Kaftans are a type of long-flowing robe or overgarment. The word kaftan comes from Persian and means to cover. Kaftans became popular in Europe in the 20th century, but they’ve existed for hundreds of years. Today, they’re more popular than ever; you can find them everywhere, from vintage stores to high-end boutiques!
So, what’s so special about these flowing robes? They’re both sensual and comfortable, making them perfect for lounging around or dressing up an outfit with a splash of colour and style.
Kaftans are usually made of lightweight, flowing fabric and are typically loose-fitting. They can be worn with a belt around the waist or over one shoulder. They’re often seen as an Eastern alternative to Western clothing, such as jeans and t-shirts.
Popular in several cultures
Kaftans were worn in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and the Americas. They were worn by royalty and commoners alike.
Kaftans were worn by both men and women across many different faiths. The garment was usually loose-fitting with long sleeves. Sometimes they had a hood or wrap that provided extra warmth to the wearer during cold weather.
Europeans made them their own
You may be surprised to learn that the kaftan is not a strictly Middle Eastern garment. It’s worn worldwide, from Asia to Africa and even Europe. First introduced by the Ottomans in the 15th century, kaftans were soon incorporated into many cultures’ wardrobes as their popularity spread across continents.
In Turkey and Egypt (where they’re called caftans), these loose robes are traditionally worn as outerwear over tunics or shirts; men often wear them with shalwars (loose pants) underneath, while women typically don them with skirts or dresses underneath. They’re also trendy among Indian Muslims, who prefer them over Western-style suits and jackets when attending religious ceremonies such as weddings.
Kaftans have also been adopted by some African countries like Nigeria, where they’re known as Akadaniya. This term has its roots in Arabic but was adopted by local languages during colonialism because it’s easier to pronounce than “kaf taneh”. In Morocco, they’re referred to as Tobehs.
The Europeans initially adopted the dressing style in the 1930s, and later in the 1970s, they became fashionable again as part of the hippy style.
Kaftans are more popular than ever
They’re often made using silk or cotton, so they can be both lightweight and warm simultaneously, perfect for days spent lounging on the beach!
Kaftans can be short or long, loose-fitting or tight-fitting, colourful or neutral. Some styles have sleeves while others do not (although those tend to be more common). A few even have hoods attached. You’ll find that many different types of people wear these versatile pieces:
- Celebrities like Beyonce have been seen sporting them on red carpets.
- Models often wear them during photo shoots.
- Even high school students have been known to embrace this trend.
It’s never too late
If you live where summers are scorching and winters are cold, you need something versatile enough for both conditions. If you think about it, there’s only one way to go: choosing the old, sensuous robe.
Consider getting yourself an acrylic kaftan online because they are so relaxed and comfortable. They come in all kinds of styles, from short ones with prints to long ones with embroidery, and they come in eclectic colours (like red).
Hope you enjoyed learning about the beloved kaftan and its history. If you want to take it one step further, why not invest in one? They’re great for all occasions, whether they be formal or casual. They are a great way to express yourself!