Culturally tied to regions of the Middle East and northern Africa, the loose-fitting caftan is designed to provide a reprieve from warmer weather as a single layer or a flowy overshirt (making it perfect to drape over your favorite one-piece swimsuit on beach days). Iterations of this historical garment have more recently been favored by the Olsen twins and even donned on the 2020 Oscar de la Renta runway. For the summer, pairing a caftan with a straw bag, artistic jewelry, or a head scarf will be a perfect way to dress up while dressing down.
Caftans are still a very popular traditional dress to wear in Morocco, where they are worn by women rather than men, and they can be bought in a wide range of fabrics, colours and designs, and are worn to weddings, engagement parties, and other formal occasions. There are even top-end designer Moroccan kaftans that retail for a lot of money, as well as simpler ones for more casual events. They are also worn in West Africa, where they are also known as a boubou, and these kaftans are simple robes that slip over the head and are often very brightly coloured and patterned. There is also a tradition of wearing them in Southeast Asia, where the fabrics that are used to make the kaftans have been dyed using the batik method of producing colourful floral and abstract patterns.
One of the most popular ways of wearing one these days is as a coverup on the beach. A kaftan made from a light, breezy fabric is the perfect thing to accessorize with your bikini or swimsuit and as a long one covers most of your body it can really help to protect your skin from burning due to the strong rays of the sun. Because this is not a fitted garment, it will also help you to stay cool on those long hot days on the sand and is also great if you are a bit self-conscious about your body in swimwear and want to cover up but still stay cool and look gorgeous.
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