You can find some of the most durable and sophisticated furniture options in leather, and although it’s popular in classy office settings, it’s also a great choice for a prestigious living space. However, leather furniture isn’t all the same and there are a good deal of differences in the quality, texture, sturdiness and intricacy in creation. We had a little discussion with our collegues in Upholstery Minneapolis MN who told us a couple of interesting facts about these leather types. Here we’ll list a couple of the types we learned from the professionals so any of you aspiring home decorators out there can familiarize yourselves with them.
If you’re looking to get as close to pure, authentic leather as you can, then you’ll want to go with full grain leather. The only things done to treat this type of leather is the hari removal and soaking in natural dye. Zero addition treatment is applied to full grain leather.
Here the leather takes on a little more polishing than full grain which makes it a little softer, although this is just a tiny step lower in purity and boasts the same longevity and durability. Top grain is even more popular than full grain leather, simply due to the comfort factor and how well it performs as furniture upholstery.
This type of leather is definitely less expensive, yet also harder to maintain than the higher quality sorts mentioned above. Split grain leather is made by removing the outer layer of leather and using the section of hide remaining.
Bonded leather is a great deal cheaper than the top teir types of leather, but gets you a very close “high-quality” leather look nonetheless. It’s made by fusing together leather scraps with adhesive material and actually contains only 17% actual leather, making it far more affordable than pure, top quality leather.
In addition to these types you’ve also got Nubuck Leather, Bi-Cast Leather, Faux Leather and more. But these types will give you a headstart in your understanding of leather furniture types.
You interested in styling your kitchen? Well we’ve got a couple of tips for you that many professionals use when choosing the right style for their kitchen. You’ll be able to craft your own personalized kitchen style without having to pay an arm and a leg.
Scrolling through kitchen pictures online, you’ve likely come across many that caught your eye as being “the perfect kitchen” and you couldn’t exactly put your finger on why. Well here are a couple of things you’ll want to keep in mind.
First off, try to go for a mix of textures in your kitchen. If all surfaces and cabinets are the same color or texture, or even something too similar, it makes the space feel hostile and unpleasant on the eyes.
Another important piece of the puzzle is the countertop vignette. Find something that contrasts the rest of the colors but doesn’t fight them for attention. Earthy wood, cold granite, the options are endless.
Kitchen backsplashes can be used as a great styling element, so don’t forget to pay attention to exactly how the tiles are laid and what color they are as you can make or break your kitchen’s aesthetic with your backsplash.
You probably don’t want to go for any over-the-top or excessively intricate accessories, as that can tend to crowd your kitchen and make the whole place feel overwhelming. Keep it clean, keep it simple.
Art is always a welcome addition, but as in all other aspects, make sure to match your colors and don’t go to0 busy with the style!
Dark paints can set a nice tone for your kitchen, mossy green, or granite grey. Don’t get everything dark at once, but even just dark walls, window frames and other accessories can make a naturally dark room seem light.
And last but not least, coordinate colors and textures with your kitchen towels. This was a neat trick I picked up from Kitchen Remodeling Springfield MA. Every little detail counts, so don’t rush through the process. Take your time and the outcome will be rewarding.
Got a basement that you’re looking to repurpose into something a little more interesting? Why not turn it into a room for games and recreation? Of all the things you could use a basement for, a game room is one of the most popular and interesting choices. But where would you start? Most people aren’t familiar with what you’d need to do to get it done, but don’t worry! In this article we’re going to go through a few of the things you’ll want to do to get that game room up and cracking and ready for use.
The first thing you’ll want to get on top of is the insulation. If you’ve got the patience and the know-how, then you can do it yourself. Hiring a professional is always a safe bet if you want to get the most out of your space. Proper insulation and air conditioning will keep all the gaming equipment in good condition and safe from getting damp and damaged.
Another thing you’ll want to think about is soundproofing. With a soundproofed game room you won’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors, waking up your kids or disturbing anyone while having fun. You’ll be able to enjoy your game room completely without worrying about noise levels.
With all the game equipment, computers, PlayStations and/or Xboxes you’re going to keep in your game room, there are bound to be lots of cables and wires. Setting up a good system for keeping those cables covered and out of the way will not only leave you with more space for activities, but it’ll keep the cables safe and in good condition.
