We Should All Be Wearing Capes

We Should All Be Wearing Capes

Fashion is entering its cape era, and so am I. Normalize capes!

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Photo: Getty Images

It’s only August, but the Taylor Swift-anointed month will combust into a kaleidoscope of shattered summer dreams before we know it—leaving the fury of back-to-school sales the only thing to pick up the pieces of having wasted another summer not vacationing in Europe. But, this fall, there’s only one item I’m counting on to soak up my tears: a cape.

What? Why?! Now? Where? You?!? Yes. Since the beginning of the year, capes have been gliding across runways, posing on red carpets, and presenting at award ceremonies. Beyoncé wore a cape to the Oscars. Big Freedia wore a metallic one to the BET Awards. I wore one for Halloween as Snow White when I was 5, and honestly, things have been downhill ever since.

Capes are the younger, wilder sister of the cloak. They’re the hip, older cousin of the long-trained dress. They transcend time and space and culture. No matter where you are—the DMV, your local Chili’s, a bus to the Jersey Shore—if you’re wearing a cape, you’re on top of the world. With the Earth beneath you and the heavens above, you’re something more powerful than a superhero or a queen/king: You’re someone who gives no fucks and bears absolutely zero responsibility to anyone.

The fanciful back fabric is one of the few, if not the only, item of clothing that appeals to both the rich and the niche-hobby-enthusiast. If you’re a royal or a celeb, you probably have a cape. If you prefer blood to food, the 15th-century to the current century, or pulling a string of colorful scarves out of your sleeve to literally anything else, then you definitely have a cape. (No judgment!) Unfortunately for the rest of us, we don’t yet have a socially acceptable culture of capes. And it’s time for that change.

We’ve let gauchos return. (Again!) We’re making bikinis out of tape. We’ve taken fanny packs off our hips and needlessly draped them across our bodies. We let Yeezy call himself a creative fashion business genius for making a big, black t-shirt. We’ve already proven ourselves ready to take capes mainstream.

I’ve compiled this slideshow with all the proof, inspiration, and anticipation you could ever need to confidently wear a cape this fall. So get in losers. It’s time to wear a fucking cape.

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Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad

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Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Hello, doctor? Yes, I’m sick. Sick of being boring as fucking hell and ready to wear this emerald cape.

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Brie Larson

Brie Larson

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Photo: Laurent Viteur/Getty Images

Swap out the gold sparkly crop top—or don’t!—for a casual white t-shirt and you’ve got yourself an ideal ensemble to take your dog for a walk in the park. Or your partner. Or leave them both at home and head to the airport. Get a one-way ticket. Get upgraded to first class. Meet a hot, rich suitor. Pick a new name. Start a new life. You’re a cape girl now. And you deserve it.

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Elie Saab

Elie Saab

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Photo: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

You’re on the left. Your friend’s on the right. You’re the absolute star of the farmer’s market on this brisk Sunday morning. Your friend is keeping her eyes shut because she’s deeply bummed she wore stupid long sleeves instead of a gorgeous cape—so you’re helping to guide her through the stands of apple cider and butter lettuce. You’re an icon and a good friend.

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Anna Wintour

Anna Wintour

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Photo: Getty Images

A cape is a flawless choice to hide the bumps on your back when your wings fell off. Get it? Because the devil is a fallen angel? And Anna is the inspiration for The Devil Wears Prada? Moving on!

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Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli

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Photo: Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Picture this: You hear an odd scuttering sound coming from your living room. Fuck. It’s a cockroach. Before you scream and cry and set your apartment on fire, you return to your bedroom and throw on your curtain or bed ruffle as a cape. Immediately, you’re transformed from a dumb human shaking at the sight of something 1/10,000 of your size into a heavenly being tasked with escorting this bug into its next life. A sweatshirt could never.

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Billy Porter

Billy Porter

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Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Not a lot of people talked about this, but Billy Porter actually wasn’t scheduled to present at the 2022 Grammys. He threw on this electric pink cape after the red carpet, and producers said, “Oh my God, get up on that stage.”

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Denisa Palsha

Denisa Palsha

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Photo: Getty Images

Admittedly, I had to Google this woman. (She’s a fashion influencer in Paris.) And influenced I am! This ASOS-looking caped one piece will have me Emily in Paris-ing my way through France the second my bank account recovers from all the capes I’m going to buy.

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Gemma Chan

Gemma Chan

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Photo: Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images

This is giving huge “I hate garlic” and “I love to sleep all day” vibes. So if you lean more Edward Cullen than Jessica Stanley, this cape looks like it’d do a pretty great job of protecting you from any sharp wooden stakes. Please drink responsibly.

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Rick Owens

Rick Owens

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Photo: Peter White/Getty Images

The ideal cape for when you want to be noticed...but not seen.

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Alicia Keyes

Alicia Keyes

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Photo: Gotham/Getty Images

Honestly, Keyes played it safe here—you could go even further than just bejeweling the NYC skyline on your cape. Bejewel that whole break-up e-mail from your ex, their address, even their HBO password. The opportunities for revenge innovation here are endless!

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Yuima Nakazato

Yuima Nakazato

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Photo: Estrop/Getty Images

This look is a wonderful reminder that anything can be a cape. Wherever you are right now, take a look around—what do you see? Maybe a beach towel? Perhaps a broken plastic chair or a fallen tree branch? If Yuima Nakazato can fashion pool noodles into a cape and call it couture, you can tape together all those McDonald’s bags sitting in your trash can and call it your main character moment.

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Simone Ashley

Simone Ashley

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Photo: Joe Maher/Getty Images

Look at this stare, this strut, this glance over the shoulder that says “you’re not wearing a cape? Sucks to suck.” You’ll never have to wait another minute for anything in your life in this cape.

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Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

Queen Máxima of the Netherlands

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Photo: Getty Images

This woman knows how to wear a goddamn cape without looking like some stuffy, stuck-up royal who thinks if a cape doesn’t weigh 600 pounds and isn’t made of velvet, then it’s not regal enough. (Yes, everyone in the British royal family: I am looking at you.)

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Tommy Dorfman

Tommy Dorfman

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Photo: Gotham/GC Images (Getty Images)

Dorfman was photographed wearing this on the Lower East Side in April, which is exactly the kind of mainstream cape-wearing vibe for which I am advocating.

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Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi

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Photo: Getty Images

This royal blue work of fabric art is definitely veering into cloak territory, but that’s ok! If your cloak tells you it feels more like a cape, you should listen.

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Matty Bovan

Matty Bovan

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Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFC; Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Image

This is what I called the “cupcape.” Frost yourself! Add sprinkles!

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Jessica Wang

Jessica Wang

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Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage

This draped, beaded cape screams “pay me more.” Wear it to work. Wear it to a meeting with your boss. Wear it to a meeting with HR. You’ll thank me.

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Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh

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Photo: Getty Images

You’ll never be able to be everything everywhere all at once, but with a cape, you can at least be something better than you are right now.

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Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille

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Photo: Peter White/Getty Images

This cape knows exactly what it is: a gift to us all.

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