I don’t know how it happened, but I have become famous for my caftans. I’m the caftan queen. I have more caftans than Lawrence of Arabia. They are very chic and extremely comfortable – so comfortable that I see the caftan as an acceptable way to wear a nightgown in public.
People seem to think that I’m unique for swanning around in them, but I remember being inspired by photographs of great beauties wearing caftans in Vogue magazine in the 1960s. Fashion icons, including Talitha Getty, Marella Agnelli, and Elizabeth Taylor, posed in exotic locations, looking sun-kissed, romantic, and daring, their caftans blowing in the breeze. More recently, Kate Moss could be seen modeling a caftan in fashion layouts.
I first started wearing them in the 1970s, when they were still considered Bohemian, and that was about as Bohemian as I ever got. At the time, they were likely to be tie-dyed. Caftans were great for the beach and parties at home, and perfect if you were pregnant and trying to conceal a baby. Now, I have an entire wardrobe of caftans. They’re so versatile that I wear them for many different kinds of occasions, and especially when I’m entertaining at home.
The trick is to select one that fits properly and to pair it with the right accessories. If you are tall, you can wear one that is voluminous because it will drape properly. If you are curvy or full-figured, a caftan offers great camouflage. And if you are petite, you want to make sure you get one that doesn’t have an excessive amount of fabric. I like the ones that are stitched down the sides because they look loose and structured at the same time.
I’ve found my best caftans in a variety of places, from designer showrooms to a marketplace in India. I love a caftan with a sense of humor.
Big, bold, jewelry makes a caftan come to life. It is an exotic look and you should have fun with it. I do! Add cuffs, bracelets, heavy necklaces, dangly earrings, a multitude of rings, and you’re good to go. Whether your jewelry is real or costume – and a mixture can be nice -- a caftan is a great canvas for your most flamboyant, attention-getting pieces, and lots of them. Sometimes more is not enough.
You can add flat shoes or sandals for a casual effect. But when it is time to dress up, put on your highest heels and don’t be shy.