Gothtopia

No Capes! The Gothic Council Has Spoken

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Becky Plexco: I agree with Drusilla and Toby on this one. Depends on the cape and the wearer. But I live in New Orleans now, where people wear a lot of capes and extreme clothes in general. If you're going to wear one it should serve a purpose (it's cold outside), you're wearing a formal sleeveless ball gown to a formal event (and your cape is beautiful, not bought at Party City).

Capes are more of a vampire thing. Inverness capes rock because they're a combination of coat and cape and Barnabas Collins wore one.

Liisa Ladouceur: As a teenage goth, I had a vintage velvet cape. I wore it on trips to Toronto which has a subway grate in front of City Hall. My friends and I would stand and take photos on it, and when the subway cars swooshed by below, the air would shoot up and we would pose like some like of Dracula meets Marilyn Monroe.

So yes, I approve of capes, cloaks, etc. For children. For teenage goths. And for adults dressing up for the opera or D&D or a wedding or whatever. If it's a self-parody, so be it. I don't think it looks any more ridiculous than flip-flops or sweatpants, which apparently most of the world has no problem with.

Carmilla Voiez: I wore a cape one year in Whitby in October/November when heavily pregnant. I could no longer fit into any coat. Even so I felt very self-conscious and kind of like a caricature of myself. Some people do it well, but it's easy to get it wrong and look like you're trying way too hard.

Liisa Ladouceur: OK, then, can someone explain to me and the world then why a cape is so verboten? Is it because it's ostentatious? Because I think that's a positive hallmark of gothdom.

In general, I like to see clothes that suit the occasion. Which is why I hate flip-flops outside the beach or pool; they are ugly and designed for function, and that function is the beach or the pool. Or hostel bathrooms. Don't inflict it on me on the street!

And I find that most non-goth people simply don't rise to occasion anymore. Have you been to the opera lately? I'm pretty sure I've seen flip-flops there. And even plenty of goths are slacking.

So to make up for that, I'm very much in favor of dressing up above and beyond the acceptable norm, be that busting out latex or extremely impractical footwear or corsets or yes, even capes. If you feel like a cartoon wearing one just because it's a goth cliché -- and I admit I too would feel silly wearing a cape to, say, go walkabout a graveyard -- you do realize that everything else you are wearing is probably a cliché too, right?


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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner