The New Capelet Top: The Ideal Piece to Wear When You’re On the Fence About Sleeves

The New Capelet Top: The Ideal Piece to Wear When You’re On the Fence About Sleeves
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Photo: AMMARA

A few times a year, I think about buying a cape (in winter, obviously—I’m not insane). They’re dramatic, appealingly old-timey, and automatically more fancy than a plain old coat. But, no—I always manage to stop myself, because my few attempts at actually wearing one out of the house have taught me that they’re one of those items of clothing that I’ll only ever like in theory. I’m never not going to want to put my bag over my shoulder—sorry, capes.

Capelets, on the other hand, are something I dislike in theory (bad memories of the crocheted and sequined versions of decades past) but in practice, can totally get behind.

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With their drapey panels of extra fabric, capelet tops have all the breathability of something sleeveless, with the additional advantages of shoulder coverage, party-in-the-back action, and a superhero vibe that’s slightly more work-appropriate than showing up in a full “Suicide Squad” costume. Plus, plenty of them have ruffles, which makes them exceptionally appropriate for summer ’16.

Ahead, shop 15 of the best styles on the market right now, including white cotton poplin versions from newbie brand AMMARA, going-out options from ASOS and Boohoo, and a luxe Delpozo version I’ll be fantasizing about ’till next season.

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Marlene Shirt, $350; at AMMARA

ASOS Petite Top with Cape Sleeve, $41; at ASOS

Alasdair Cape Shoulder Top, $190 (was $380); at Steven Alan

Alexander McQueen Silk Cape Top, $825; at Style Bop

Club L Plunge Front Cape Overlay Body Top, $26; at ASOS

The Livin Is Easy Cape, $49.95 (was $68); at Free People

Antonio Berardi Cape Top, $845; at Shopbop

Josephine Shirt, $325; at AMMARA

Keira Cape-Sleeve V-Neck Top, $12 (was $22); at Boohoo

Cape-Overlay Crop Top, $24.90; at Forever 21

Delpozo Cotton-Poplin Cape Top, $1,103; at By Symphony

Top with Cape, $24.99 (was $39.99); at H&M

Temperley Capelet Top, $695; at Shopbop

Tibi Cape-Effect Silk Crepe de Chine Top, $197.50 (was $395); at The Outnet

Cape Sleeve Top, $21.49 (was $57.50); at Simply Be

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