Kaftan (Caftan) Dress
A Kaftan is a considerably long gown with open front and long sleeves. At times it is worn over a dress as an overall gown. It is often buttoned at the front or is belted in the middle. Mostly a Kaftan has embroidery patterns or fine beads work, and its sleeves are wider than an average dress. This dress is essentially linked with Islamic cultures and the Muslim tradition, however many Hollywood actresses have also worn it for style. Kaftan that originated in the Middle East, is now quite popular among Muslim men and women.
Kaftan for men is a full length dress with collar, full sleeves and some embroidery on the front and sleeves. Men’s Kaftans are usually buttoned on the front. They are preferably made of cotton fabric. In Senegal men’s Kaftans are designed in cotton. In history, men wore Kaftans as court dresses. A Kaftan could be a general or nobleman’s bounty or it could be a symbol of rank and status. Turkish Kaftans were most popular among Ottoman rulers and in that era women in Turkey wore Kaftan with a sash. People in Southeast Asia liked wearing Kaftan in summer and tailored it in Batik fabric.
Women’s Kaftan is also known as Jalabiya. In the past it was a preferred dress among Moroccan women while the West African women called it Boubou and wore it as a pullover gown. Kaftan gained popularity in the West from 1960s onwards and became the fashionable attire of many film stars.
Fabric and Style in Women’s Kaftan
Women’s Kaftans are made in Silk Satin, Raw Silk, Chiffon, Georgette, and Habutai silk. They are classified as short and long kaftans. Shorter tunic style Kaftans can be used as trendy tops to wear over jeans and trousers. Longer Kaftans are full length or ankle length and carry the elegance of party wear. These garments carry traditional motifs, or they are embellished with sequins and zari work. Beaded embroidery, colorful floral and traditional patterns are distinguishing features of a Kaftan.
Modern trends in women’s Kaftan bring to mind a large rectangular piece of fine and soft fabric doubled with an opening in the middle which is taken as a hole for the neck. It is stitched up on the sides allowing reasonable opening space for arms and a self-tie belt in the middle section. The neckline is often decorated with attractive embroidery patterns or beads work. A Kaftan’s neckline can be square, round or V shaped. Some styles show buttons on the front.
Layered Kaftans designed in Chiffon impart style and elegance to women. These in bright, catchy colors are favorite party dresses that promise glamour, comfort and ease. In summer cotton Kaftans are preferred for casual wear. They are designed in cool pastels and slashed sleeve style.
Kaftan is a popular dress among Middle Eastern countries. People in many regions wear it for a national dress. It is a comfortable and cooler dress for both genders that allows everyone to carry themselves with grace and glamour.