Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Caftan Comeback: Because We Can Do Better Than Sweatpants


Has this ever happened to you? You are struggling through your morning. You've been slammed with emails from your boss, or crying babies, or maybe you just don't feel well. You have stayed in your pajamas past the socially acceptable time to be lounging around like you just got out of bed, when the doorbell rings...

Let's face it, whenever you are trying to relax the FedEx guy will need a signature, the neighbor will come to tell you your dog is loose, or your mother in law will pop in.

If only there was something to wear around the house for those times.

Well, there is.

What is it?  

 It's the ultimate classic piece of clothing, having literally been in style for thousands of years.

Basically the caftan or kaftan is a long tunic or large piece of fabric with a hole for the head and stitched down the sides to create armholes. But y'all, its so much more, dramatic and alluring in a way yoga pants can only dream of.

Here's a fun link to learn more from Nomad-Chic.

When I think of caftans I think of vintage chic. Of movie stars giving elegant dinner parties at home.  Then along came the 80s and magazines had pictures of models in exotic locations wearing them. My bucket list definitely includes caftan shopping in Morocco! Here's an article about their history and their long influence on fashion, Caftan Liberation: How Ancient Fashion Set Modern Women Free

Where'd we get this idea, anyway? 

patricia altschull book

 Okay, that brings me to a guilty pleasure of mine. 

My daughter and I are fans of the show Southern Charm I used to watch the news but these folks make more sense than what I see there.  Plus, you know, Charleston. Hello. One of the characters is Patricia Altschul, an elegant woman who has a butler and what she calls a "dressing drink" (it's a martini, y'all) while she's getting ready to go out. I mean, a girl needs a role model.

patricia altschull
Patricia wears caftans a lot. I had forgotten all about them until I started watching this show and saw her in them. She always looks cool and elegant. I decided this forgotten garment was just the thing I needed for those times at home when I can't be bothered to get dressed in actual clothes. A caftan looks like you tried to get out of your pajamas, at least.


Why not just buy one? 

I ordered one online that looked super cute. It arrived and I threw it on. There was one small problem. It was obviously meant to be a beach cover up since it was extremely sheer. Nope. Still can't go to the door.

sheer fabric

Then I realized if I made my own I could have exactly what I wanted.  My daughter is expecting so I made a couple for her. (I just sort of threw these together because I was afraid she might not like them.) Pregnant in the south in July and August is a hot and sticky affair. A caftan might be just the thing for those really miserable days. Need some inspiration? Check out these pics of caftans then and now. 

Plus no one ever had fun accessorizing sweat pants:  

large earrings

Caftans allow you to wear big dramatic jewelry while lounging around watching a movie or hanging out by the pool. Honestly, the bigger the better! 

caftan accessories

Here are some pics of how my daughter's caftans turned out. I wanted one to look slightly Moroccan.

pink caftan

And I wanted one to look like Lilly Pulitzer and Elizabeth Taylor had a baby.

print caftan

For those of you who have been waiting to get a peek at the baby bump, here ya go!

the art of southern charm


The next post will be an over view of how to make one for yourself! Get ready to put those ugly sweats in the trash.


  1. YAY! I certainly love this new talent of yours!! :) The ones you made are super cute!!

  2. Love this! A friend of mine had a "Caftans & Cocktails" theme for her birthday this spring, and I just thought it was brilliant! Looking forward to learning how to make one of my own!

    1. Oh my gosh! Caftans & Cocktails! How did I not think of this? I just started a Pinterest board called Caftan Cult, but Caftans & Cocktails is such a better name! Thanks for stopping and and sharing that! Caftans for everyone! ;)

  3. I love this post! I've been working on dressing cuter and it really makes a difference in how I feel and even how I approach the day. Love your dresses!

    1. The struggle is real, right? I have some ratty pajama bottoms and an old shirt my son left at home when he moved out that I wear way too often. I am trying to dress better too and working on a caftan for myself right now!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Let's put the social back in social media and continue the conversation on Facebook! Check out the Pen and Hive Page.