As a homeowner, and especially if you have a decent size property, chances are you have landscaping needs. Property landscapes here in New England come in all types, but most commonly they will be green and have some trees and shrubs. It pays to know a good tree service company locally or a good landscaper to help clean up, and maintain your greenery. A few things a tree service expert or landscaper can do for you is help to improve your front yard and curb appeal for your home. Adding stone borders with pretty bushes and mulch beds creates amazing visual appeal, and will help any home look more complete. Not only will it add a cleaned up look, but by adding greenery and color with some flowers you will be surprised at the difference it will make in how inviting your home will look and feel. Most days people are busy going about their day-to-day, and trying to find the time to garden and set up your yard is a challenge. That’s why there are often many choices for landscaping companies that can come do those services for you, often saving you a lot of time and headache because they have the tools and experience to do a really nice job that probably would have taken you much longer to look as nice.
On our property, there was a lot of construction done on the house and after all the building was complete our yard looked like a barren deserted heap of dry ground. There were hundreds of rocks that had been dug up when contractors did an addition, and clearing those rocks away was a tedious task. Once the rocks were cleared, we raked the ground smooth, and added some peat moss as well as fertilizer to re-mineralize the soil. We’ve managed to replant some grass, however all along the edge of the front of the house it still looks quite sad. We have been attempting to find time to create some flower beds ourselves, but at this point time is ticking away and we are realizing that calling in the experts will probably be a better decision in the long run. We are getting multiple quotes and finding out who can be the best fit for our needs. Pricing ranges wildly, but looking online at previous customer reviews is helping us decide who has a better track record for good work. Some of our trees area also looking really overgrown, so we’ve called in a local tree trimming Lowell company to take care of that for us. So between the landscaper and the tree guy we are definitely putting in an investment in our property, but it is worth it for the time saving as well as the peace of mind that our yard is in good hands.
Move over, bandage dresses. Queen Kaftan is here to rule the Fashion Kingdom. Think about it: light, flowy fabrics and subtly accentuating silhouettes… sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Well, this fashionable garment is definitely a reality. Endorsed by many elite designers and fierce fashionistas like Mary Kate Olsen and Ciara, the Kaftan has become a luxury fashion staple. But that’s not the only reason we’re in love with it. It’s super adaptable, easy to put together, and looks instantly stylish—and we think every girl’s gotta own one.
But First, What Is A Kaftan?
The Kaftan comes in a sea of variations of style and cut—so we understand it can be confusing to identify. To put it simply, a kaftan (or caftan) is a robe- or tunic-like garment that is often made of lightweight, even sheer fabrics. It can have short or long flared sleeves, and a closed or open front, secured by a belt.
A more telling indicator of a kaftan would be bold eastern-influenced prints and colors, as well as a touch of embroidery or embellishment around the neckline and/or sleeves.
In modern day, you’d see it being used as beach cover-ups or casual resort wear, but the fabulous garment is steadily making its way to runways and red carpets too.
Origins Of The Kaftan
The Kaftan is no new style of clothing. Seen from as early as 600 BC, it was originally worn by men in the Mesopotamian era—the cradle of civilization. Yup, that’s right. The Kaftan’s been around pretty much since the birth of textiles. That explains the no-fuss construction: a piece of fabric was folded over, the neck hole was cut out, and it was slipped over the head and cinched at the waist with a rope. With time, it was thought to stitch up the sides of the garment, leaving room for the arms.
Slowly, by the 13th century, the trend spread to East Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia, where it grew to become variants of the traditional outfit. The Ottoman Empire—which ruled most of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa in the 12th and 13th century—most likely contributed to the popularization of the Kaftan.
It’s hard to imagine, but this modern lounge-style dress was common clothing for men of all backgrounds in the era—right from heavily embellished robes for the sultans, to more functional, comfortable ones for commonfolk. In fact, Sultan Kaftans were made with different buttons and ribbons, and in different colors and textile patterns to mark the rank of the wearer.
