The time has come to look at some caftans

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It has been suggested by some of you over the years that if there is a GOACA uniform, it is the caftan. Which makes sense: they’re the very essence of comfort, they’re cool in the summer heat, and they’re chic in a tragic-Talitha-Getty-in-Morocco kind of a way too. But others of you feel quite differently, and immediately think Mrs Roper. To those of you who do that, I say to each her own, but what a shame. Because I think they perfectly a personify combination glamour and comfort. Take this classic Emerson Fry option, for instance: a winning print in a so-good green.

This one from Madewell has a peacock-y feel that I love.

I think that with the right accessories, you could get away with wearing this one to a pretty fancy party. Something about the neckline and dramatic sleeves feels very elegant to me.

And here’s a super-streamlined option that would be as good on the streets as the beach.

This one feels delightfully Mexican to me, and I dig the tassels at the hem.

A striped. empire waist caftan adorned with cute little pom poms.

This striped Turkish cotton caftan is pretty stellar, and I dig the kangaroo pockets. Also, just fyi, it also comes in blue stripes if that’s more your deal.

A simple, gauzy option that looks so effortless but also put-together somehow.

This maxi-length choice is a nice faded-out purple that’s kind of unexpected.

And finally, because I always need to include a yellow option lately, this Rag & Bone dress just hangs so nicely, and is sweetly feminine without being the least bit prissy.

 

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30 Thoughts on The time has come to look at some caftans
    Mamavalveeta03
    23 Jul 2021
    10:26am

    These are all beautiful caftans and I’d wear every single one! Mrs. Roper for the win!

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    Dianne
    20 Jul 2021
    8:27am

    I feel frumpy in longer caftans, but after reading your raves about Emerson Fry, I did buy a short Emerson Fry caftan for beach and pool and I really like it. I’m 5’5″ and it hits me at the knee. I don’t think I could ever wear it as anything other than a swim suit cover- Its just not me- but I love it on other people.

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    Eloise
    20 Jul 2021
    7:35am

    I drool over the Emerson Fry versions every time you post one but at 5’2” a real caftan would swallow me up. I found this at the beginning of the summer and wear it so much I may grab another – it is billowy enough that, sans belt, it serves as the perfect “caftan lite,” and belted or knotted on one side, as a still voluminous dress and the blue print is super vibrant: https://www.target.com/p/women-s-sleeveless-dress-universal-thread/-/A-82472786?preselect=81995980#lnk=sametab

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    cw
    20 Jul 2021
    7:44am

    Eloise, you can wear the shorter versions of the Emerson Fry. I have one from a couple of years ago and love it. It isn’t “short” on me––knee length plus. I love this post and am swooning over three that I could wear swanning about the house.

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    Caryn Wickens
    20 Jul 2021
    8:09am

    Just when I thought I had aged out of Madewell’s dress selection… this one is already on it’s way to me!

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    Gemma
    20 Jul 2021
    9:56am

    I’m also a huge fan of the caftan – they make me feel so chic on humid summer days. I look for cotton caftans in good prints on Etsy. Ravaiyaa is my current favorite Etsy shop for them.

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    Anon
    20 Jul 2021
    8:46am

    You say Mrs. Roper like it’s a bad thing. Mrs. R. Is an icon in my books.

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      Kris
      20 Jul 2021
      12:55pm

      💯 I love her.

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    Mouse
    20 Jul 2021
    9:11am

    Love love love me a caftan. Just swallow me in fabric and I am happy; it makes me feel free and utterly myself. I have the Emerson Fry and it’s worth it and the perfect thing for a hot and humid day. As others have said, the short version is great for those of us who are height-challenged. (5′ 1″ here)

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    Ann
    20 Jul 2021
    11:17am

    I LOVED that 3s co. Clip. I loved that show as a kid. I love that first Emerson fry caftan too but I would love to see it on a different body shape.

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    Joannawnyc
    20 Jul 2021
    11:39am

    ADORE the all-white Emerson Fry, but also know that the moment I put it on, it would get a stubborn, hideous stain and break my heart. So I will have to admire it on others!

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    Dawn
    20 Jul 2021
    12:07pm

    I love my Emerson Fry caftan. Got it years ago on sale–which was a rare event! I wear it around the house, running errands, the beach, even on the loooong plane ride to Egypt right before the pandemic. The Madewell is on the way to me too!

