Proverb: hacer de la capa un sayo (do as you please)
When it comes to our collection of proverbs this is perhaps one of the most misunderstood. One possible explanation for this could be that we do not wear either of the items of clothing it mentions: we all think that capes (las capas) are only worn by superheroes and the tunic (el sayo) or fitted frock coat (la casaca sin ajustar) is the type of thing that they wore in the Middle ages and is so out of fashion that it can´t be referred to as vintage (although this could change with the passing of time).
Anyway, even though we no longer wear the two pieces of clothing mentioned in the proverb, we know perfectly well that this saying can be used to talk about somebody who does what they want to when they want to do it without informing other people. If we are brutally honest we could say that Han Solo or Jack Sparrow are two people who do as they please. They are the type of people who have their own ways of solving problems and although they win the day in the end, no one understands them and they seem to play by their own rules.
But what has this got to do with clothing? Presumably it would be difficult to make a tunic out of a cape: both pieces of clothing have nothing to do with each other and anyway it would be a pointless task because, at the end of the day, both garments are used for the same purpose, to keep us warm. Anybody who turned their cape into a tunic would have their reasons for doing it, but hardly anybody would understand them.
Does this mean that if someone remarks that “we do as we please” they are insulting us? In principle the answer is no. Rather it means that they recognize our ingenuity but that they do not share our way of doing things and nowadays that could be considered as flattery.
Other popular Spanish Sayings
- A la fuerza ahorcan
- De noche todos los gatos son pardos
- Lo bueno, si es breve, dos veces bueno
- "Ya que la casa se quema, calentémonos en ella"
- "The house of the soap-maker is a slippery place"
- "Santo era Pedro y negó a su maestro"
- "Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada"
- "En Carnaval todo pasa, hasta los novios a las casas"