Kaftans ‘Round The Globe
It’s fascinating how this single clothing concept took shape in different ways across different cultures. Here are some such variations that you may identify even today:
Not to be confused with the Takshita (the traditional two-piece dress), the Moroccan Kaftan is a one-piece outfit worn on almost any occasion—but only by women. You’ll find them in ornate fabrics as well as simple patterns, for formal and casual wear. Today’s Moroccan Kaftan has sewed-on fitted or bell sleeves, as opposed to the original no-stitch armholes.
West Africans have retained the traditional look and feel of the Kaftan, continuing to wear them as pullovers. Both men and women wear this garment, in vivacious colors and patterns. Casual ones are usually ankle-length and made of synthetic, while formal ones use brocades and other decadent fabrics.
Inspired by their Persian neighbors, Pakistanis and Indians have followed Kaftan suit. It’s not uncommon to find the traditional Kurta replaced with a Kaftan-esque piece, complete with intricate embroidery or traditional textile techniques. In these countries, the Kaftan is worn as a top, paired with leggings or wide pants.
Kaftan & Western Fashion
You’re probably wondering how on earth this primarily eastern outfit landed up on magazines and fashion runways. Well, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the western world caught wind of this breezy garment.
At the turn of the century, when women were still clinging to their corsets (or was it the other way around?) fashion designers were trying hard to break norms and relax silhouettes. One such pioneer was French designer Paul Poiret, who was heavily influenced by Eastern fashion—more specifically, the kaftan.
And that’s what heavily influenced the loose-fitted, free-waisted Flapper dress— yes, we’re talking about the roaring 20s, Great Gatsby and all that jazz. But when Kaftans really came to stay was the 60s—the era of hippies, flowers, and free spirit. Diana Vreeland, the then editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, brought kaftans to the front page, setting the trend amongst the fashion elite.
Oscar de la Renta, Vogue 1967
The Beatles, too, chimed in with their Indian Kaftan (Sherwani) outfits, post their visit to the country. Soon, rockstars and designers both picked up the trend, bringing the Kaftan to the forefront of fashion at the time.
The Beatles in Nehru jackets/ Sherwanis, 1967
Pages and pages of impeccably styled Kaftans flooded Vogue magazine, while fashion icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Talitha Getty rocked the outfit in reality.
Grace Kelly, 1972
Today’s Kaftan Fashion
With ‘boho chic’ coming back with a bang this decade, it’s no surprise that the Kaftan has returned to rule. Today, the kaftan is a staple in every bohemian-style wardrobe; its freeing silhouette and effortless elegance is synonymous with the current mood of liberation.
That’s probably why you’ll have seen the garment taking gorgeous forms on designer runways and celebrity red carpets. Celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe is a die-hard Kaftan fan, calling one of the “most versatile garments”. Designers Emilio Pucci, Naeem Khan and Missoni never miss a stunning Kaftan in their boho resort collections.
Kim Kardashian in Naeem Khan
So now that you’re sold on this timeless piece of clothing, we’ve got to get you up to speed on what’s in store.
Short Kaftans/ Kaftan Tops
These can be of hip or thigh length. You can wear them as cover-ups over your bikini, or with pants for a casual, sunny look. Choose from sheer and non-sheer options.
Maxi/ Midi Kaftans
What’s not to love about these subtly dramatic dresses? Taking direct inspiration from its traditional avatar, these style are calf, ankle or full length. They’re usually made of soft, light fabrics that caress your curves without clinging on.
Batwing: You’ve probably guessed what this looks like. Essentially, it’s the basic fold-over kaftan that develops these batwing-like sleeves, earning the name.
Dolman sleeves: these are long sleeves that are extremely loose around the armhole, but tight around the wrist.
Kimono kaftan: The opposite of dolmans, the sleeves of these are flared at the wrist, like the Japanese Kimono. More often than not, they have an open front and the waist is secured with a drawstring or belt.
How To Rock A Kaftan
You’ve studied the history, and learned about the styles. Now, you’re all ready to add the Kaftan to your wardrobe. Not sure about how to go about styling it? Here are some super easy, uber-chic looks:
1. The Beach/ Pool Look
Let’s start with the simple one. Pick a kaftan that’s light colored and sheer, so you can show off your bikini or one-piece. Fabrics like chiffon or polyester work best for beach or pool cover-ups. Slip on a sun hat and a pair of sunglasses and flip-flops and you’re resort-ready.
