Caped Crusader wear creeps into wardrobes

I’m not someone who pays much attention to fashion. The only thing I’m really into is washable fabrics. I mostly dress for comfort and self-entertainment. But if someone else gets a kick out of what I’m wearing, so much the better. I like unusual colors and textures. I have fun dressing thematically for special occasions. And I especially like dressing to publicly embarrass my children.

How can I tell when I’m successful? Not long ago, I was walking toward the jiu jitsu studio with my son (incidentally, on the day the month’s tuition was due) and he tried to subtly ditch me. When I continued walking with him, he stopped me and asked, “Could you stop looking like such a mom?”

I wasn’t sure what to say, as I resemble that description and can’t look like anything else, really. But I responded, “Right now I am pretending to look like the payer of your tuition, but I am more than willing to change THAT look. Right here. Right now.” My point was well-taken.

Later, I gave the “looking like such a mom” thing more thought. Probably much more than it deserved. Then, during Tekonsha’s Labor Day Weekend community-wide garage sale, I scouted for something cheap and image-changing. Score! For a buck, I found a red and black buffalo plaid cape. New without tags – NWOT! Right price and fun style.

Truth told, I have always admired women who confidently wear capes. Perhaps it harkens back to growing up in the Jackie O era or watching one too many Ann Margaret movies. But most likely it’s from watching the hokey Batman and Robin TV show after school. Biff! Pow! Wham! Before you know it, I’m middle-aged and dressing like them.

Apparently, I’m not the only one. It seems like all ages are wearing what amounts to leftover theatrical costumes. I notice this mainly from looking at holiday store fliers. It’s a year when numerous fashion trends, many of which transcend common sense, have converged to give off a totally unintended effect.

Follow my math: when boots, leggings/tights and capes are all popular at once, it adds up to modified superhero wear down to our underwear! Many people appear to be only one mask short of being able to save a small town before sundown. Holy Batright!

By the way, when I say “capes,” I include all oversized, loose-fitting outerwear, ranging from wraps, cloaks, shrugs and roomy shawls, to ponchos, aka glorified blankets with head-openings. To quote something explained by fashion magazine elle a few years back, “a cape is as close as you can get to wearing a blanket in public.” As campy as summer camp.

For your education, let me further differentiate clothing terms: a shawl is used to cover shoulders only, whereas a wrap is larger than a shawl and overlaps in front, covering more of one’s torso. A cloak falls more evenly and loosely, and often has a hood, which can be lowered at crucial times within the drama of your life to reveal your formerly-secret identity to advance the plot. Think Little Red Riding Hood!

But back to the cape/boots/tights combination I opened with: to take the superlative pressure off of myself, I avoid wearing all three of these fashion items on the same day. It helps that I don’t own tights or leggings. Still, on the day I paired some tall black boots with my cape, I could tell I was walking with more of a swagger, as opposed to my usual, overburdened mom trudging.

While the cape, itself, was cool, me wearing it was not. I got it in my oatmeal at breakfast, shut it in the car door on the way to work, accidentally dipped its tail in the toilet at break time and nearly caught it on fire while lighting a candle. I also managed to trip myself three times by stepping on it while getting out of my chair, not to mention feeling overheated all day.

So much for sophistication: I was more like Jackie O-NO! This caped crusader is hanging up her low-budget costume for safety and sanity reasons. Someone else will need to save the small town before sundown!

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