In reward of the cool kaftan — That’s Not My Age

Picture: Vogue, January 1st, 1965


One of many liberating points of getting older is the realisation that a number of swimwear choices now not must represent the spine of a vacation packing listing. Be trustworthy: you aren’t going to any all-night seashore barbecues in a tiny crocheted bikini. The stability of likelihood says it’s unlikely you’ll be draped over the prow of a celebration boat in a minuscule thong. Your time propping up tropical seashore bars in barely-there halter tops is over. And what a blessed aid that’s. As a substitute, the majority of your suitcase house is free to accommodate any variety of forgiving kaftans, robes, seashore attire, kimonos and different cool, floaty, summer season layers.

However let’s not insult these clothes by referring to them as cover-ups. Not solely does it indicate that what lies beneath is a shameful, broiling mess of sunburn and suboptimal beach-body, nevertheless it’s additionally a uninteresting and unimaginative technique to describe one thing as magnificent as a kaftan and all its wafty, capacious variants. Approached with aptitude and aplomb, they are often a lot greater than useful afterthoughts thrown on to protect modesty – and conceal moist swimwear – on the commute from sun-lounger to lunch.

In the event you’re a fan of capes, ponchos and massive scarves within the colder months, you’ll love a kaftan for the swagger, swish and drama they add to scorching climate dressing. Elevated to stylish cocktail and occasion put on within the Sixties by Dior and Balenciaga, kaftans love an viewers and are very amenable to the addition of a flamboyant accent or two. They’re keen on a giant hat. Big sunshades: deliver them on. Dangly earrings, outsized jewels, a shawl tied within the hair – all are welcome company on the kaftan occasion. In order for you a masterclass in red-hot kaftan administration, look to excessive priestesses of swish and sashay Margot Leadbeater in The Good Life, Alison Steadman in Abigail’s Celebration or, latterly, Tilda Swinton in Raf Simons’ designs for A Greater Splash. Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Jackie Onassis – all knew their method spherical a flamboyant, floor-length frock.


Kaftans at la Double J


And but some girls stay circumspect about carrying kimonos, robes and something faintly voluminous, which is sort of actually Demis Roussos’s fault. The hirsute man-mountain of 70s Greek pop legend performed havoc with the kaftan’s fame by being hopelessly cavalier along with his cloth decisions. Inflexible, blocky ponchos and questionable capes in unyielding materials and horrible prints nonetheless loom giant within the style psyche as causes to keep away from kaftans. Didn’t he know that the important thing to optimum kaftan magnificence is light-weight, silky materials reduce in liquid, languid strains? Worn correctly, you’ll keep away from the look of a galleon in full sail (drifting barely off-course) and arrive as an alternative at a silhouette that’s modern, fluid and stylish.

All this speak of overlaying up isn’t to say you need to deny your self the suitable to announce to the world that you simply’ve reached that hallowed midlife state of being Blissful In Your Pores and skin. In the event you and your pores and skin go round carrying massive smiles, then its your prerogative to point out them off. I salute these girls – France, I’m speaking to you – who’re glad to parade unselfconsciously on the seashore in minuscule swimwear, no matter their age. However I’m not one in every of them and neither, I think, are you. I’m comparatively glad in my pores and skin however there are distinct off days, often when speak of swimwear comes up. I say; right here’s to subtlety, decorum and bathing fits with as a lot scaffolding as is humanly doable with out calling in an industrial crane operative. What I’ve realized is that the most important sartorial serotonin increase I can provide my pores and skin – glad, unhappy or merely so-so – is an excellent, floaty kaftan beneath which it could actually get pleasure from its privateness.


Judy Rumbold is a contract author and journalist and new TNMA contributor. 


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