Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a roomy sack with just the barest suggestion of structure? Something flowy and forgiving that drapes around your body in a way that’s elegant and also mysterious? (Like, what’s she hiding under there? A dozen donuts? Maybe.)
Of course you would. That’s why you need a caftan, or its Hawaiian cousin, the muumuu. You need a caftan like you need air or coffee or pictures of puppies and kittens snuggling. In other words, a caftan is a primal need.
Technically, according to Vogue, a caftan (or kaftan) is a “narrow cut, long robe with full sleeves, either with a deep open neck or fully open to the floor,” with origins in ancient Mesopotamia. The muumuu comes from Hawaii, and the word means “cut off” ― a reference to the original garment’s yoke-less neckline. But any version of these loose-fitting garments suits us now.
Some of Hollywood’s most beloved icons have made the caftan/muumuu look legendary. On “Transparent,” Jeffrey Tambor’s transgender character Maura loved a caftan. On “Golden Girls,” Bea Arthur’s Dorothy Zbornak rocked them with impunity. And Liz Taylor, in her day, was the reigning Caftan Queen.
You don’t need any more convincing, so here are 11 caftans and muumuus ― and a few billowy dresses that were too irresistible to leave out ― for you to slip into and swan about the house.
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