The word cape can be used to describe any sleeveless outer garment, such as a poncho, but usually it is long and covers only the back half of the wearer, fastening around the neck.
They were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood. 
Roman Catholic clergy wear a type of cape which is worn for formal events. Capes remain in regular use as rain wear in various military units and police forces, for example in France. In modern times, comic-book super-heroes are often depicted wearing capes.

One good thing about Winter! There's something magical about capes!!