Legend has it that Diana Vreeland once pegged the caftan as “fashionable for the beautiful people.” Bazaar magazine wrote that the voluminous shape and heavily printed nature might render in unappealing but it’s often plunging neckline and side slit detail lend just the right wink.
It’s timeless summer chic, that’s what a caftan is supposed to represent. This is not your regular beach cover-up.
It’s not exactly a dress, it’s not a shirt, it’s not a nightgown (although it can look like a fancy one)…it’s just a long piece of fabric more resembling a tunic or robe that I always thought looked so elegant – on the right person. Someone like Elizabeth Taylor or Sophia Loren looked so regal wearing one…lounging on a yacht
in the Italian Riviera with a cocktail in hand.
Last week I went shopping with my neighbor. We were supposed to be shopping for a rescue dog but instead we got sidetracked and ended up needing to be rescued from carousing up and down the aisles of some stores we hadn’t been in for quite some time. I saw a beautiful caftan in of all places….Zara. I told her she should buy it, the color was fantastic, the price reasonable and it suited her but she just couldn’t wrap her head around actually wearing one.
Because when was the last time you spotted someone in Vancouver wearing a caftan? Kudos to Zara for trying…they stock the latest trends and once they’re sold you never see the same thing again. The rack had been untouched but I couldn’t stop thinking about the style and how much I wanted to wear one poolside in Palm Springs while sipping champagne. Because done right, a loose-fitting cotton tunic can look enviously chic.
“To me, caftans are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing, meaning you can wear it from the beach to a barbeque to a cocktail party to a black tie event. Caftans are timeless and I never leave home without a few when I’m traveling because you never know where you’re going to end up and need a caftan!”
How do you accessorize?
Jewelry should not compete with any other embellishment on your outfit (unless you were Elizabeth Taylor); especially if you’ve got tassels or beading going on, keep it simple. And if you’re at the beach, your swimsuit should be accessory enough. No belt required and whatever you do, don’t wear it over leggings.
The caftan (or Kaftan) originated in ancient Mesopotamia, an area that encompasses parts of modern day Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. For many centuries, caftans were the traditional mode of dress in Turkey, where men and women (kings and beggars alike) considered it an appropriate clothing choice.
Fabrics: range from lightweight textiles for the summer months to richer velvets and brocades. Traditionally made with silk or cotton, caftans are frequently adorned with colorful patterns, and many individuals wear them with a coordinating belt or sash.
So tell me, would you go for it?