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    kimbersam
    20 Jul 2021
    12:20pm

    Ok, question. I haven’t been able to wear a caftan w/o some version of Kim France Pance. Which means they aren’t as cool as I would like them to be. Do you all wear bathing suits underneath? Boy-short panties? Regular underwear makes me feel exposed and fearing a Marilyn Monroe subway grate moment.

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      Viajera
      20 Jul 2021
      12:42pm

      oh, are they see-through? (I haven’t caftanned yet so I am curious (nosy).) Wearing light colors does require some planning, doesn’t it? I think it’s worth it though.

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        kimbersam
        20 Jul 2021
        3:47pm

        Mostly, I think no, but I’m not in the direct sunlight. I do have an all-white one which required a cami, boy short situation the one time I wore it. Transparency is definitely a thing.

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          Viajera
          20 Jul 2021
          9:21pm

          Hmm interesting. I could probably live with someone seeing the shadow of my legs, but, if they can tell the color of my undies, that is going too far. I am a fogy, and I wear undies. I don’t have time to go around matching the colors. That would be a problem for me too.

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    Viajera
    20 Jul 2021
    12:44pm

    Great post, Kim!! These are very inspiring. Just gorgeous.

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    MaryAlice
    20 Jul 2021
    1:09pm

    I think they’re beautiful, but the truth is they only work if you’re thin. If you’re bigger like me, it just looks as though you’ve given up trying to find anything that fits.

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      Rae
      20 Jul 2021
      1:30pm

      I have to disagree MaryAlice. I have a couple of decidedly large friends who swan around in caftans looking elegant and effortless. Both are stylish and confident and haven’t given up on looking great. Mileage may vary as they say!

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      Viajera
      20 Jul 2021
      9:23pm

      I can understand how you feel, but I hope you won’t deny yourself a caftan based on this. People and their size-isms all need to go get themselves lost! Enough is enough. I bet you would look great in one!

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        MaryAlice
        21 Jul 2021
        1:12am

        I support everyone here and their caftan love, but I just don’t like them. Weirdly for a garment that people wear for comfort, I am uncomfortable because I feel as though I am wearing a nightgown in public. I like fitted clothing. They do not suit my style at all. But you all – go forth and enjoy!

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          Jenny
          21 Jul 2021
          11:05am

          I’m with you MaryAlice! Give me shirt-dresses or t-shirt dresses instead. I am incapable of wafting.

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    Kate
    20 Jul 2021
    2:10pm

    If you think caftans are frumpy, you should see my collection of Eileen West nightgowns.

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    Susanna
    20 Jul 2021
    2:51pm

    The green Emerson Fry caftan is sold out, but they just dropped a rainbow version that I LOVE.

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    Karin
    20 Jul 2021
    6:41pm

    Ah, the torture of the Emerson Fry caftan – so gorgeous but out of my price range. BUT I found a treasure trove of affordable caftans at Cost Plus/World Market this year that look a lot like the first one pictured here. It’s called the Mira Kaftan…I bought 3 in different prints. LOVE THEM…empire waist, a bit of cleavage, great for hot sweaty days.

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    themis
    20 Jul 2021
    8:58pm

    That Madewell one is stupendous. Hmmmm. Pax Philomena is also a source for gorgeous caftans, and I have a new wrap dress from the Insta-heavy brand Silk & Salt that can pass for one in a pinch.

    I love the print placement of the Emerson Frys – so flattering – but as a petite I cannot see how to alter those to fit my proportions without losing the pretty border or requiring two extra perfectly engineered seams. The short version still looks frumpy on my frame. Also, after lo these many years, I am still so irked that they only use the one six-foot blonde model. It’s like they’re saying: “Look, if you’re not a blue-eyed white woman we don’t even want you imagining what these might look like on you.” Other designers use women of a certain age, ethnic women, women with tattoos, women of size, and I like exrapolating between models and having some idea of how something might fall on me. I know I’ve said it before. But retailers can do better, and they should.

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      ceejay
      21 Jul 2021
      9:21am

      Totally agree on the Emerson Fry model – everything looks great on her and I have given up on ordering from them because I just can’t tell what the clothing would look like on someone who is not a super tall, super thin, super young, super blond person. I do own the EF caftan (bought on Poshmark at a fairly good discount) and it is pretty fabulous.

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    gretchen
    20 Jul 2021
    9:05pm

    There’s a local designer in my area that made two beautiful silk kaftans this summer. Here’s the link to one of them. https://www.follypdx.com/katrina-kaftan-orleans.html

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      kimbersam
      20 Jul 2021
      11:21pm

      Wow! That print is spectacular! Or as the web page “oh yes!”

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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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