Meet the most-loved garment of Lockdown: The Kaftan

Forget your pyjamas – the kaftan should be your go-to look for running errands, indulging in some me-time while you multitask with Zoom meetings and perhaps even to a lockdown wedding (if you are invited to one!). They are super comfortable. They look as good with strappy heels as they do with a pair of slippers. And most of all, the silhouette is so forgiving that you won’t end up feeling guilty of all the binge-eating you’ve been indulging in.

However, ‘kaftan’ is actually a Persian word, and the style first originated in Ancient Mesopotamia. The Ottoman sultans from the 14th to the 18th centuries wore them and historically, the kaftan has been gender-neutral. In fact, one can find its variations in the Iranian plateau along with West and North Africa.

Kaftan, The Kaftan Company; mules, Needle Dust; bracelet, Amrapali; earrings, H&M (Shivamm Paathak)

Be a part of the kaftan craze with this vibrant iteration

The super comfortable tie-dye kaftan style comes with a colourful print, which first became popular in the 1970s

WEAR THIS KAFTAN WHILE: “Lounging with your family or friends or even to the poolside (if you have a home with a pool),” says designer Nachiket Barve. 

STYLE IT WITH: “A boho-chic bag and shoes,” he suggests. 

“Style the tie & dye kaftan with a boho bag and shoes ” —Nachiket Barve, Fashion designer 

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “Beaded necklaces,” he says. 

KEEP IN MIND: “To not go too OTT with styling since the kaftan already has a lot of colours,” he says. 


Kurta, Allen Solly; dhoti, sourced from the local market; footwear, Bata

Brighten up the new normal with a vibrant kurta.

This shortened version of the kurta is the perfect way to keep the look casual yet rooted in tradition

WEAR THIS KURTA AT: “Home. The look is casual, easy and comfortable,” says fashion designer Sonam Dubal. “It would be great for a pooja too,” says designer Amy Billimoria.

“The lungi-kurta allows free movement” —Amy Billimoria, Celeb stylist

STYLE IT WITH: “Sandals to stay true to the clean, minimal vibe of the look,” Sonam says.

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “An angavastram or an Assamese gamosa or a woven scarf around the neck in cotton,” he adds.

KEEP IN MIND: “To stay true to your style. If you wear Indo-fusion often then this is a great look for you as it allows a lot of movement,” advises Amy.


Kaftan, Buna; juttis, Needle Dust; earrings, Zariin

Look laidback yet elegant in this relaxed silhouette

Sleek and minimal, the kaftan dress is a modern-day roomy style that often ends somewhere above the knee

WEAR THIS KAFTAN TO: “Running errands and indulging in downtime while you’re multitasking or even for a Zoom meeting,” says designer Nachiket Barve. 

STYLE IT WITH: “Beaded flats. Keep the hair simple like the dress,” he adds. 

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “Baroque pearls or layer lots of dainty necklaces,” opines Barve. 

KEEP IN MIND: “To keep make-up minimal,” he says.  


On her: Kaftan, Payal Singhal; juttis, Needle Dust; earrings, Amrapali; On him: Kurta, pants and jacket, Antar-Agni; footwear, Bata (Shivamm Paathak)

Cover up without looking like a wallflower!

The kaftan overlay is a long, loose jacket that can be worn over everything, from jumpsuits to dresses

For her

WEAR THIS KAFTAN TO: “A celebratory lunch or a day festival,” says celebrity stylist Rishi Raj.

STYLE IT WITH: “A top knot,” he adds.

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “Fun, dainty hoops,” he recommends.

KEEP IN MIND: “To keep the focus on one element from the look unless you want to look maximalist,” he advises.

“Pair a kaftan overlay with dainty hoops” —Rishi Raj, Celeb stylist

For him

WEAR THIS KURTA TO: “A dinner party. It’s not appropriate for the day,” says Rishi.

STYLE IT WITH: “Shoes as they would make the outfit appear very chic while adding a little dandy vibe to it,” he says.

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “A brooch so it adds a little pop to the global-meets-local look,” he says.

KEEP IN MIND: “Not to wear this to any casual event,” he cautions.


Lockdown weddings just got more fun!

Flaunt this floor-length number at a family do

WEAR THIS KAFTAN TO: “To a day wedding or a destination wedding of 20 people,” says Rishi Raj. 

STYLE IT WITH: “A nice bikini under it if the wedding is at a beach,” he advises. 

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “Smoky eyes and gladiators or even boots if you want to create a grunge look. Braid the hair with ribbons or colourful threads,” he says. 

KEEP IN MIND: “To not wear jewellery with this look. If you must wear jewellery then opt for oxidised jewellery,” he says. 

“Layer a kaftan maxi over a bikinii” —Rishi Raj, Celeb stylist


Kaftan, The Kaftan Company; juttis, Needle Dust; earrings, Shein (Shivamm Paathak)

Go tropical with bold, graphic print

Match your kaftan style top with trousers in the same print

WEAR THIS KAFTAN TO: “Your beachside home. It draws a lot of attention because of the print. It’s not the best look for a city,” says designer Rina Singh. 

STYLE IT WITH: “Big aviators, and chunky metallic jewellery,” she recommends. 

ACCESSORISE IT WITH: “A neutral-coloured fabric belt so it draws some focus to the waist,” she adds. 

KEEP IN MIND: “To not wear oxidised jewellery with this look,” she says.  

From HT Brunch, October 11, 2020

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March 21, 2022 — Hindustantimes | Navin Rao