PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 November, 2008, 12:00am

Capes are a winter favourite with fashionistas and have a romantic Wuthering Heights feel about them. Unfortunately, not many women can pull them off and if you don't have the height the swathes of fabric can be unflattering. One alternative I have spotted around town are cape coats. A hybrid between a cape and coat, these styles tend to have arms/arm holes making them more functional, and are often cut shorter so they fit the frame better. They're an interesting alternative to the structured jackets and were seen on the runways of Martin Margiela and Givenchy. What's more, they add panache to an otherwise dull outfit while keeping you warm.

Take a look at Charleen (top, right), who has also incorporated layering to create a fun but stylish look. She has paired her boyish Bermudas with a beige silk-cotton striped shirt underneath a Nautical-inspired striped tee, all topped off with a light grey cable knit cape that pulls the look together. The cape is short enough to wear with most tops and the bold gold buttons are an interesting detail. The monochromatic jazz shoes, which are all the rage now, complete the outfit.

For girls who have a petite figure such as Karen (right), I suggest a longer cape coat in a lighter fabric. I'm not sure if the tee she is wearing under her black coat is meant to be worn outside the house, but the lycra cape makes it look cool. To balance out the length of the coat, she has worn a pair of shorts to show some leg. Again, like Charleen, her fringed boots are right on trend. If shorts aren't for you, you can pair a longer style with skinny jeans and leather boots for a rock-inspired look.

I suggest opting for something bold and bright. Multi-label boutique I.T shops feature tartan and floral print styles from Japanese brands such as mercibeaucoup. They also have simple cotton styles in basic colours at brand, know as de base (Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 9636). I also saw some easy-to-wear knitted styles at Uuu...shooop (shop 206-208, Island Beverley, 1 Great George St, Causeway Bay. 2808 0205), some featuring shoulder pads for a more structured look.