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Cleverhood/Cleverhood

Providence’s Susan Mocarski was tired of donning chunky raincoats when walking her kids to school in nasty weather.

“I’m in a small, livable city, and I like to walk. I like to bike. I’m not in a car. But when I needed something functional, I’d grab my husband’s jacket,” she says.

No longer content to steal her husband’s outerwear, Mocarski launched Cleverhood six years ago. The company specializes in high-performance, functional, stylish rain capes made of waterproof polyester.

As of this month, the capes are available for canines, too. The Cleverpup line is a welcome foul-weather alternative for pet lovers who don’t go for cutesy coats.

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“Maybe they don’t want to put [their pets] in a pink, squirrelly outfit,” Mocarski, who has dogs herself, says with a laugh.

They’re attractive and cozy: They come in houndstooth fabric with an embedded 3M reflective thread to enhance visibility, and they’re lined with soft fleece. They’re available in five sizes to suit variously sized dogs, secured with lightweight aluminum clasps for a snug fit.

So far, the response has been overwhelming.

“The most serious people will come up to me and tell me about their ‘poochie’ who doesn’t like to go out in bad weather. There’s something about dogs. The reaction has been very positive,” Mocarski says.

The Cleverpups capes retail for $89; their human counterparts go for $79 and up at www.cleverhood.com. Mocarski hopes the capes encourage people to walk and bike more, despite the elements, now with their pets in tow.

“The name ‘Cleverhood’ is all about being smart in your neighborhood,” she says.

Banish all thoughts of formless ponchos, please: The unisex capes have magnetic arm holes that snap back automatically, so wearers will never awkwardly fumble with their outerwear. There are elastic thumb loops on the inside, making it easy for bicyclists to grip handlebars. Fitted hoods accommodate bike helmets.

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She also sells faux fur and corduroy versions, as well as kids’ sizes. They come in jaunty, geographically appropriate colors like “Ocean State Blue” and “TF Green.”

“There’s great circulation and air flow,” Mocarski says, noting that the capes are particularly popular with younger men.

After all, she says, “There’s a superhero element to a cape.”


Kara Baskin can be reached at kcbaskin@gmail.com.