What is a kaftan?
A traditional kaftan or caftan is a long, loose-fitting dress that comes down to the ankles. This kind of loose dress used to be a long, buttoned-up robe that mostly men in the Middle East wore. Silk or cotton used to be used to make kaftans, and they often had a sash or belt around the waist and sleeves that went past the elbow. In Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, there is an amazing collection of these kaftans made from rich, luxurious fabrics. Back then, it was thought that only the Ottoman Sultans of Turkey and other important people could wear kaftans. It was such a valuable and prized piece of clothing that it was given to important Ottoman Empire officials at big religious festivals or to generals who had won a battle.
Things changed over time, though, and by the 19th century, the kaftan was only worn by poor people and shopkeepers.
In recent years, however, kaftans have come back into style (though we can’t say they were ever out of style) and are becoming more and more popular. They are liked by both women who want to look classy and chic for formal events and those who want to look more casual but don’t want to look like a tomboy.
Wearing a Kaftan: 1. At the Beach
It is one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) ways to wear a kaftan these days. Use it as a coverup at the beach and your beachwear will look instantly more stylish. A kaftan, which is made of a light, airy fabric, is a great way to dress up a swimsuit or bikini. Not only that, but it also protects you from UV rays from the sun (if long enough to cover most of your body).
Since it’s not a form-fitting piece of clothing, it goes without saying that you can wear it and be sure that you’ll stay cool while putting your feet in the sand. If a woman is a little self-conscious about her body in swimwear (though we think every body is beautiful, no matter what size it is), a kaftan will help her look beautiful while staying cool and showing as much skin as she feels comfortable with.
Put on some stylish sandals and your designer sunglasses, and you’re ready for the beach. If you want your beach clothes to look more stylish (for example, if you want to have lunch at a restaurant by the water), all you have to do is add a belt.
Tip: Choose a kaftan made of a natural fabric, like organic cotton, to keep your body cool. This is because natural fabrics “breathe,” letting air pass through.
2. For Formal Occasions
Kaftans look great on almost all women, no matter what shape or size they are, and they can hide parts of the body that you don’t want to draw attention to. For example, a kaftan with long sleeves and a low V-neck can make a woman with a bigger bust look very attractive.
If you like boho chic, put on a pair of flat sandals (Ancient Greek style is great, but any leather piece will do), a soft shoulder bag, and a pair of large designer sunglasses, and you’ll have the boho chic outfit you were looking for! Wear it to the beach or to weekend summer parties that aren’t too formal.
To make your kaftan look fancier and more suitable for formal events, choose a more fitted style made of silk or another luxurious material. Consider getting a kaftan made of layers of sheer fabric to make it look even better. Add accessories, like a silver or gold belt, to dress it up for even more formal occasions. Jeweled sandals with heels will help you make a chic statement and add to the high-end feel of your outfit.
Wear your brightly coloured kaftan with beautiful safari or West African patterns with a matching head wrap and scarf (or even a straw hat!).
By cinching your kaftan in with a wide leather belt, you can make your waist look small.
A kaftan top made of silk or cotton looks great with shorts. Add some beads to it, and you’ll have the perfect casual summer look.
Kaftans are very comfortable and have a loose fit, so they are also great for sleeping and lounging. Just choose a pattern you like and make sure your item is made of a natural fabric so that your body stays cool even on hot days.