Beach Kaftan: The Humble Cover-Up to Wear Over Your Bikinis and Swimsuits

The pandemic has been getting to all of us and this lockdown has been a test for many, including myself, who thought it will be easy to handle until I realised that it’s bearing me down slowly, but surely. I knew that I have to get away somehow, so I started entertaining the idea of a vacation. I couldn’t book a place, of course, but I started looking for beach clothing and accessories.

After I’ve learned more about conscious consuming, I wanted to make sure I won’t buy more things than I really needed. I was looking for something comfortable, but chic and that’s how I found the beach kaftan. Now it’s my favourite piece of clothing and I wish I’d found it earlier.

What’s All the Fuss About It?

I like pieces of clothing that combine contemporary fashion, comfort and elegance, but it’s not like I come across them as often. That’s why I was amazed by the power of the stylish and versatile beach kaftan and how easily it became a favourite part of my wardrobe. And the more I learned about it, the more excited I was to make it a part of my outfit.

beach kaftan

Styles, names and uses for the kaftan, also known as caftan, are different from one culture to another. It’s a Persian word, but the style is believed to have originated in Ancient Mesopotamia, travelled to Andalusia in the Middle Ages, before anchoring itself in Morocco in the 16th century and quickly, it became synonymous with femininity. Today it’s on top of the women’s summer clothing list and for a good reason.

It’s Comfortable and Versatile 

Very often worn as an overdress, it has long sleeves and reaches to the ankles. In areas with a warm climate, it’s worn as a loose-fitting, lightweight garment. The best thing about it is that it’s suitable for all body types and offers an airy effect and comfort. 

While most women tend to think that the kaftan is the perfect beachwear (and I couldn’t agree more on that), for me, it’s perfect for all seasons. Thanks to its simple structure, it can make great beachwear and loungewear as well.

Even when the weather outside is chilly, I’m wearing it over a pair of leggings or thick stockings and when the days are hot, I like to put it on and do all the things I regularly do, but in my free-flowing garment, everything feels much easier and enjoyable. 

However, if I need to leave the house, I usually pair it with strappy sandals to and once, I have worn it with a pair of stilettos for a date night ensemble. Though I was sceptic at first, it really worked out very well at the end (the outfit, not the date). I see it as a garment choice for various occasions as it caters to my dressing moods and different styles, I want to pull off from time to time. 

How to Choose Your Kaftan?

This garment is designed to enhance the female body and it’s up to each one of us to choose the one that will best enhance our summer glow. If you are a woman with fair skin, like myself, I’d recommend pastel colours, like powder pink or almond green, which are my personal favourites. I’m trying to avoid the nude colour and variations of white that are close to my natural skin colour.

beach kaftans

If your skin is with pink undertones, it can be highlighted by shades of dusty rose or vintage brass and for a more casual look, you can try asymmetrical stripes. If your skin is tawny, you can enhance it with ochre or earthy tones like khaki. Also, you can play with bright colours like fuchsia or turquoise and bring real dynamism to your beach look.

How to Wear Your Kaftan?

Women pay great attention to their looks. And when it comes to preparing for the beach, we can spend ages to find what will work best for the day. I recently became a fan of vegan eye makeup and I’m not leaving my home without it, however, when it comes to clothing, I don’t have to think much about it since I’ve discovered the beach kaftan.

Typically, it comes in two cuts – long and short. The long style falls to mid-thigh and you can wear it as a short and light summer dress. The short one, on the other hand, can be worn like a poncho over your bikini. When going into town, you can wear it over shorts or fitted canvas pants for a casual and chic look. 

Kaftans are known as statement pieces, so you don’t need a lot of accessorising to look fabulous. But if you are someone who can’t walk outside without an accessory or two, you can add a leather belt clinched at the smallest part of your waist or wear your favourite hat or headwrap. This way you will keep your head and hair safe from the sun and still look great.

If you are wearing a kaftan that doesn’t have any embellishments on the neckline, you can pair it with a large pendant or statement necklace. It’s always a good idea to contrast the colour of your garment with jewellery and give a visual variety to your beach look.