Cloak Vs Cape Vs Robe (An In-Depth Comparison)

Okay, just to be clear, cape is the word sometimes used to describe both cloaks and capes even though there happens to be some differences between them.

Cloaks are categorized as capes because it obviously has the same distinct features as the cape. They are both made with just a piece of fabric, worn in a way that hangs loosely down the body and are sleeveless.

Now, this is where the robe stands out from both the cloaks and capes. Unlike them, the robes have sleeves and have a proper fastening in place instead of being let to hang loosely.

Differences between the cape, cloaks and robes

Even though we all tend to agree that cloaks should be categorized as capes because of the similarities they share, there are still a few differences that separates the cloak from the cape. One of such notable difference can be seen in the length.

When you put a cape side by side with a cloak, you will observe how short the cape is compared to the cloak. The cape, with the exception of super hero ones, usually fall just below the shoulder while you can have cloaks reaching down below the knees and even some even long enough to the ankles.

The robes on the other hand, are totally different as they come in varying lengths – short, medium, long or extremely long.

Out of the three, capes are the shortest and most times, cover just the back of the wearer. The cloak on the other hand can be found available in knee or floor length depending on your preference and, they cover not just the back but, the arms and chest of the wearer.

All in all, the robe offers more coverage as there are no openings in front unlike the cloak.

The least functional out of these three clothing items happens to be the cape. They are smaller, sleeveless, offer the least coverage and provide little or no warmth. The cloak, even though sleeveless too, offers more warmth and protection than the cape.

However, the warmth, coverage and protection the cloak offers is nothing compared to that of the robe. Hence, the robe is considered more practical and functional in general.

Capes and cloaks are outer garments meant to be worn over clothes when going out either as source of warmth supply or as a fashion accessory.

The robe on the other hand, is an indoor clothing. It is meant to be worn in and around the house only.

Some cloaks and robes are produced with a hood attached but you can rarely find a cape with a hood

Cloaks and capes can be worn as a fashion accessory to enhance your overall appearance. As a matter of fact, during the Medieval and Renaissance period, they were both worn by the rich and wealthy as a way to show off their luxurious sense of style. But, a robe is worn for comfort and convenience within and around the home.

Capes are narrow and short, cloaks are wide and big and robes are all-encompassing. Cloaks and capes are usually worn over clothing but, the robe can be worn on its own.

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Similarities between the cape, cloak, and robe

One thing both the cloak and the cape have in common is that they were very popular in the Medieval and Renaissance times but, have gone out of fashion now. Right now, they are just limited to be used as a costume in historically laden movies or TV shows.

The robe has always been reinvented and remains available even till now. After the cloak fizzled out of fashion, the coats took over the job of providing warmth before the robe was finally produced.

They are both outer garments with a fastening agent placed to keep it in place. Robes are fastened by tying the interior and exterior ties.

They are both worn over clothes. They can all be classified as long loose outer garments. They all can be made with a wide range of materials; velvet, silk, satin, cotton etc.

Facts about the cape and the cloak

  • Coverage: While the cloak covers the arms, chest and back, the cape covers just the back and arms.
  • Fastenings: the cape is held at the neck with a tie holding it just over the shoulders. For the cloak they are held also at the neck but with either a tie or some sort of clasp with buttons sometimes present.
  • Hood: The hood of cloaks is highly functional while that of the cape tends to be more of an accessory than a protective shield.

When to wear a cloak

Cloaks are basically worn over your outfit either as a fashion accessory or to perform the extra function of providing you with warmth. They can be worn over outfits to formal, semiformal and informal events.

When to wear a robe

A robe is an indoor piece of clothing. It is meant to be worn in and around the house or at the beach or swimming pool ground. 

The robe can be the first thing you slip into as you climb out of the bed and you can be in it till you are ready to bathe and change into proper clothes.

The robe is actually very comfortable and so, you will find it very convenient to do all your household chores in it without any form of restriction. You can trim the flowers, water the plants, and walk the dog around the house and so on.

Another good thing about the robe is the full coverage it offers. This makes it possible to receive visitors while wearing them without the fear of an indecent flash.

When to wear the cape

Capes are more of a fashion accessory than a functional garment. They add a bit of glitz to your outfit and make you step out looking as classy as possible.

You can have it draped over an evening dress. The cape looks absolutely stunning when draped over formal outfits. 

Try appending a broach on the left side of the cape for that final touch of elegance.

Other uses of the cape

Apart from using the cape as a fashion accessory, the cape can be used to protect your exquisite fabric from elements like dust or other debris.

This was formally one of the things the coat was used for but, unlike the cape that just sits on the shoulders, the coat covers the garment a lot more, so much that its beauty is hidden.

Capes are also used in beauty parlors and barbing salons in the process of rendering hair and beauty services. They function as a protective gear here, shielding the clients body from all sorts of chemicals that may be present in some of the products used. In barbing salons, they are used to keep off the loosed hair from the client’s fabric or skin.

The cape is also used as a costume in film production. Super heroes in movies can be identified by their cape- batman, superman and others all spot a signature cape. More often than not, you will find them used in the production of comic books also. 

Other uses of the robe

The robe can be used to dry up our bodies. It can serve in the same capacity as the towel. The robe can also be worn over your nightwear to provide extra warmth on very cold days.

The robe is also worn for comfort and convenience. You can actually be in them all day and go about your in house activities feeling as comfortable as ever.

Robes are also used in spa, sauna and massage places. In the sauna, robes are given to individuals to wear as they sit at the bar or the dining area.

Other uses of the cloak

The cloak can be used as a protective fabric. It acts as a shield during very harsh weather conditions.

It can also be a very effective fabric protector too, protecting your fabric from dust and other debris, especially on a windy day. You should also know that back in the day, it was very popular to have a cloak form part of a uniform.


What is the difference between a bathrobe and a dressing gown?

Even though we can classify them both as loose-fitting garments, there exist one striking difference that can be noticed in the type of material used. While the bathrobe is made using toweling fabrics, the dressing gowns are not.

However, we can agree on the fact that both are to be worn in and around the house for the purpose of comfort and convenience.


The cloak, cape and robe are all very similar in the sense that they are outer garments and to a very large extent, perform the same functions of protection and warmth but, only one can be said to still be relevant today and that is the robe. The cape and cloak however, would always be thrown in our faces as they are used as costumes in prehistoric movies.

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