It’s never a bad time to look at caftans

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I know I usually do caftan posts when we’re in the thick of warm weather, but I’m going to Florida at the end of next week, so I was in the mood to look at some, and—as I’ve stated before—news is what happens to editors. I also know that some of you deplore a caftan as desperately unstylish and Mrs Roper-esque. I’ve always thought caftans were glamorous—think Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra—and you simply can’t beat them for ease of wear. This black one is so nicely minimal, and looks ideal for traipsing around the city on a steamy day.

The metallic stripes on this one from Lemlem really make it, and I dig the tassels at the hem too.

Green stripes and pompoms make this one nicely graphic.

 

A preppy striped option that is right up my alley.

This has such good embroidered details.

I own a version of this gauze caftan, and it’s perfect for both lounging around and hitting the pool.

 

Another gauze caftan that comes in a few good colors, though I’m partial to this grey.

OK, these wavy rainbow stripes are (maybe more than) slightly crazy, but it looks like so much fun to wear.

These rainbow stripes, from caftan queen Emerson Fry, are a bit more subtle, but still pretty fun.

This macrame-detailed number  is from Tory Burch, who has a number of really good-but-pricey options in this category (like this gorgeous one, which I kind of wish I could unsee, it is so perfect). I could see dressing this up for a summer dinner party.

 

 

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22 Thoughts on It’s never a bad time to look at caftans
    Gablesgirl
    28 Mar 2022
    8:00pm

    Love the detail on the Tory caftans but the prices are pretty high for what they are. So glad I loaded up caftans last time I was in Mexico.

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    Eloise
    28 Mar 2022
    8:03am

    I’ve always liked the look of the EF long caftan but talk about almost wishing you could unsee the perfect version of something – those stripes look perfect! Sigh. Would it be ridiculous to get a caftan tailored?

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      Eloise
      28 Mar 2022
      8:18am

      I’m 5’2″ and “sort of” slight so caftans are tough.

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      Viajera
      28 Mar 2022
      12:28pm

      Imho, no!! Not at all.

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      cw
      28 Mar 2022
      12:40pm

      Do it. Tailor the heck out of that caftan.

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    melsybelsy
    28 Mar 2022
    9:24am

    Emerson Fry Caftan PSA: I made a purchase because of this site as the fabric is stunning!!! I’m 5’7″ and a size 10 give or take with shoulders and hips that can usually pull off a maxi dress/fabricy things. This thing was swimming on me – like two of me could fit inside. It has a waist tie within but took me like 15 minutes to figure out. I’m not going to return because it serves the purpose, but in a perfect world, it would have been made with less of a horizontal cut across the shoulders – it’s a shapeless square essentially.

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      Elisabeth
      28 Mar 2022
      2:51pm

      FWIW, I am 5’8”, usually wear 8/10 or Medium, and I ended with an EF dress in XS. And it’s far from snug. Never tried their caftans, but maybe everything at EF runs huge??

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      JenM
      28 Mar 2022
      3:38pm

      I’m 5’4 ” and wear a 4. I buy the knee-length EF version which falls longer on me and I love it. Not swimming at all, so maybe try the shorter version? I too tried the long and it was far too much fabric. Even with the highest platform sandals I could find. Though I still maintain the fantasy that one day I’ll wake up 5 inches taller and buy ALL the caftans and capes. 😉

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      Mouse
      29 Mar 2022
      6:28am

      Yup, it’s a shapeless square, which is why I love it. The fabric is so light and airy that it slips around the body even though it’s so large. This reminds me that I need to snip off the ties which I never use. Each to her own: I’m 5’2″ and relatively small and ignore all advice to show off my hourglass shape. I love being enveloped in fabric!

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    Rosemarie
    29 Mar 2022
    1:24pm

    Caftans cause some sort of internal turmoil for me and I’m taking a stab at figuring out why. It boils down to three associations I have with the garment and baggage attached to each:

    One, heavier women deploy these as camouflage. (Will others assume I consider myself to be heavy and am doing this? Why should I care? Do I consider myself heavy or am concerned that these would make me appear so? Why is this garment triggering issues of weight with me?)