2. The Boho Look
The key to choosing a contemporary bohemian kaftan is to look for organic fabrics and ethnic embroidery and prints. Look for medium heavy cottons or silks, in earthy tones like brown, beige,and off-white. Details like tassels and drawstring really take the look up a notch.
3. The Red Carpet Look
Special events call for understated opulence—something the Kaftan’s great for. Choose a luxurious fabric like a shimmery silk, or a soft modal jersey that will complement your curves like nobody’s business. A maxi kaftan gown, killer pumps and a clutch: that’s all you need to achieve effortless glamour.
4. The Summery Day Look
Who says kaftans are only for special occasions? Make them a part of your everyday wardrobe too! Kaftan tops are so convenient to wear with a pair of cigarette pants and wedges for a bright, casual look. You can even double up your beach kaftan as a top, by slipping it on over a tank top or bandeau.
5. The Lounge Look
It’s true! Given how ridiculously comfortable they are, kaftans are an obvious choice for loungewear. You could go for a soft jersey or cotton kaftan to relax in through the summer. They’re great to wear while chilling at home, running a quick errand, and even as sleepwear.
There you have it. If this doesn’t prove how versatile the Kaftan is, we don’t know what will! With so much cultural and historic significance, as well as contemporary innovation, it’s no wonder that it has become so popular. We’d love to hear how your journey with Kaftans has been. Tell us how you’ve been styling this beautiful garment.
The Modern Beach Kimono: How to Wear It and Why We Love It
Summer is here and as always, summer trends come along with the change in season! One of the hottest trends this summer? Beach kimonos! Beach kimonos are a trendy, breezy, flowy style to rock at the beach with your favorite bikini and swimwear, or as resort wear. Some style icons are even rocking their kimonos as edgy streetwear or boho festival wear — kimonos are that versatile! No matter your style or budget, kimonos are an amazing way to bring some flowy, flattering, sexy style into your daily wardrobe. Read on to learn more about what a kimono is, why we love kimonos, and how to wear beach kimonos and kimono kaftans — as demonstrated by some of your favorite celebrity style icons! We will cover not only how to wear a kimono on the beach as a coverup, but also how a beach kimono can be worn for festival wear and everyday wear, no matter what your personal style may be.
What is a kimono?
A kimono is a lightweight robe or wrap with a T-shape silhouette and long, wide sleeves. Traditionally, kimonos are ankle-length; however, beach kimonos and kimono cover ups tend to be a shorter length, from waist to mid-thigh or even hitting at the knee. Kimonos were originally a traditional Japanese outfit. The word kimono in Japanese literally means “thing to wear,” with “ki” meaning “wear” and “mono” meaning “thing.” In Japan, kimonos are traditionally worn for formal occasions or important festivals as a sign of politeness and good manners.
The kimono has been in the spotlight both in recent years from both a fashion and a historical perspective. Both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art put on shows highlighting the traditional Japanese kimono and its vibrant history. Traditional Japanese kimonos have been worn in Japan since the year 5 AD, and Western style began adapting the garment to a more versatile and casual piece over 150 years ago. Now, the term kimono refers to pretty much any open or sashed, loose, T-shaped jacket or wrap.
Why we love kimonos
Kimonos and kaftans are versatile items that can be worn year-round for any occasion! We love how flattering kimonos are, while still being able to show off the bikini or outfit underneath, especially with a sheer beach kimono or one left open. Kimonos can also provide a flattering streamlined silhouette to an outfit when combined with tighter clothing, such as a bikini, a fitted bodycon mini-dress, or a tight tank top with skinny jeans.
Women of all sizes and ages can wear beach kimonos both seaside and in their everyday lives! We love how mainstream kimonos have become because they are accessible for every style and price. Gorgeous kimonos and kaftans at a reasonable budget allow all women to channel their inner beach goddess, whether on a romantic tropical vacation, taking the kids to the pool, or stepping out for a night on the town!
