Cold Weather Cover-Ups from the MOTAT Textile Collection
Everything changes except change itself. Items of upper-body outer clothing such as capes, cloaks, shawls, coats and jackets are still the things we turn to when we anticipate variable conditions - especially in New Zealand which has the original ‘four seasons in one day' climate. Inevitably an outer garment such as a coat or a cape cover-up was worn in public so they tend to be for show as well as warmth, often expensively tailored or made from exclusive fibres such as Cashmere.
Nowadays a fitted coat with sleeves and buttons seems like such an obvious design, but it is easy to ignore its path to acceptance as everyday wear for women. A fitted coat simply will not work over a dress with hoops or a bustle and elaborate sleeves (as a cape or a shawl would), so certain changes had to happen in women's fashion for it to become mainstream. Also while a coat seems like a sensible, pragmatic garment that evolved with a shift away from over-elaborate fashions, there is nothing more practical or convenient than a shawl (described as ‘history's most ready-to-wear clothing'). This is the reason why the shawl has never completely gone away, and why other loose cover-ups like the poncho and the kaftan never quite disappear off the fashion radar either.