The Caftan? Really?

caftan in a store window

And a floral print is somehow supposed to make it better?

By Aja Lownes

I think the only person I have ever seen look gorgeous in a caftan was Jackie O in a photo from the 70s. And that's because Jackie O was magic and looked good in absolutely everything. Regular woman generally look pretty foolish in these things. Still, this frightening 70s trend is back, and it's popping up in stores all over the Capital Region.

If you are short, a caftan will make you look shorter. If you are tall, it will make you look gargantuan. And no matter the body-type, every woman will look like she is wearing a tent. I know this because I tried several on.

Still, somehow, the caftan has become this summer's trend. If you're one of the women that can pull a caftan off (bless you), or if you just really need to try one for yourself, you won't have look hard. (Try Old Navy --they're on sale there.)

caftan 2.jpgI suspect the re-birth of the caftan is a direct result of the controversial Hollywood stylist and creative Rachel Zoe. She's dressed the likes of Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan. And Zoe is now the creative consultant for 70s fashion powerhouse Halston, a line known for these exact types of dresses. It seems her influence has officially trickled down to the masses.

The thing about the caftan is that it is supposed to be a comfortable, sort of bohemian-chic garment. This would explain why each and every one that I came across had a psychedelic print, and was made of jersey (which can be an unforgiving fabric) or light-weight woven cotton. If they were just for hanging out, I might not be so appalled. But judging by the pricing -- $58.95 at NY & Company to $88 at Express at Crossgates -- these things are meant to be worn out; not just to lounge around in, or to the beach.

If you really like them but wouldn't deign to wear one, a printed tunic is less expensive, more forgiving, and certainly a more versatile alternative.


Yes, the "starter muumuu" is now in vogue again! I'll be buying stock in leisure suit companies and hiding under a rock if you need me!

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this trend totally goofy. It's just sooo much fabric.

I think it looks comfy...give me a tumbler filled with a G&T, a cig, big sunglasses, a part down the middle and call me Annie Hall...

The right body type can totally pull these off. Angelina Jolie looked great in them- post pregnancy- and Paris Hilton also looks sensational in the dress.

I saw a bunch of trendy, stylish (and even slim-fitting) ones at BCBG this weekend. They were on sale for about $245, but totally summer wedding-appropriate, making that price reasonable!

whoa. whoa. whoa.

back the ish up. this is a MAXI DRESS, a long dress, usually cut on the bias or made out of a jersey or lycra blended fabric to feel and appear whispy and flow freely. there is nothing wrong with this style, and given the right personal advisor, almost anyone can enjoy the freedom this dress provides (forgive me, there is a RANGE of fabrics and cuts that can do a body justice). H & M has cheapies ( bought one for $15, another for $40), and yeah, there's old navy, too. i'm not totally from around here so i don't know how possible it is, but surf brands like billabong and rusty ALWAYS have a slew of them, cheap and soft and everything.

i'm slightly offended, but i'm still wearing my pink and orange number to one of the tulip festival days. because that's what i do. i get dressed up and incite parties.

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For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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