I just learned an interesting fact about Franciscan habits. The Franciscan Conventuals (OFM Conv) have historically been associated with universities and learning. Consequently, their shoulder cape lengthened in the tradition of the other teaching friars (e.g. Augustinians, Carmelites and Dominicans) distinguishing them as academics.
Friars of the various Reform movements would shorten their shoulder cape as a sign of their renunciation of learning. If you look at the photos above, you’ll see that Saint Maximilian Kolbe (bottom photo) has the longer cape – he was a Franciscan Conventual and held two doctorates. Saint Pio (upper photo) has no cape – he was a Franciscan Capuchin.
Franciscan friars, please correct me if I’m way off on all this.