Is it possible to wear a cape without feeling like a bit of an idiot? With winter practically here*, I’ve been thinking about swishing around London on my bike, wearing a giant tweedy cape, looking all care-free and stylish.
*Okay, I know August isn’t even over but it feels like the end of September – rainy, windy, and miserable. They’ve even opened the Christmas shop at Selfridges!
It’s a bit of an unlikely image for several reason, the main one being that I am a massive wimp about cycling in the rain and cold (the rain screws my eyes up!). But this year I’m determined to conquer my fear.
The problem is that cycling gear is totally ugly – there are far too many excessive toggles, zips, and shiny reflective logos. Plus most of these jackets have zips under the armpits which is just too far out for me. I want the outer-wear equivalent of my Kanken rucksack – pleasingly plain looking.
That’s why I’ve been thinking about sewing myself a big cape. But I’m slightly worried about looking like a home-made superhero.
I have massive love for this ridiculous Burberry Prorsum cape. It’s so pretty! But also totally impractical. For 800 quid, you get something that covers your upper body to just below the elbows. Very useful.
This Sonia Rykiel one is more like it, and it’s a relative bargain (ahem) at £500. Although I can’t see myself cycling in 6 inch heels.
I think the key is to steer clear of anything that has the slightest whiff of the evil word ‘poncho’.
The best-looking commercial pattern I’ve found is New Look 6658. Not sure about the pointy collar though, so I’d have to either re-shape it or make the collarless version.
The other option would be to go vintage, but be careful out there – there are some seriously scary looking cape patterns to be found. While searching Etsy I came across a bridal cape (for your Lord of the Rings themed wedding), a medieval monk cape (for all the Cadfael fans out there), a Brooke Shields meets Little Red Riding Hood cape, and some terrifying crochet capes for radioactive babies.
I did find this stylish Vogue pattern, although the model appears to be wearing her hair over her cycling helmet, which is one way to look stylish I suppose.
This 60s double-breasted one is great as well. Love the matching trousers and the little loafers.
However with my sewing track record (extremely slow) I will probably finish a cape just in time for next August and an unprecedented heat-wave across the UK.