cloak? Start making it or save for it. Look for hats you like. Keep building that dream wardrobe gradually so you have what you like when the opportunity comes along.

Be Bold If You Want To

We only go through this life once – so if you want to be bold, now’s the time: BE BOLD.

The secret to life success is getting out of your comfort zone! Trying new things, noting what works for you, and trying again. Improvement or change is often incremental and based on a mix of successes and failures.

Xo, Karen

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