Kaftans have been around for well over 2000 years and it looks like they’re here to stay! Even though they sometimes drop out of mainstream visibility for a few years, these gloriously versatile garments always make a comeback. It’s no surprise really. There’s something so carefree about wearing a kaftan. They’re utterly timeless, surprisingly stylish, and above all they’re one of the most comfortable things you can slip into.
We can thank Elizabeth Taylor for bringing the kaftan into the mainstream. She embraced the glamorous and yet totally practical style in the late sixties and seventies, ensuring they became massively popular as relaxed, casual womenswear. Kaftans worn with dramatic jewellery from her huge collection became her signature look. She even wore a tie-dyed kaftan when she re-married Richard Burton in 1975.
Everyone knows what a kaftan is. A long, straight tunic with full sleeves that depending on the print and fabric can be exotic and floaty or stand-out chic. Despite its long history the kaftan is also totally contemporary, with designers reinventing it each season to keep it fresh and fashionable. One reason for its enduring popularity is its sheer versatility.
One of the most popular ways to wear a kaftan is as beachwear. They are the ultimate cover-up for hot days and holidays, so easy to throw on over your swimwear when you want a bit of extra coverage. Lightweight cotton and cotton/silk mixes are beautifully cool and roll up to nothing in a suitcase or beach bag. Short kaftans paired with jeans or leggings are perfect easy-to-wear attire for a spot of holiday sightseeing.
There’s a place for kaftans even when you’re at home too. They’re the most practical and comfortable garment for lounging around in and simply relaxing. The loose unstructured shape effortlessly covers a multitude of shapes and sizes but if you prefer something more fitted you can easily cinch it with a belt, or even a pretty scarf tied round the waist for a more exotic look.
If you haven’t discovered the joy of kaftans yet, check out designers David Nieper, Jasper Conran and Janet Reger who all make beautiful summery kaftans that are not only perfect for a casual day on the beach or sightseeing, but chic enough for a casual evening meal too.
This is a collaborative post.