    Two, Mrs. Roeper’s creative use of volume and pattern served as an outlet for her energy when, maybe if she’d have left Mr. Roeper, she’d have thereafter chosen to wear Halston. (Was the loud caftan a choice not only of the time, but somehow a release for someone in a crappy marriage? I wonder if Three’s Company’s wardrobe person is still around to appreciate the resonance their choices still hold.)

    While those two associations are means of deflection, for me a third conveys status, that of a wealthy WASP’s wan effortless while, say, vacationing in T&C. In this vein, while I enjoy some Tory Birch designs that don’t involve that freakin’ logo—such as the two cited here—her background as a socialite-turned-designer gets on my nerves.

    I do realize caftans are just plain comfortable, and all of this could be construed as overthinking. But like any clothing, really, they hold meaning both personal and collective as representations.

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    Jenny
    28 Mar 2022
    10:14am

    The Roller Rabbit garment looks like a caftan & shirtdress had a perfect baby. I usually can resist the caftan posts without much effort but I am weakening.

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      liz
      30 Mar 2022
      3:54pm

      I like everything about it too.

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    cw
    28 Mar 2022
    12:49pm

    Caftans are my summer bathrobes. I sleep in a tank top and underwear so I can wake up, throw on a caftan and, even if we have houseguests, can still let the dogs out and drink my coffee without feeling immodest. I wear the smallest short version of the EF caftan (the inner ties make it work as Rae pointed out) and I would wear that grey Everyday Ritual out to brunch. Hope you do a What I’m Packing For Florida post, Kim!

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    Mamavalveeta03
    1 Apr 2022
    12:58am

    This is a dream post for me! I’m partial to the first two, plus the gauzy ones. I’m dreaming of swanning around on a hot Summer day, whereas in my real life, I hibernated inside all day while it snowed. Ugh. So over winter.

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    gretchen
    29 Mar 2022
    3:49am

    Caftans say vacation to me and anytime is a good time for a vacation, even if the trip is all the way out to the backyard to sit and look at the birds.
    Here’s a link to my favorite designer and her caftan:

    https://www.follypdx.com/katrina-kaftan-orleans.html

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    Viajera
    28 Mar 2022
    12:33pm

    The Trina Turk one is fantastic! What a treat for the eyes on a gray-ish day here. … … … I don’t know that all of these are caftans – but oh well. Fun post!!

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    Mary Greiner
    29 Mar 2022
    9:39am

    Sooo easy to make with Simplicity pattern 9391 and 4 yards of favorite fabric. Two hours of easy sewing and a garment costing way under $30.00.

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      Viajera
      29 Mar 2022
      12:45pm

      Thank you! I am making a note of this.

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        Viajera
        29 Mar 2022
        2:35pm

        It is lovely. There is also S8505 … !! Veeeeery nice. Uh oh. (It looks more difficult though.)

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          Viajera
          29 Mar 2022
          2:43pm

          S 5628 too!! Okay I am stopping now. The 8505 has good reviews on Pattern Review. I wish I could claim that being too busy is what keeps me from sewing. No, it is poor time management skills! Must fix that. But really I am stopping.

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    Rae
    28 Mar 2022
    9:53am

    To my eye the line between Liz Taylor & Mrs. Roper comes down to styling. I feel a step closer to easy elegance with natural looking makeup, simple hair, and shoes that are a bit sleeker than my old favorite flip-flops. I love the stying on the grey and the preppy stripes as examples of off-the-beach wear.

    To add to the EF caftan conversation: I own A LOT of her clothes including 2 caftans. I am 5’5″ typically a size 6, and have found that the short version of her caftan is perfect on me. It hits just below my knee cap, the inner tie works well (for me) to add shape through the waist, and it isn’t too voluminous. Perhaps it is less wide the her full length caftans?

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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