Why the blanket cape is the must-have piece for winter
Generous-sized layers make for easy winter dressing
A guest (L) wearing a long red and black checked cape outside the Redemption show and model (RO) during the Christian Dior show. Both seen at Paris Fashion Week. Photograph: Claudio Lavenia/Pascal Le Segretain/ Getty Images
With the dark, wintry mornings making it nearly impossible to part from the warmth of your duvet, there’s a stay-warm style solution that will make getting dressed for the chill that bit easier.
Helping to bring you out of hibernation is the blankape (that’s a blanket cape for the uninitiated). And wearing one is as close as you can get to staying in bed all day, even when you have to elsewhere.
But before your mind starts to wander to the tartan rug lining the back seat of your car, we’re not advising you to step onto the streets in an actual blanket. Instead shifting from household textile to clothing, blanket capes are exactly what they sound like – a highly versatile piece of outerwear that is essentially a cape and blanket in one.
The beauty of the blanket cape is that it’s an easily removable layer to stay warm, inherently practical, it can be worn layered under, over or worn on it’s own. In this in-between winter weather, you can take a style cue from the fashion set and let your blankape sit under a light trench, artfully peek-a-booing and working as a jumper alternative. And when the weather finally turns cooler, you won’t make it redundant, instead wear it over chunky knits as another layer of protection.
But the ways to wear the chic cover-up doesn’t end there. From midi dresses to skirts and long boots, fine knit polos and trousers and knits and jeans, and everything in-between you’ll struggle to find an outfit the blanket cape can’t be shrugged on over. And that goes for post-winter too. If you’re making more considerate purchases this year, then the blanket cape is one to highly consider. A year-round layer, it can help ward off air-con chills in the office layered over chic blouses and sharp trousers, or come a travel partner on flights over light, gauzy summer dresses.
The oversized, throw on layer, offers a laid-back and effortless way of staying warm, but it needs to look more on the polished, cosy and sophisticated side and not veering towards shapeless and sloppy. You’ve a lot of fabric to play it with so the art of not looking totally swaddled is by opting for tonal, coordinated colours or vertical stripes. Wearing sleek, simple separates underneath will avoid adding to much bulk, so ensure that the rest of your outfit is pared back and fitted well. You can further off-set the generous-fit by harnessing your look with a belt. Not only will it give shape and definition to the voluminous silhouette but it also nods stylishly to the catwalks.
Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior, was the harbinger of the blanket trend, layering check versions over tulle dresses and topped off with coordinating bucket hats. More delicate versions of Chirui’s check incarnations were seen at Burberry, with pea coats updated with silky cape backs, and at Etro blankets came calf-length and adorned with fringe. Alexa Chung winter-proofed bohemian-style midi dresses with the addition of monochrome blankets swaddling the models.
Of course you don’t have to have one of the expensive designer versions to get the blankape look this winter, on the high-street blanket capes and coats can be seen everywhere from River Island, to Topshop, Penneys, to & Other Stories.