a cowl by any other name…

is probably a cape…or a capelet…or a poncho…or a shawl.

I’ve been looking at accessories.  Fun to make, fun to wear, quick(er) to knit up.  And since it’s SO FREAKING COLD right now, keeping myself insulated is a priority.  Bonus points if I can wear them at work or at home too.

So riddle me this…what’s the difference between a cowl, a capelet, a cape, a poncho and a shawl.  Think you know?  I thought so too until I started browsing Rav.

I’ve decided there’s not a damned thing separating these.  Case in point.

cape 1

I thought a cowl was more of a neck warmer?

Ok…next set

  • Cabled Capelet
  • Progression Cowl – doesn’t this look strikingly similar to the capelet to the left?
  • Quatrain (cape) – ok I think I figured it out.  A cape is longer.  No, it’s the same length as the left one.  A cape has a turtleneck.  Damn that left again.

cape 2

I’m starting to lose steam here.  Let’s look at another set.

cape 3

  • Appia (cowl) – maybe it’s a cowl because she’s not wearing it pulled down over her shoulders?
  • Winter Capelet – I love this one but I can’t make sense of it.  Winter but it has a wide neck and lace.  I give up.
  • Soft Shoulder Cowl/Shawl – this designer just gave up with the name.  Funny thing is this is what I think of when I think capelet – not cowl nor shawl.

Regardless of the names I love this accessory.  Or is it garment.  Maybe outerwear?

I’ll catch you on the purl side…

6 thoughts on “a cowl by any other name…

    • Ha. In most ways it doesn’t matter to me, but it became a challenge when searching in Rav. It was clear that designers called the same item several different things.

  1. You have hit on a pet peeve of mine. To me, a shawl covers your arms, all the way past your elbows. You can actually snuggle up in a shawl. But the things people are calling shawls are really scarves. When did this happen? I guess I got old all of a sudden. :-)

  2. Oh yes, the trick of naming things. In my opinion:
    cowl = circular accessory that goes primarily around the neck, either with a short circumference and tall width (to hug the neck), or long circumference (a big loop, infinity scarf)
    capelet = a shoulder-hugging tube, much wider than a cowl. I think of most of those things you pictured as capelets.

    cape = another shoulder-hugging garment but more like a shawl (worked flat) that is tied or toggled closed. Not knit as a big tube.

    shawl = triangular, crescent, or semi-circle piece of knitting worked flat and not attached to itself in any way. None of those things you pictured are shawls.

    I would probably call everything you pictured a capelet, except for the Appia cowl. My two cents!

Comments are closed.