Apart from being amazing beach accessories, coverups, and resort wear, beach kimonos can also help you add a boho accent to your outfit with a romantic, festival-inspired vibe. As you will see in the next section, kimonos can be a flowy, free-spirited addition to nearly any outfit, and can help you bring some boho glam to any look.
How to wear a kimono
As mentioned above, beach kimonos and kimono kaftans are almost too versatile, so it can be hard to figure out how exactly to work them into your wardrobe, whether for a beach vacation, a casual daytime look, or an evening out on the town. So, when figuring out how to wear a kimono, we decided to look to the style experts themselves: celebrity style icons! Here are how some of your favorite celebrities style their beach kimono looks.
Gillian Zinser from 90210 rocks a kimono-inspired coverup over a bikini top and cutoff shorts here. This is the most casual and carefree way we know to rock a kimono: adding a layer or pattern, flowiness, and style to a California beach and boardwalk outfit. The length of the kimono accentuates the shortness of Gillian’s shorts, creating an interesting silhouette. The boho pattern of the kimono also adds an element of edginess to Gillian’s otherwise classic look.
For this example, we have to highlight not one, not two, but three amazing beach kimono looks from Jessica Alba. We aren’t exaggerating when we say that Jessica Alba is the queen of beach kimonos. The actress, mom, and businesswoman rocks amazing kimonos on the beach and off! Here you can see her gorgeous, effortless boho-chic looks. She combines pretty, flowy kimonos with laid-back-but-chic accessories for the perfect beach looks. In the second photo, she wears a longer kaftan kimono cover up that works both as a beach cover up and a dress for a laid-back, yet classy, beach evening out.
Finally, in the third picture, Jessica proves that kimonos can stand on their own without accessories, as she wears a simple black bikini, black and white patterned beach kimono, and sunglasses. Jessica Alba is proof that beach kimonos are versatile looks that make any bikini or beach outfit look incredible.
Finally, Kate Hudson struts her stuff in a flowy kimono beach coverup in Greece, yet again showing how the beach kimono can serve as an effortless-yet-stylish beach and resort wear item.
Now that we’ve shown you how to wear a beach kimono on the beach, let’s take a look at how today’s hottest celebrities are using kimonos to elevate their festival style.
Here, Alessandra Ambrosio wears a longer, kaftan-style kimono over a swimsuit and cut-off jean shorts at Coachella. Kimonos are a Coachella staple, providing not only a comfortable, flowy style piece but also a wrap for the colder California desert nights. Alessandra adds an additional boho and hippie vibe to her look with a flower crown and gladiator-style sandals, making this a classic Coachella look with comfort, style, fun, and function.
Also at Coachella, Nina Dobrev adds a kimono-style duster to a versatile look that not only works for the music festival, but also could be a gorgeous outfit for a date night or a day in New York City. This shows how versatile kimonos, both beach kimonos and the more wintery styles, can really be! Like Alessandra, Nina pairs her outfit with boho accessories such as layered necklaces and a floppy hat, adding additional edge and style to her look. Nina’s look can also be transitioned to fall by adding a pair of tights, showing that kimonos are not just for the warmer seasons or the beach!
It’s impossible to mention Coachella without the Coachella style queen herself, Vanessa Hudgens. Vanessa has rocked amazing outfits at every year of Coachella that she has attended, and the outfit above is no exception! This is a bold choice to have the kimono be the pop of color and pattern for the entire look. The beach kimono also serves as a touch of softness in an outfit that is otherwise edgy, with all black, studs, and a choker. This is a great example of how a kimono can truly act as a statement piece. On the other hand, wearing a solid color kimono or a sheer beach kimono can actually serve to balance an otherwise loud or colorful outfit.
As we move away from the sandy runways of the beach and the desert, it’s time to take a look at how to wear a kimono for an everyday look, whether you are spending a day walking around the city or enjoying a girl’s night out. The celebrity looks below use kimonos as a pop of color, but monochromatic outfits with a strong solid neutral colored kimono can also be an elegant, stylish choice for your everyday wear.
