Robing Shoulders


Have you succumbed to the Shoulder Robe? It’s the most impractical way of wearing outerwear – slinging your coat over your shoulder and letting it hang there. It’s not like a cape, which at least has a dinky little ribbon to tie; if you want to move around in any manner of haste you’ve got to either cling to the lapels desperately or shove your arms in until a photographer comes along forcing an undignified scramble to get them out again and re-gain nonchalance. Not easy when you’re also gripping a clutch.

But the Shoulder Robe has its charm. When stationary it can give a distinctly chic silhouette, and the difficulty in pulling it off gives the successful Shoulder Rober a sophisticated and capable appearance. In the past both Marilyn Monroe and Joan Collins were perennial SRs, and now there is an army following in their wake.

Four categories are listed below, along with my own take on the looks.

1.The Editor

Jenna Lyons
Jenna Lyons
Rose Byrne
Rose Byrne
Irish Country Living

This is me, marching down Fifth Avenue to start my new job at US Vogue, as Anna Wintour’s underling. Or perhaps I’m a creative at an Ad Agency, or CEO of a fashion brand? Anyway, this Olivia Palermo-esque outfit is power dressing in 2014. Take note for your next interview. It’s also recently been said that glasses help you get hired (citation needed, think I read it somewhere reputable… but may have been the DM Online), so all you 20/20s should hang on to your oversized prescriptionless frames as well as your oversized coats.

2. The Youthful Contingent

Alexa Chung
Alexa Chung
Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles

This was my least favourite, mostly because the jacket kept falling off. Just wouldn’t stay put. As demonstrated by my awkward gait – a moment after the picture was taken it slipped off again. With all that in mind, it is the most current of all the Shoulder Robes and can make a leather biker or tuxedo jacket look distinctly feminine and ladylike.

3. The Off-Kilter Kook

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith
Photo from The Sartorialist
Photo from The Sartorialist
Pink Pimp

My ever accomodating little bro, who I roped into snapping my photos, agreed matter-of-factly that I looked like a 70s movie pimp. It’s the hat really, but also the in-your-face colour blocking and silky-shiny shirt. I kinda love it though, feeling rather powerful owning my garish getup. Just add cane and cigar, and a few wads of cash.

4. The Next Level

MD Vogue Getty
Mira Duma
Burberry Prorsum AW 14
Burberry Prorsum AW 14
blanket scarf
Blankety Blank

I LOVED the Burberry Prorsum A/W 14/15 show, and was so happy to see elements from the fantastic men’s collection incorporated into the women’s wear. Because Blanket Capes! Mira Duma, above, is making the first move by Shoulder Robing a cardi, but how gorgeous is the flowy belted blanket? So very cosy. I bought my capey blanket thing in Dunnes a few years ago, and as well as being able to emulate next year’s look I use it as a huge chunky scarf and handy blanket on the bus, train, plane and my freezing office. Versatile! Great investment! Rush out and get your monogrammed version (a la Cara Delevigne) right now!


Elle UK Style Awards Model of the Year winner Suki Waterhouse already has one too!



  1. styleuniverseeverything

    I’m not a big fan of the Shoulder Robe (I’ve recently written a post about it too), but The Next Level cardigan/shawl look you’ve covered here, I do like. Maybe the belt adds the practicality that the traditional coat-shoulder-robe lacks.

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