Translate the look dressing challenge: Wearing a jacket as a cape

by Sylvia

Wearing a jacket as a cape over your shoulders

Over the past few weeks I have seen more and more women wearing their jackets as capes. Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow wore her famous Tom Ford cape to the Oscars last year this look has become increasingly popular.

The jacket over shoulders look was present on the Fall 2013 runways as well with Hermes showing it in their collection, while Victoria Beckham designed a jacket that looks very much like a cape.


Wendy from Wendy’s Lookbook recently sported one as well as Nina Garcia.

Jeannie Mai also wore her jacket this way during Singapore’s recent fashion week. And not just temporarily as you may expect. No, she wore it the whole evening even presenting a whole show segment with the jacket draped over her shoulders.

I’m not sure how I feel about this look. It does not look that comfortable to me and to me it looks a bit ‘temporary’. At the same time it looks relaxed / sporty and modern. I’d like to hear and see what you think of it!

Translate the look!

So why not make it the challenge for this week? Let’s try and translate the above looks and wear our jackets as capes. If this is not your thing, perhaps try it for 15 minutes  or so, take a photo and see how it feels. Of course you are free to wear your jacket the normal way the rest of the day.

But who knows? Perhaps it feels and looks great. Fashion is all about having fun and trying out new things, so it think it will be great fun to give this look a try.

How to translate  this look

  • Pick any jacket and wear it as a cape over your top
  • You can also pick a cardigan if that appeals to you more
  • You can stick to the black and white looks as shown above, but you can also use any other color combinations.
  • If you have a ‘real’ cape, then by all means wear that!

Of course I will join in this challenge as well and report back to you what this new-to-me look felt like.

How to enter

It’s easy to enter. Just use any of these methods to get your photos to me.

Upload your look to the forum

Ideally you will upload your look into the style forum in the dressing challenge section. It would be great if you can take pictures of yourself showing your look. You could even upload several pictures where you show yourself experimenting with your looks. Don’t worry about how ‘good’ the images are. You could even use your iphone. It would be great though if you could follow some basic instructions for uploading images to the forum.

Share a collage

If you don’t like to show photos of yourself you could also create a collage of your interpretation of the look. You can easily do this with Polyvore. You can then post a link to your look in the style forum as well or in a comment below.

Pin your favorite translated looks on Pinterest and share the links

Are you on Pinterest? Then you can also share the looks you find with us. These could be your own or those of others. Go to the forum thread and share the links to the pins! You can also post them in a comment below.

Share your ideas on how you would translate this look in the comments

No time to create images, but you have some ideas on how to translate this look for yourself? Share it with us in the comments below or on the special thread in the forum.

Send it through email

If all that fails you can email your interpretations to sylvia [at]

When to submit?

You will only get one week until next Friday evening 15 November to submit your entries. Then, shortly after that I will show you some of my interpretations of the look together with all your best ideas and submissions as well as ideas where you can buy the looks online.

Have fun everyone experimenting with this new look. I look forward to seeing your interpretations and ideas on the site soon!

What do you think about this look? Are you going to give it a go?


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rebecca

Sylvia, I am so far behind the times because I don’t know how to post photos and also still have a flip phone!!!! I love looking at how others wear all these styles and intend to learn how to participate more fully.


2 Sylvia

That would be great Rebecca!


3 Suzanne

I am friendly with an editor who had a whole team that traveled to all 4 recent S/S14 fashion weeks. We kept in touch each day and I got to “know” the photographer shooting the street style outfits. We discussed the photos she posted each night and at the end of the month we decided the biggest “street trend” in all 4 countries was the motorcycle jacket worn over the shoulders of every kind of outfit you could imagine. I love it! I have seen girls do this with a long coat too but it is the tough leather jacket that won my heart. It is a “naughty but nice” look. It the rocker chic coming out. If I was able to attend that gala this weekend I was going to wear my motorcycle jacket like a cape over my long gown. I think it would been an amazing entrance! I enjoy shaking things up a little. 🙂 I am for this 100%. A big yay from me!
Here is something else my editor friends have taught me – runways are a “show”. Designers are presenting an idea and outrageous looks get the press but most things are revised by the time they are worn by a real person – even a star on the red carpet. The true test of what comes out of a season is what shows up on the street. So when the F/W14 runway shows take place in February, pay attention to what the people on the street are wearing. That will tell you what the trends are better than anything else.