Can you think of a more everyday activity than buying groceries? Gigi Hadid shows how a long, kaftan- or duster-style kimono can add a pop of color and style to an otherwise monochromatic outfit. She looks classic and chic in her skin-tight, all-black ensemble; adding the kimono gives her a unique look, which is part of why she is such an incredible style icon.
With a more professional, polished style, Florence Welsh wears a kimono-inspired blazer with a tie-front blouse and fitted jeans, plus a stylish and subtle block heel. The blazer’s sleeves and pattern call to mind the traditional Japanese kimonos, while the slightly more fitted silhouette makes this a modern and elegant look for a day at the office or a night on the town. Much like Gigi and Vanessa’s outfits above, Florence’s outfit uses the kimono as the only pop of color in the outfit. Alternatively, using more neutral-colored beach kimonos like our black kimono kaftan can be a great way to tie together a colorful outfit or streamline a look full of patterns.
Last but not least, how could we decline to mention Beyonce? One thing we have not yet mentioned about how to wear kimonos is that kimonos make amazing maternity wear. They are stylish but not fitted or constricting, and can add a pop of glam to nearly any look, as evidenced in this maternity outfit that Beyonce wore while pregnant with her twins. The gold kimono acts as an amazing pop of color in an otherwise monochromatic, chic, all-black outfit. It also provides a streamlined silhouette and an element of comfort.
A note on kimonos as maternity wear: One of the reasons that kimonos make for amazing maternity wear is that you don’t have to buy them from the maternity section, and you don’t have to stop wearing them once you are back in regular styles and sizes of clothes after your pregnancy! As mentioned above, beach kimonos and kaftan kimonos provide a streamlined silhouette and a flexible, stylish option to make any maternity outfit into a fashion statement.
Now that you have seen how some of the most fashionable celebrities rock beach kimonos and kimono kaftans, are you ready to try this versatile piece out in your own closet? Kimonos are trendy, breezy summer kimonos for the beach and resort wear at an affordable price. They come in several classic solids, such as a black kimono kaftan, as well as with a splash of color or pattern, depending on the style of kimono, kaftan, or kaftan kimono you choose!
These caftan designs strive to reference the traditional kaftan and kimono look, while adding a contemporary aesthetic, making them accessible and appealing to every woman. Many caftan designs are influenced by the traditional Japanese kimono, as well as the shapes, colors, and cultures of Morocco, Greece, Mexico, India, and the Caribbean. With caftans you can strive to add a contemporary flair to more traditional dress, and specifically select colors and styles to flatter all skin tones, ages, and sizes of women!
Kimonos can be easily matched with your favorite bikini and swimwear as a kimono coverup, or thrown over a stylish outfit as a wrap. Try out sheer kimonos that can show off your bikini, lingerie, or outfit underneath a little bit more for that extra bit of appeal. Kaftan kimonos offer a more dramatic ankle-length look, with pearl buttons and side slits, perfect for a head-turning beach outfit or a flowy night out ensemble.
Overall, kimonos are an amazing way to streamline an outfit, add a boho edge to your look, or simply look stylish in a coverup at the beach or pool this summer. We hope this article helped you figure out how to wear a kimono and gave you some inspiration for your summer look! If you are looking for a stylish, simple, classic beach kimono or beach kimono kaftan, take a look at cool kimonos and sheer beach kimonos. There are a variety of styles and colors of kimonos and kaftans online to fit your personal style, budget, and summer plans.
Let me tell you a secret: fashion editors don’t pile on a lot of clothing. I know, I know. It seems counter-intuitive. But fashion editors, when they can, only drape one piece of clothing over their bodies, call it an outfit, and head out the door. It may not sound fabulous on the onset, but if former American Vogue editor Vreeland was a major caftan wearer (known for it the way present Vogue editor Anna Wintour is known for her bob cut and sunnies), then there’s definitely something about caftans that editors approve.
Then again, the caftan looks luxurious because it is luxurious. It has a rich history in the world of fashion—literally and figuratively. But way before it found its way to America and became the exotic glory that is representative of the bohemian fashion we just love, caftans have already been worn in different parts of the globe by different ranks of people—many of them, royals. At one point, they were even presented as gifts to guests of the Ottoman Empire court. You see what I’m talking about now?
