What is a Caftan

The word caftan has its origins in Persia and is typically used for a gull body garment that is generally till the ankles and has full sleeves. It was originally worn with a ash around the waist. It may be confused with Khalat, which is made in cotton or silk and appears to be similar to caftan. The primary difference between the Khalat and Caftan is that the khalat is open in the front and worn like coat while the Caftan is closed in front and has to be worn over the head like a T-shirt. This is the primary difference between the two thought they may appear to be similar to the average person. The caftan or kaftan as it is called in different parts is probably the earliest form of a line clothing that has been worn by people before it was made famous by the French designers in 1940s.

The caftans were also worn during the ottoman empire and the kings class typically wore them with extensive work. They were even given as reward or mark of respect to visiting dignitaries during the ottoman empire. The design and work on the Caftan was often marked by the position and status of the wearer.

For three centuries they bore large patterns and designs on them which grew smaller and smaller with the passage of time and by the 19th century they became limited to minute work on around the neck and around sleeves. Today these can be seen across the asian and African continents with a little variation from their original predecessor. Caftans are made for both men and women alike. There may be difference in color and material choice for men and women with silk being the preferred choice for women and cotton for men but the colors are primarily bright in kaftans irrespective of the sex of the wearer. The cotton kaftans are useful in the warm weathers and silk terms to be too warm. The primary advantage of kaftans is that they are free to fit and can be easily be worn by anyone of average size without getting it made to fit. The other advantage is its ease of wear, besides the advantage of comfort.

These can be seen in the Americas too but famous with a different name called muumuu and worn without belt like a typical Caftan. The printing and designs on the muumuu are inspired more from the African continent than from the original ottoman or Persian caftans.

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