Capelet Kismet

Let me be as clear as Eliza Doolittle post-ole ‘enry ‘iggins: I did not go looking for my capelet. It came looking for me.

Having only just ventured away from my Flat Stanley knits and toward a pile of purple fluff, I was still leery of texture. And added bulk.

So when my pal Ms Madeline asked me if I thought she could carry off a vintage coral sweater–a beaded, sleeveless crewneck–I innocently clicked the link she sent concerning said textile. It’s not my fault that a little pale blue capelet was hanging around the vicinity looking adorable, now was it?

I even took the selfless route when I emailed her back to say that she, being possessed of an athletically-inclined bosom, would probably rock the coral. Yup, I noted that the OH GREAT SCOTT JUST LIKE BABY CHICKS, BUT BLUE number was a safer bet for fit and would be just as lovely with her coloring.

So imagine my surprise when I found out she’d bought it not for herself, but as a belated 40th birthday gift for me. Since I failed to show up in France and all, thus thwarting her original gift-giving plans.

Heartbreak aside, I’d have to say a crazy-fabulous $25 Made in Italy knit is a damn good consolation prize for Not Vacationing in France. In fact, I now think EVERYONE needs a capelet just because the word itself is so fantastic. Especially people who did NOT buy vintage coral sweaters because they caught themselves thinking, “Now why the HELL did I ask Vix’s opinion on style?!”

In an homage to one of my favorite 50s pairings and my closet’s neutral-heavy innards, I put my captivating capelet with head-to-toe espresso and swanned off to work. [Though the shade does look black in my crap photos.]

I mean of course it’s not the piece to wear if you’re trying to be all “Hi, I’m a corporate shark and I smell your blood in my water” but if you want to keep your fins warm on the weekend? Problem solved. Then again, Frank Perdue DID say, “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken” so perhaps one could extrapolate.

Whatever you do, don’t run off and have a clandestine, capelet’d affair unless you’ve checked on fabric content: mohair sheds.


Confused about what constitutes a capelet? Here’s my extremely biased opinion.

Capelets, Of Course

Classic Americana. No sleeves. Coverage stops around the elbows.

Happiness reigns.

[If we ignore that pesky, institutionalized sexism and racism, anyway!]

Setting a Good Example: Vintage and Modern Capelets

A vibrant flat knit capelet plus a gorgeous, gossamer grey variation.

Again: No sleeves. Coverage stops around the elbows (if elbows are present).

A Spendy Capelet And Some Dubious “Capelet” Friends

Left: a savings-sucking $1900 capelet (minaPoe for CoutureLab).

Center, Kiki de Montparnasse. Right, 2005 Alexander McQueen.

Not really capelets. But not really non-capelets. OMG: CAPELET FUSION

Things Marketed as Capelets That Just Ain’t

Capelets do not have sleeves. Period amen.

2 Responses

  1. I’m hugely in favor of keeping your fins warm!
    What a lovely gift.

  2. Yes, isn’t Ms Madeline a peach?

    It’s a very fun item, and of course as a Rectangle/H shape I’m always looking for items that carve up my torso. [Probably why the feathered “capelet” appeals in spite of my desire to put it in a different category!]

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