In its simplest level, caftans are really just a huge piece of garment with holes for the head and arms to come through. It hangs loosely over the body, yet the soft, breezy fabric caftans are usually made with highlight the body’s movements and builds up that alluring factor. Sometimes it opens on the front like a robe, and sometimes it’s cinched at the waist by an adorned belt. I know that doesn’t sound like the most immediately feminine thing ever, but that’s because caftans weren’t fashionably intriguing until the 1950’s, when world-known designer Christian Dior released something that is wearable for the modern American woman.
But waaay before models walked on the runway wearing caftans, caftans were worn in courts. Its origins are traced back to Mesopotamia, although the garment isn’t exclusive to there. Similar long dresses and robes like the caftan can be found all over the map. Japan have their kimonos, and the Chinese have something that doesn’t fall far, the hanfu—flowy robes with huge long sleeves if you noticed. Morocco has takchita—two separates with a jacket and a matching belt for the waist. North Africa has djellaba, and West Africa has the boubou. —which the Middle East also has (bear with me!).
Now, that’s a lot of countries, but we lounge at the beach today looking like royalty because it is inherent in the caftan. Perhaps it’s even how we come to enjoy a variety of styles today, as designers get their influence from so many countries.
Which brings us to, how did the caftan arrive in America? Well, the caftan had several appearances and influences years prior to Dior’s first caftan release. Fashion historian Anna Yanovsky, who discussed caftans on Collectors Weekly and Nomad-Chic, said that actually, there isn’t a single moment in fashion history we can put a flag on and declare, “This is when caftans started being worn in the Western World.” It was really more like, the appeal of the loose, flowy dress seeped in increments as American fashion sense evolved.
But if we need a starting point, then we can perhaps credit it to the Russian Czarina Alexandra, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of Russian tyrant ruler Czar Nicholas II. The embellished coronation dress that she wore—which heavily resembled Ottoman sultan caftans—appealed to the tight-corset-wearing women of the Western World in the latter part of the 1890s. Hopping around your room trying to fit into skinny jeans must be a watered-down version of heaving to wear tight, constricting corsets—so the idea of wearing something loose and light, to say the least, rocked and intrigued the Western World. Not to mention, the fascination with what was exotic and strange was also prompted by the czarina.
The flapper dresses in the 1920s were a sign, of course, that fashion was moving towards the liberation of women from tight, uncomfortable wear. But it wasn’t exactly a clean, final transition. Yanofsky notes that throughout the 1900s, the most fashionable item on the wardrobe shifted from loose to figure-hugging and back. “It’s a cyclical back-and-forth caused by people reacting to what came before,”
In the 1950’s, Dior released the H-line dress, which was much of a throwback to the drop-waist dress of the 1920s—with the waist kind of there but not. When he took young Yves Saint Laurent under his wing, the Dior fashion house produced more figure-liberating dresses, such as the A-line and the Y-line. Loose, cinched at the waist, but only just, so the result is more freedom of movement for the women.
Diana Vreeland only added coal to the fire. Being the editor of the fashion bible Vogue, the caftan gained much feminine power from the spreads Vreeland directed. Story goes, Vreeland sent women to different parts of the globe wearing these flowy, light dresses. Major celebrity stars Elizabeth Taylor, and, of course, that one iconic photo of Talitha Getty on a rooftop in a printed white caftan. These power celebs lounging in caftans sparked the boho-chic sense of style.
Fast-forward to the 2000s, when there are multiple channels on the Internet through which sartorial sensibilities could treacle down to consumers. While leather jackets and skinny jeans remain as the go-to fashionable outfit of the modern woman, bohemian dresses and vacation wear like the long, flowy caftans have always been a mainstay at the back seat.
Which brings us to the question, how on earth do you wear a caftan?
I get the initial doubts. I’ve had it. The first time you lay your eyes on it, caftans look unflattering and shapeless; worn wrong, and you can basically run the risk of looking a decade older. Worn right, caftans can make you feel like the most powerful lady in the room. So here are some tips.
First, you’ve got to find a caftan style that suits you. It’s advice that goes for everything else, and if you master this for caftan shopping, trust me: it can easily become your new wardrobe staple.
