What Is a Kaftan?
In the past few years, kaftans have made a big comeback to fashion and are becoming more and more popular for both casual and dressy occasions. But what is a kaftan? When and how would you wear one? A traditional kaftan or caftan is a loose, ankle-length robe with long sleeves that flow down.
Men in the Middle East wore them at first. They were long robes with buttons up the front that were made of cotton or silk. They often wore long or elbow-length sleeves with a belt or sash around their waist. If you want to see what these might have looked like, you can visit the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul to see an amazing collection of imperial kaftans made of rich, luxurious fabrics that were once worn by the Ottoman Sultans of Turkey.
Some of these expensive clothes were so highly regarded and valuable that they were given to generals who won a battle or to important people in the Empire during religious festivals. In the past, men in Russia also wore them. In Russia, they were more like long suits with tight sleeves, and by the 19th century, only shopkeepers and poor people wore them.
Where in the world do people often wear kaftans?
Caftans are still a very popular traditional dress in Morocco. They are worn by women, not men, and come in many different fabrics, colors, and designs. They are worn to weddings, engagement parties, and other formal events. There are even expensive designer Moroccan kaftans that cost a lot of money, as well as cheaper ones for less formal occasions. They are also worn in West Africa, where they are called boubous. They are simple robes that slip over the head and are often very brightly colored and patterned. There is also a tradition of wearing kaftans in Southeast Asia, where the fabrics used to make them are dyed with the batik method to make colorful floral and abstract patterns.
Today, though, kaftans are a great style to wear in many other parts of the world as well. This is because they are very versatile pieces of clothing that can be worn in many trendy and unique ways and for many different occasions. Modern caftans are popular because they are easy to put on—you just slip them over your head—and because they are simple and comfortable.
One of the most popular ways to wear one now is on the beach as a coverup. A kaftan made of a light, airy fabric is the perfect thing to wear with your bikini or swimsuit. A long one can also help protect your skin from the sun’s strong rays if it covers most of your body. Because this is not a fitted piece, it will also help you stay cool on those long, hot days on the beach. It is also great if you are self-conscious about your body in swimwear and want to cover up but still stays cool and look gorgeous.
For the beach, it’s best to get a kaftan made of a natural fabric like organic cotton, which lets your body breathe and keeps you cooler. Combine your beach caftan with a stylish pair of sandals, maybe a belt, and some designer sunglasses, and you have the perfect outfit for lunch at that little beachside restaurant with very little extra work.
Kaftan dress can be worn to both formal and casual events, and there are a lot of different ways to style them. Depending on the style you choose, these great dresses look good on almost any size or shape of a woman. They can also help hide any flab you don’t want to show off. Also, kaftans with long sleeves and a low V-neck look amazing on women with a bigger bust.
For boho chic, cinch your kaftan with a wide leather belt to make your waist look small, find the right floppy-brimmed hat, and put on a pair of flat, leather sandals. Add a pair of big designer sunglasses and a soft fabric shoulder bag, and you have the perfect boho-chic outfit that you can wear on the weekend, to a casual summer party, or to the beach. For more formal events, look for one made of more expensive fabric, like silk, and choose a more fitted style. Or choose one with layers of luxurious, sheer fabric to make it more seductive.
Add even more style to your evening kaftan with some chic statement jewelry and sandals with heels that have jewels on them. Again, a great gold or silver belt will make your outfit feel more expensive and draw attention to your slim waist. If you want to wear brightly colored, patterned West African kaftans, you can find them with matching scarves and headwraps that will make your outfit look complete.
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Tops like kaftans and tunics
Kaftan tops are great for everyday wear and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Choose one made of a warmer, thicker fabric and wear it over jeans and leather boots in the winter. In the summer, wear your kaftan top over shorts and choose a lighter fabric, like silk or cotton. Choose some great beads or jewelry to dress up your top-up or get the perfect casual look.
Kaftans can be worn as loungewear and at night.
A kaftan is the perfect piece of loungewear or nightwear if you want to stay cozy and warm, or if you want to stay as cool as possible. A long, loose caftan made of thick, warm fabric is the perfect piece of loungewear for spending long winter nights cuddled up on the couch or staying toasty warm under your duvet all night. Choose one made of a lovely light fabric like soft, luxurious organic cotton or thin silk if you want to look elegant and stay cool on those long, hot, sticky summer nights. Because they are so loose and comfortable and easy to put on over your head, they are great for lounging and sleeping.
Where to Look for a Nice Caftan
So, if you care about style, these are great clothes to have in your closet. Finding a great kaftan while traveling is one of the most exciting ways to get one. Bargaining for your chosen outfit in a bazaar in North Africa or the Middle East is likely to be an experience you will never forget.