February Fashion Week presented a bit of a challenge for those not directly involved in the Fashion Industry. The trends displayed on the Fall 2015 runways are challenging, and perhaps the most daunting of all is the humble cape. Traditionally associated with vintage allure, superhero couture, and now Madonna's BRIT Awards wardrobe-related tumble, the cape seems like a sartorial gamble no matter how the piece is styled. At best, the wearer will appear to have stepped off the pages of Vogue or out of an episode of Mad Men. At worst, trying to learn how to wear a cape can cause a fashion breakdown, making it appear you made the ill-advised decision to recycle parts of a Halloween costume.
However, the trend is very much in play for autumn, so it's time to set aside cape-related fears and embrace the fad like, well, a superhero. Capes are simply an elegant alternative to the average coat — and way, way cozier. Think of the cape as a way to hit refresh on your cold weather wardrobe and hit the snow in style instead of sporting your tattered fleece and threadbare scarf. Read on for fashion industry-approved ways to style a cape for 2015. Just make sure to keep your backup dancers at arms length, lest you pull a Madonna.
1. Play High-Low With Luxe Fabrics And Laid-Back Denim
Pixie Market Black Varsity Leather Cape, $74, lyst.com
The cape trend isn't solely for those who adopt ostentatious and incredibly formal ensembles on a daily basis. In fact, a cape rendered in rich leather or cashmere will appear even more avant-garde when paired with skinny jeans and a pair of pumps. The look works best when the color palette is neutral, but a pair of pop-of-color pumps will instantly amp up the ensemble
2. Break The Rules And Clash Patterns
H&M Textured Cape, $99, hm.com
Whether you adore a tweed-on-tweed look or find Fair Isle irresistible, the slight eccentricity of the cape trend allows for pattern clashing. Patterns in the same color family will play off each other better than a color wheel of neon hues. A caped ensemble should read more Kate Middleton than Superman, and nothing is quite as cringe-worthy an experimental look that could double as a Halloween costume. Try pairing earth-tone plaids, black and white chevron stripes, or grey tweed pieces.
3. Go Goth In An All-Black Ensemble
Goth is in for Fall 2015, haven't you heard? The simplest way to adopt a cape without making a sartorial misstep is to select a monochrome ensemble, and black happens to be both slimming and trendy. Keep your ensemble's proportions in check by pairing a more voluminous black cape with slim black trousers or skinny jeans, and pair the look with combat boots or pointy toe pumps, depending on your taste.
4. Throw A Cape Over Your Casual Friday Attire
Lavish Alice Collarless Cape Blazer, $100, us.asos.com
Despite its superhero connotations, a cape is simply a creative alternative to your winter puffer coat or windbreaker. If a laid-back ensemble feels too drab, an elegant coat is the perfect solution. Try a deeply hued cape over an oxford shirt and acid-wash jeans for a fashion-forward casual Friday ensemble or Sunday brunch.
5. Test Drive A Pop-Of-Color Cape Over A Neutral Ensemble
Though not for the faint of heart, a pop of color cape is an effortless manner of upping your sartorial game even when the majority of your wardrobe is beige and black. Steer clear of Little Red Riding Hood territory by taking the rest of your ensemble in an edgier direction with minimal accessories, a black or tan color palette, and utilitarian boots or pointy-toe heels.
6. Layer Over An LBD
Warehouse Leopard Print Cape, $56, us.asos.com
LBDs may be the mainstay of the modern closet, but in the dead of winter the style can feel slightly drab. Instead of reaching for a statement necklace, rock a printed capelet like Masters Of Sex star Lizzy Caplan, who matched her peep-toe sandals to her white, leaf-patterned topper.
Images: Getty Images; Courtesy Brands