So what is a capelet anyway?

Rant alert.

I was looking at patterns today and found a number of items described as capelets.
The flamingo capelet had long sleeves and a tie front, the Grand Plan Top-Down Capelet is either an elbow length poncho or cape. The Anthropologie inspired capelet has short sleeves and and a back and front more reminiscent of a mini cardigan.

Designers have the right to name their garments; however calling everything that only comes to the waist a capelet is misleading at the best and preventing people from finding their patterns at worst. When I do a search for a capelet I expect to see something like this:
Elbow length, no sleeves and open at the front. BTW the picture above is actually called Bloom and is described as a circular shawl.

If you say poncho people think pointy front and back so a curved poncho such as these is generally described as a capelet. That is understandable as the only difference between a capelet (ie mini cape) and these garments is that the front is not open so you can just pop them over your head.

Where it gets very confusing is where a capelet has sleeves. How can something that has sleeves be described as a mini cape? I don’t know about you but I have never seen a cape with sleeves; that would be a coat!

So what should something like this be called? There are patterns called capelet shrug and mini cardigan that have this shape. In my opinion it has sleeves therefore it is not a capelet. It has a front so it is not a shrug (don’t get me started on the term shrug; anything from a hug me tight to warm winter hip length jacket), it can’t be done up so is it a cardigan? I always thought a bolero was shaped but maybe that is the closest we are going to get without confusion.

Then there is the Flamingo capelet mentioned above, it is well fitted and constructed with 2 fronts, 2 sleeves a back and ties. Isn’t this a cardigan?

I will just have to include capelet in searches when I am looking for any sort of garment that is designed to cover the shoulders. A jumper/sweater hasn’t come up in a capelet search yet but the way things are going it is only a matter of time!


One thought on “So what is a capelet anyway?

  1. LOL, I know what you mean. To me, a capelet has no sleeves. Maybe what they are calling a shrug or capelet should be called a mini-cardi… We could start calling them that and start a new trend…

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