In the latest of a series that sees Standard Issue writers celebrate the clothes that make them happy, Dotty Winters raises a foaming tankard of mead to her multitasking druid cape.
I am wearing a cape. It’s not a superhero cape; that would be cool, but today’s underwear is not fit to be worn as outerwear. It’s not one of those fur-trimmed waist-length capes that are the current school drop-off uniform; I like those but I have one of those faces and bodies that make a blanket with a belt look exactly like a blanket with a belt. Instead, I am wearing a floor-length, full-hooded, black velvet, Scottish Widows cape, and not for the first time. Every woman should have a cape.
I acquired my cape when I helped a troupe of hapless high school amateur dramatists find a venue for their conceptual piece about druids after their initial venue flooded. I had admired their costumes and weeks later one arrived through a friend of a friend with a handwritten note. I am sure there are other ways to get a cape, but if you can obtain yours through a circuitous, mystical route you should – it will strengthen your powers. If not, try eBay.
A cape is the comfort-equivalent of a centrally heated onesie, but when worn in public will always make you look cooler than anyone else. Rock, Paper, Scissors, Cape never caught on because cape wins every time. When it arrived my cape immediately replaced my previous work-from-home staples (slanket and thinking-turban). No one looks good in a slanket; everyone looks good in a druid cape. Soon, though, the cape snuck into my outside world wardrobe.
Q: Too tired to wear proper clothes for the school run?
A: Cape over pyjamas.
Q: Chilly outside and need to nip to the chippy?
A: Cape Cod.
Q: Raining more than you thought it would?
A: Cape of Hood Hope.
Elegant, slimming and endlessly forgiving, Gok Wan has seriously let womankind down by not championing druid-wear sooner (he’d probably ruin it by making us all wear it with Spanx and an obi belt). Not only is a cape the answer to every sartorial dilemma, it is also fully functional. A cape can be used for:
• Napping in the car (no-one disturbs a slumbering druid).
• Looking mysterious at Halloween.
• Sweeping leaves off the path (simply unpick them from the inside hem when you are done).
• Swishing. Anywhere.
• Hiding from passers-by that you do not wish to talk to.
• Avoiding door-to-door political canvassers: “You Shall Not Pass”
• Pretending to be a ghost in woodland at dusk.
I don’t care how cool your cardigan is, it can’t do that. If you need me, I’ll be swishing.
Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.