How to Wear a Cape | A Retro Guide to Fall Outerwear Style

Recently it has come to my attention that I own a lot of capes. I’d never really thought about it until I was tagged on Facebook by someone seeking to answer the question: how does one wear or style capes in a more modern way? And, while my fashion sense may not exactly be considered modern, I have worn capes in a lot of ways over the years in ways that don’t feel outdated or just plain weird. So I thought I’d put together a few of these looks with capes in the hopes that perhaps you’ll be inspired to wear a cape and channel your inner Jane Eyre on the Moors.

This post includes affiliate links. If you shop through my blog, I may receive a small commission which goes to help support me! Thank you!
Outfit1 Similar cape

This knitted maroon cape is by far the cape I have worn the most throughout the years. It can be styled in many different ways (as you will soon see!) but for those of you craving a more modern take on a cape, I thought I’d start out with this striped dress outfit. Especially as the weather cools down, this is a great way to wear a cape and transition from summer to fall. Pop on a striped tee shirt dress, some strappy heels, a knitted cape, and you’re good to go! (imagine this outfit, but with jeans and a striped tee instead – also cute, right?)


Similar Cape in suiting fabric

For a little more of a vintage look, I have also paired this cape with a pink tulle skirt. I loved how delicate and fairytale this outfit appeared with the star print tights, the retro gray heels, and a simple black tee. Adding small details to it with my needlepoint purse and vintage brooch really pulled this entire look together. I sort of regret getting rid of this skirt now, looking back at how cute this outfit was!
Plaid-5-1 Similar plaid capes here, here, and here, and here’s the same one in red, and same one in blue with a matching hat!

Arguably one of my coolest capes, this vintage red plaid cape is reversible (and below you can see the other side!) This may be one of my ultimate favorite fall outfits. This Penelope Vintage skirt is one I have in every single color and it gets a lot of remixing in my wardrobe. If you’re looking for a tried-and-true staple (with pockets!) I highly recommend this one! Paired with a black tee, black tights, and tan booties and topped with this fantastic cape, I can’t think of a better way to twirl into cooler weather!

Lady-V-Snow-White-14-of-39 The same cape here

For a much more fairytale-inspired look, I paired the plain red side of this reversible vintage cape with a brocade-print black and white dress from Lady V London, some black and white oxford heels, red tights, and a red hair scarf. If you’re into spooky season, this is a great way to dress a little bit creepy, a little bit retro, and a little bit pinup while going about your day-to-day business. Don’t forget to add a poison apple brooch for a nod to Snow White!
Final-9  Similar cape here, here, and here

I’ve never been able to find a similar cape to this amazing knitted blue and red heart print cape I bought from Bread and Roses Vintage, but a similar look can be created with this vintage knit plaid cape, a red floral skirt, and some knee high boots! Or, for a more fall color scheme, the above linked heart-knitted cape with a maroon Penelope Vintage skirt could do the trick! Adding a grape brooch and some signature tights is a great way to inject personality.

Collage-310 Similar cape here, here, and here

While this particular garment isn’t exactly a cape (and I’m not 100% sure what to call it!) it is still a great way to get that cape-inspired look without being too over the top. A cream skirt and brown boots play into the autumnal vibes, and basic black tights and a black shirt (again, do you see where my general cape-styling base is?) make this an easy grab-and-go outfit.
LindyBop-Halloween-x2-7-of-81 Similar cape here, here, and here

This green plaid cape, I’ve styled two ways. First, as you see, is this overtly pumpkin-full outfit with a cute pumpkin-print dress from Lindy Bop, a classic straw hat, and my favorite knee-high Breckelles boots. I loved how vintage-autumn this outfit was, especially with my red hair (I might have to go back to that!) and the cutest little garden wheelbarrow brooch!

38 The second way I styled this cape is far more casual, but equally as ready for fall! A mustard yellow top brings out the earthy tones of the cape, and skinny jeans tucked into tall boots keep you warm on cool fall days. I especially love belting this particular cape, as it has a little more of a round shape when left undone and I wanted to show off my waist. Add a pop of maroon in the earrings and cowl neck scarf, and your look is complete!
46317263544_46080b4d4f_o Similar cape here, here, and here

For something a bit different, a vintage fur cape adds an extra layer of warmth! I highly advocate always purchasing secondhand vintage furs (you can read more about my stance in this post), and preserving a bit of history. This particular cape was given to me from a friend’s grandma, and on a snowy outing it provided ample warmth over my fall-leaf print dress, green tights, and oxford booties! A cute beret keeps your head warm and stylish all at once.

22 Simlar cape here, here, and here

If you really want to make a statement, wearing a long navy blue cape isn’t as hard as it might seem! Throwing on a polka dot skirt and a matching-but-contrasting top with polka dots in a larger scale may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure is fun! Keeping the color scheme in the navy makes this outfit more wearable and less costume-like, and adding neutral heels and a belt ties it all together.
46350142584_ac1e6f13fc_o And if all else fails, just throw on your best princess dress, sparkly  brooch, snowflake earrings, and a vintage hat, and go full on ice queen. After all, aren’t capes a little bit fairytale, a little bit practical, and all about creating the perfect bit of drama?

Which outfit inspires you the most? Do you wear capes? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Comments Off on How to Wear a Cape | A Retro Guide to Fall Outerwear Style