The Coneheads wore little capes that just covered the shoulders.

enter image description here

What's the word or phrase for these little doodads?

  • I've heard it called a mantle, but a little googling shows me that "mantle" can be used to describe a wider variety of garments.
    – Tin Wizard
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:23

5 Answers 5


Since 1912 at least, they have been called 'capelets' according to Merriam-Webster online.

capelet : a small cape usually covering the shoulders

From the 14th century the word tippet seems to have been used. Merriam-Webster defines Tippet

2 : a shoulder cape of fur or cloth often with hanging ends

While I Marc Carlson's Glossary of some medieval clothing terms gives a lengthier description. (bolding mine)


[Origin uncertain; some suggest identity with OE. tæpped, tæppet, *teped (pl. tæppedu, tepedu) carpet, hanging, etc. = OHG. teppid, -ith, -it, tepid, -it: both ad. L. tapete (-a, -um) a carpet, tapestry hanging, bed-cover, table-cover. But there are great difficulties both of phonology and of sense. Others suggest a derivative of tip] 1. a. A long narrow slip of cloth or hanging part of dress, formerly worn, either attached to and forming part of the hood, head-dress, or sleeve, or loose, as a scarf or the like. Obs. exc. Hist.b. A garment, usually of fur or wool, covering the shoulders, or the neck and shoulders; a cape or short cloak, often with hanging ends. Now worn chiefly by women and girls, or by men as a part of certain official costumes. In many early quots. (omitted here), senses a and b are not distinguishable.


Since I believe this moment in the movie represents quasi-religious garb, I believe pellegrina is appropriate (although that is closely tied with the Catholic religion).

For the secular version, capelet or tippet is appropriate.


I have seen it called a Shoulder Cape, shown below on a nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service working dress.

Other times, the cape may fit atop or into a heavy Western or Australian oilcloth coat for the cold and rain, called a duster.

Australian Army Nursing Service

  • 3
    What do you use often -- your ear or your language or your shoulder cape?
    – Chaim
    Mar 9, 2017 at 16:56
  • 2
    I apologize if I offended. I was just trying to make a little joke.
    – Chaim
    Mar 9, 2017 at 18:16
  • 1
    FWIW that kind of coat is called a horseman's duster. They do generally have a capelet which I believe functions for rain run off (they are more typically made out of oilcloth to be waterproof--the leather one in the picture looks like a fashion remake).
    – EricS
    Mar 9, 2017 at 23:26
  • 1
    In other words... change the image, so people will be less influenced/annoyed/bothered/irritated by it, and see that your suggestion is perfectly fine. E.g awm.gov.au/education/nurse-s-shoulder-cape and awm.gov.au/blog/2014/08/13/…
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 9, 2017 at 23:36
  • 1
    On a duster the 'capelet' is called a storm flap.
    – Mazura
    Feb 24, 2022 at 21:22

A short cape is often called a cowl. Modern "cowls" are mostly overgrown scarves, but if you look up "medieval cowl" you will see shoulder-length cloaks, usually with hoods. Not all of them open at the front, as in the picture, but some do. A poncho is similar, but I believe a poncho is always a single piece in the front, rather than tied. A shawl is also similar, but I would argue a shawl is usually the product of needlework (rather than sewn fabric pieces). A capelet could probably encompass any of these.

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    – livresque
    Oct 18, 2020 at 22:28
  • 1
    Can something be a cowl if it doesn't have a hood? I don't think so, and except for certain religious mediaeval garments, the dictionary seems to agree with me. Nov 6, 2021 at 12:41

The term we use in America is Cape. I happen to be an avid unintentional collector of quite a few 😁. I also have numerous Shawls. The difference between the two is shawls are generally longer & thinner & material. The shawl just drapes your back near shoulder blades and rest near the anticubital area. Where as a cape sits on your shoulders. Lengths of capes I've came across personally can be as short in length just past shoulders or as long to the knees. Someone above mentioned a cowell that is totally different due to the fact the garmet is a circle meant to wear around the neck without having to tie hence the ends are sewn together. Often made with angora.

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