There are handful of styles of caftan according to length and sleeves, influenced by the many types of traditional and ceremonial caftans from around the globe. In any case, the modern caftans differ mainly in terms of length and sleeves.
In terms of length, caftans can be in full-length (a.k.a., maxi). They can also be in midi-length as well as mini-length.
If you’re just dipping your toes into the whole thing, the short ones are definitely one to try out. They’re cute, easy, and hip. But nothing quite ever feels as fluid and glamorous as the caftan maxi dress. It’s the easiest way to look like a million dollars.
Caftans commonly feature long sleeves. Regular long sleeves are a given, but other common ones are the traditional kimono sleeves, which are straight, wide sleeves, and bell sleeves, which feather down your arms because of the flared shape. Trendier sleeves are the one-shouldered type and the cut-out shoulder type—always romantic and sexy, if you ask me.
Caftans also come in many fabrics. Silk is a luxurious type, defined by its sheen and softness to the touch. Cotton is soft, too, and the quality ones are usually opaque. Crepe fabric can be either rough to touch or soft to touch, depending on the subtype, but also has a flowy quality to it; crinkles are obvious with this material. Then there’s chiffon, which are usually light and slightly transparent—like the fabric used for see-through beach cover-ups.
Choosing the right color and pattern for you is also important. Seeing as caftans are one huge piece of fabric (something designers just love, because they can show off their luxurious prints and fabrics with caftan dresses), you have to pick a color or print that goes well with your skin tone and your age. Prints in lighter colors naturally look more youthful, although do not be afraid of wearing darker, bolder prints. The key to that, of course, is knowing where you can wear a caftan dress to.
So where can you wear it to? Definitely, the caftans are more wearable in the spring and summer months. They’re an obvious staple for the beach and pool; staycation destinations are also a go. But of course, you can incorporate the caftan dress to more events—its glamorous look can work very well for evening parties or, as editor Rachel Zoe pointed out, even to black-tie events. The maxi caftan dress can also be worn in formal events.
You can also wear caftans as a music festival outfit. Boho-chic princess, Vanessa Hudgens, wears a caftans to choachella.
A short caftan—may it be midi or mini—can be dressed up with gladiator sandals, long earrings, and a layer of rings on your fingers for a truly bohemian, effortless look. Balance out the length with beach waves. Nude make-up is great, as it lends a laid back, natural appeal to your whole outfit.
Long caftans can be worn with sandal heels and bejeweled earrings. While women can let their hair down with a long caftan, a top bun is best for balancing the silhouette out. Some minimal make-up—and perhaps a bold lipstick like a classic red—can go with long caftans, depending on the print and color of the dress.
We absolutely love our new house, however the floors were in pretty bad shape. Turns out there was some decent hardwood flooring under the carpets once we ripped out the old shag rugs from our 1964 Ranch. Many times I’m sure this situation has come up for people when renovating or flipping a house, making the decision to either take out all the flooring and put brand new flooring in, or instead to try and restore the existing floors. Stylistically, people may have preferences especially when some of the flooring from the 60’s was very much from that era, and the current trends tend to lean towards wider sized long floor planks, and less cross-bone hatch patterns. Luckily our floors were your standard 3 inch wide planks that are found in countless homes in New England. But the issue here was that there were some holes, gaps, staples, as well as dark staining from moisture damage. We weren’t sure that it was even possible to get these floors refinished, but we decided to at least get a professional’s opinion on them before we ripped them all out to install new flooring, which was probably going to get very expensive if we went that route. The benefit to new flooring of course is that you get to pick out the style you want, as well as the stain or color. And there are many options for materials as well, such as tile that looks like hardwood.
But when we discovered that it was in fact very feasible to get our current old hardwood floors refinished, at a fraction of the cost of installing new floors, we decided that it was a better use of our money at that time. We search for the best hardwood floor refinishing Boston company around, and booked them. The job only took a few days, with dustless sanding, multiple rounds of fine ground sanding actually, which took off all the old polyurethane layers as well as stains, wear and damage, and took it down to the raw unfinished wood. Then a few coats of stain and polish, with a few days of drying time, and our floors looked really incredible! We couldn’t believe the transformation.