I’ve been tracking the popularity of capes, cloaks and ponchos since the late summer, and have compiled a large collection of photographs that I had hoped to include with the content of this blog post.* Vogue magazine documents this trend in its December 2010 issue, which features the following photo spread that will serve to illustrate my comments.
Capes, cloaks and ponchos (for ease of reference, I’ll use the shorthand reference “capes” for all of these) are outerwear, of course, and are often worn accompanied by scarves, sometimes also by gloves and hats. The neckline of the cape and how it is combined with scarves will largely determine whether a necklace can be seen and also whether it has the potential for getting tangled up in the garments. Of the various images on the page, only the vintage Jean-Louis Scherrer grey cape seen on Sabrina Marshall, upper right, as worn without a scarf, lends itself to the addition of a necklace of a short or long length. Either length would work well, and will repeat the curved neckline of the cape. Should Marshall add a scarf, however, a necklace would be superfluous.
Earrings potentially present a similar issue if the cape is worn with a scarf, as dangling earrings present a potential for getting tangled. Use the detail of the cape to determine the optimal size and scale earrings. In the Vogue photo montage, only Natalia Vodianova wearing a grey tweed Stella McCartney cape, lower left, is shown wearing earrings. Her small drop earrings pick up the fine detail of the tweed. Should Natalie Portman wearing Salvatore Ferragamo, center top, or Raquel Zimmermann in Yves Saint Laurent, upper left, choose earrings, they might look to the size and scale of the buttons adorning their capes as well as the relatively large collars on the garments to select more substantial earrings.
Bracelets or wristwatches can provide a striking adornment worn with a cape, particularly when the wearer’s arms extend out beyond the body of the cape as is typical of these styles. To coordinate with the thick, warm fabrics of which capes are constructed, generally avoid bracelets that are too delicate in appearance. A bracelet or watch should be substantial enough to add visual interest to an ensemble.
Although none of the photographs in Vogue depict the cape worn with one or more brooches, don’t forget that these too can be attractive adornments on a cape. While the Ferragamo and Yves Saint Laurent capes are too detailed to provide a good background for a brooch, any of the other capes on the page could be made more intriguing with the addition of a brooch. As in the case of a bracelet, choose a brooch that is substantial enough to be appropriate to the weight of the fabric on which it is pinned. A cluster of brooches may provide another attractive alternative.
Finally, one or more chunky rings can provide an interesting addition to an ensemble with a cape. In this case, the determining factor may be the wearing of gloves or mittens. If you intend to remove your rings to accommodate kid gloves, for instance, be sure to carry with you individual soft pouches for each of the rings to be temporarily removed and stashed while the gloves are worn.
To give you an idea of the pervasiveness of the trend and the variety of styles of capes, here is another photo montage, this one from Lucky magazine dating back to September 2010. Although there is nary an item of jewelry to be found on any of the women modeling the capes, that is no reason to bypass adornment. Consider how beautifully a pendant necklace or cuff bracelet might accent the Stella McCartney ensemble shown bottom right, or how a brooch and bold earrings would add pizzazz to the style shown top left.
*Alas, Dell Computer has failed to come through for me, having initially shipped me the wrong part for my inoperable computer and then inexplicably delaying the shipment of the correct part for the PC, which has been waiting in the shop for over two weeks. I am advised that a new part will arrive on Friday; whether it will resolve the power supply issue for my computer, I can only hope.
I wish to include a shout-out to my friend, jewelry public relations consultant Wendy Pratt of Pratt Public Relations in the neighboring community of Redondo Beach, California, who has repeatedly and most generously allowed me not only the use of her scanner and computer (which provided me the means by which to include images with my last several blog posts), but also more than a few minutes of her time to allow me to vent. Thank you, Wendy!