Trend Watch

Sexy, Summery Kaftans


As the languid, leisurely days of summer befall us, there is only one question on our minds: what the hell are we supposed to wear in this torrid, tropical heat? Jeans are definitely out of the question for daytime, but some days, even cutoffs and a tank top feel oppressive and clingy against our melting skin. The solution is a retro staple of island life – and one that admittedly gets a bad rap – the kaftan.

Push all those horrific images of matronly muumuus out of your head, please, because even Lagerfeld got behind this trend for Chanel’s Resort collection, opening the show with a long, silky kaftan, printed like a pastel kaleidoscope. Pucci’s Spring Collection was a menagerie of floaty chiffon kaftans, worn with hippie headscarves and knee-high leather rock n’ roll boots. Other designers took a less-literal approach, and came up with the easy white wearability at Diane von Furstenberg, or the slouchy, gathered Kimono-esque garb at Kenzo.

Formerly, the best way to wear a kaftan was over your bikini – but you don’t have to limit your kaftan-wearing to simply poolside. This season, there’s a kaftan for every occasion; consider them your new sweltering summer staple. There's nothing easier than slipping on one glorious, lightweight piece and being good to go.

Topshop, ASOS, Roberto Cavalli© Topshop, ASOS, Roberto CavalliFor casual summer cool, slip into the Blue Crochet Edge Kaftan from Topshop - let this over-sized piece speak for itself by wearing just a pair of faded denim cut-offs underneath, and showing a lot of leg in chunky, wrap-around espadrilles or platform sandals. Pick up on the crochet detail with other earthy, bohemian accessories like wooden bead necklaces and bracelets, a fringed leather bag, or a chic, patterened scarf tied around your hair.

The ASOS Petite Chiffon Kaftan Dress is simple and sexy with its soft gathers and swishy mini skirt. We love the understated nude color – sleek and minimal, and shows off a great tan. Wear this glamorous little dress with sparkly pumps and big gold accessories (earrings, bracelets, beaded minaudiere) for a disco-vibe, or dress it down for daytime with a wide, colorful belt and flats.

If you're looking for something really fabulous, check out this Marron Silk Kaftan by Roberto Cavalli. Cut like a traditional kaftan – ankle length with a pointed hem, low v-neck and wide, batwing sleeves – this dramatic dress is just begging to be worn with strappy metallic sandals and shoulder-sweeping earrings to some decadent party on an island somewhere. Love the sophisticated brown print, which is unusual and unique without being Mrs. Roeper-ridiculous.

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