4 Sylvia

Yes that would have been a fun and interesting combination! Very true Suzanne, street style is where it’s at!


5 33

I am a bit tired of seeing this cape look on every fashionista. It’s been going on for a couple of years. This is also why clutches and hand held bags are so in. How can you use a shoulder/hobo bag wearing your jacekt/coat as a cape?

Personally it is not for me. I always drop my jacket/coat to the ground if I don’t wear it property. So I either wear a jacke or I don’t.

I think the point I am trying to make is that just because they all do it doesn’t mean the I have to follow suit. In this case, I am not adopting this look no matter how “chic” it looks on all other women.

BTW, I also don’t tie my cardi/plaid shirt/jean jacket/sweater around my hip.


6 Sylvia

I haven’t seen it so much here, but that is basically because we hardly wear coats or jackets.. I’m not sure it’s for me too, but I will give it a try in the spirit of this challenge. You certainly don’t have to follow suit. I totally agree that you just have to pick and choose the trends you want to incorporate into your style.


7 Lisa

I do this all the time at restaurants that are too cold — draping a sweater or jacket over my shoulders. But intentionally as a fashion statement it would only work if you aren’t carrying anything which I almost always am.


8 Sylvia

Yes true, that is another practical problem.


9 Greetje Kamminga

Sorry, my practical Dutch nature is against this. I am with 33: I either wear the jacket or I don’t. This is a silly trend for me. It must come from wearing mens’ clothes I suppose. When they are so big it looks better when you wear them as a cape.
I have enough trouble walking on high heels. Don’t need another item to worry about though admittedly it looks nice. And I can understand that a bicker jacket worn over the shoulders of an evening gown will look stunning. But most likely equally stunning worn like a jacket is normally worn.


10 Sylvia

I can totally understand; I feel the same way. Are you still going to give it a (short) go though? The whole point about these challenges is to do something different. Even things that we think are crazy. Perhaps try if for 15 minutes, take some pictures, and report back to how it felt. That is what I’m going to do also….


11 33

I went thru my street photo collection again on this jacket as cape trend and kind of realize another factor for its popularity. It makes layering look less fattening. Imagine wearing 3, 4 layers under your outerwear. your arms (especially upper arms) can look a bit sausage-y (stuffed). If you drape the outerwear of your many other layers, the outerwear will give out a smoother line thus looks sharper and less fattening.

Also agree with Greetje on the men’s wear angle. If a jacket or coat is oversized, it sure can look a bit sloppy unless you are 6′ tall and 110lb. After I lost a bunch of weight I could not wear many of my suit jackets because they just look so ill-fitting.

Like Lisa, I remember draping my coat/jacket/cardi over my shoulders in a restaurant or theatre that’s a bit too drafty. It’s more function over style, totally unintentional.

At the end of the day, a gal has to feel natural and beautiful in her outfits and style. If not, she would look ill at ease and self conscious. The same mini skirt on one gal can be totally chic and cool in a nonchalant way while constantly being tugged and pulled on another gal who’s self-conscious about her exposed thigh.


12 Sylvia

All good points. I will still give it a go and report back on how it feels!


13 Kim

I can understand why people would be iffy about this trend – you’re not using your sleeves’ main function! Unfortunately, blazers do not fit most body types and require either a tailor to fix the problem or an alternative way of wearing this sort of clothing. I’m very petite and whenever I try on a blazer, I am always overwhelmed by how much extra fabric is left over. I feel bulky instead of slim and in order to create that structured and fitting appearance, I drape the blazer over my shoulders. I don’t own a lot of blazers because of this reason, but I am going to work in a rather professional field that requires this apparel so wearing blazers or other types of jackets can prove quite useful for some people having the same problem as I did.


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