The 70s are back and that means the muumuu is back too. Right-o! Visions of Mrs. Roper, Homer on work leave and an attitude that comfort is king (or queen) comes to mind. Staaaahhhhp! If we call it a caftan, do you like it any better? How about a maxi dress with butterfly sleeves? Better still. Now we’re getting somewhere. The frumpy, unflattering Hawaiian muumuu of yesteryear are definitely not the caftans of today.
The caftan has been around for ages, and it has also been the butt of the joke for equally as long, which is why we prefer the term muumuu. I like it when you say muumuu. If I could fit it in to conversation more frequently then I would. But it’s a toughie. Kind of like sticks in my craw, but I do find myself able to use that from time-to-time though it makes me sound a bit ornery.
Contrary to the muumuu, the caftan says high fashion with images of haute couture designers from the 60s and 70s like Halston and YSL. Or better still, a Middle Eastern princess roaming the halls of the royal palace pondering the great wonders of the world . . . or something like that. Think Queen Rania of Jordan who is the epitome of elegance sporting her royal highness’ muumuu – errr sorry . . . caftan.
I know that this is Jessica Alba and not Queen Rania, but doesn’t she look regal?
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills hit the streets, malls and market stalls of Dubai this season looking stunning in their glorious caftans. With their perfect frocks, locks and flawless make up, I gave pause to think that I too may be interested in rocking the look outside of the poolside and city centres of la desert sands. Watching the episodes in Dubai, the caftan-clad stunners put the phrase “you can dress her up, but you can’t take her out” to the ultimate test by taunting the legal system with culturally appalling potty mouth and constant bickering, proving just how low class the high class can be. Money may buy you a gorgeous caftan, perfect hair, a face free of lines and some doll eyes, but no amount of money ladies . . .really.
The caftan makes a strong statement despite the seemingly simplistic cut. In no uncertain terms are these intended for the fashionably timid. Caftans tend to be bold in colouration, pattern or detail and you will definitely get noticed by passers-by in this one size fits all dressing. This look requires all things bold, and while your at it maybe all things gold.
Do go for this season’s popular chunky heel with the caftan. It works best with a 70s style shoe. But if your chiropodist has forced you into flats, try a gold sandal or gladiator shoe, even though you will only see the straps snaking up your legs when you sit down to brunch with the ladies. Hello!
The Boho vibe begs for flowing hair with nothing too structured or perfect. Beach-y waves or the seemingly undone is so much prettier than a perfectly Spray-Net coif.
For a current take on the caftan, look for embroidered details or a mixing of cultures. Think Ukraine meets Middle East or Santa Fe hits the Mid East.
For those who fear the caftan if you are more than seven feet from a pool, beach or down south holiday, consider a subtler take on the trend that’s barely a caftan, but still gives off that vibe. There are plenty of caftan-like options to choose from. They aren’t exactly muumuus but 2 to 6 degrees of separation making the look more accessible to most.
Consider a shorter hemline. It has a caftan-esque effect, but is a little sweeter and not quite so literal.
For those that need to step even further away, why not consider a caftan-like vest. It’s not really a caftan but it gives you the feel and flavour flave of one.
Ready for the big reveal el Cafiitan?