- 1 Sunset Maxi Caftan
- 2 Kira Crochet Kaftan
- 3 The Upside Evil Eye Kaftan
- 4 Juillet Caftan
- 5 Zanzea Caftan
- 6 Kona Sol White Palm Kaftan
- 7 N by Natori Caftan
- 8 Welela Cotton-Blend Kaftan
- 9 Kassandra Maxi Caftan
- 10 Splendid Malin Playa Stripe Caftan
- 11 Vila Crochet Trim Caftan
- 12 Majorca Caftan
- 13 Dip Dye Kaftan
- 14 Embroidered Maxi Caftan
- 15 Selata Long Caftan
- 16 Ethnic Print Kaftan
- 17 Kaftan Tunic Kimono
- 18 Farrah Caftan
- 19 Voile Caftan
- 20 La Cera Printed Caftan
20 Caftan Dresses That Make Super-Glamorous Cover-Ups
It's hard to resist the allure of the caftan. The long, loose-fitting robe or tunic, traditionally worn by women and men in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, became popular in Western fashion in the 1950s and '60s, when designers such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent featured caftans in their collections. The glamorous garment became the ultimate expression of chic as luxurious eveningwear worn by socialites and resort wear among the jet set, and continued to appear on runways through the late '70s. Today, the trendy bohemian frock takes the form of casual work-appropriate summer dresses to party-ready maxis that—bonus—can double as a swimsuit coverup. Read on for our favorite caftan picks for all budgets and body types. And: good luck buying just one.
Sunset Maxi Caftan
The name of this sunset caftan says it all. There's so much detail in the print, you'll want to gaze at it as long as you would a picturesque sunset on the beach. Inspired by a watercolor painting, the peachy-pink, blush, and coral bleed into an ocean-blue right down to the hem. Hints of the design border the v-neck, wrap around the shirred elastic waist, and circle the flowy dolman sleeves near the wrist. Add a beaded tote for some retro appeal, dangly jewel-tone earrings, and sandals that easily slip off your feet—because this dress will absolutely inspire walking barefoot.
Kira Crochet Kaftan
This beautiful, butter-yellow kaftan is sure to charm your sandals off. Its lacy, ruffled crocheted trim and vintage-y details are so darling, it's apt to remind you of an heirloom quilt, but its clean lines and expertly tailored cut make it more modern than precious. With contrast white stitching set against a sunny yellow hue, it's the perfect choice for a browse through a morning market or for a shopping spree. Slide on white canvas sneakers or a red pair for a bolder option, or go with sleek leather slides. A top-handle purse or a small backpack completes the look.
The Upside Evil Eye Kaftan
Throw on this elegant caftan and you'll be ready to spend the afternoon lounging in the courtyard of a riad. With sweltering Moroccan temps, a gauzy white dress is the way to go. There's pretty smocking at the elastic cuff, creating a ruffle and bloused sleeve. Tassel ties and shirring liven up the neckline, and there's a hint of pink and yellow stitching woven between the black embroidery. Look closely and you'll see the design throughout features a hamsa; turned upward it's said to bring luck and abundance, and facing downward it's typically associated with warding off the evil eye. (The name of the dress, evil eye, conflates the symbolism—but we love it anyway.)
Good luck deciding between the pretty red floral print and beautiful blue damask for this caftan. If you've ever fancied yourself starring in a period film set in the English countryside, consider ordering both. But no need to pass on it if IRL you're a city-dweller (sans summer house access) because the dress looks adorable with sneakers or chunky sandals for a casual work outfit or for a Sunday funday. The top practically looks like a separate blouse with dolman sleeves, and the elastic shirred empire waste gives the caftan shape.
Even if this find came in multiple colors, the cool and sophisticated slate-gray stripe would be our first choice. In fact, it ticks all the boxes for everything we want in a casual summer caftan dress: textured linen, side pockets, and a price point that's under $20. It's also a smart pick for vacation, because simply switching out accessories can completely change the look for multiple wears. Start with a long statement necklace, a trio of bangles, and wide-brim hat, and take it from there. It's super versatile, for pursuits like a stroll in town or spending late afternoon at the beach on a lounge chair with a book in hand.
Kona Sol White Palm Kaftan
The opaque fabric and mid-length cut of this caftan make it more of an all-day dress than simply a cover-up, designed to take you from the breakfast buffet straight through to happy hour on the cruise deck. Its on-trend palm leaf print, fitted shape, and drawstring waist finished with tassels makes it casual, but pulled together, for virtually any daytime occasion or simply lounging by the pool. Add heels and a clutch and the outfit is an ideal choice for brunch. The dress is also lightweight, easy to wear, and not overly voluminous, so it's figure flattering and suits most body types.
N by Natori Caftan
This caftan has a sleek Mandarin collar and ultra-snazzy pattern—an ombré zebra print with orangey-red, violet, and black. It begs to be paired with heeled sandals, a straw clutch, and a pair of sparkly dangling earrings. Fitted shoulders give it a tailored look and although the waist isn't fitted, it tapers before widening to a full A-line skirt. It's a good pick for those who tend to get chilly after a swim, with a soft, woven fabric will keep you warmer than a gauzy, all-cotton caftan.
Welela Cotton-Blend Kaftan
Lemlem is the go-to for gorgeous frocks that walk the line between dress and cover-up. This little caftan number has a bohemian look, like something you'd wear on a Greek-island getaway. Bold stripes in a range of blues, from cobalt to turquoise, are mixed with black ticking, for an upscale, handmade textile finish. The sleeves are accented with pom-pom fringe, and it has a detachable tassel tie rope belt that slides through side loops to hold it in place. There's also elastic hidden underneath at the waist for extra support. Another plus is that with a bit of acrylic in the woven cotton blend, it'll always maintain its crisp-looking shape. This beauty will be your favorite caftan for vacations to come.
Kassandra Maxi Caftan
Leave it to Lilly Pulitzer to create this cheery caftan, awash in pastels and a bohemian mandala pattern. The chiffon dress is sheer in all the right places, and its translucent batwing sleeves and rounded bottom hem are positively swoon-worthy. Thankfully, it comes with a separate jersey slip for full coverage. Other pluses are that it's machine washable (woot!) and the featherweight fabric means it won't add any bulk to your suitcase. You'll definitely want to take a selfie in this is one for the 'gram during your tropical getaway, ideally with palm trees and a sunset in the backdrop. It's best worn in the daytime, paired with t-strap thong sandals. Bachelorette party, anyone?
Splendid Malin Playa Stripe Caftan
This very summery caftan from Splendid will become a staple in your vacation wardrobe. Done in a linen-blend, the colorful striped pattern looks perfectly saltwater faded, and it comes with a separate corded tie belt finished with tassels. Another sweet detail is the chambray lining the inside the cuffs, which peek out when they're folded, and the split side makes them easy to roll up without getting too tight around your arm. Dress this caftan up with heels and a bucket bag, or throw on slides and grab a canvas tote. It's a tailored look, and an especially good choice if you're petite and get lost in caftans that have a wider cut.
Vila Crochet Trim Caftan
Most caftans are great for daywear and dinner, but there aren't many that also work on the dance floor. This little number fits that party category. It's done in a gorgeous olive-green with an embroidered band at the waist and neck, and totally evening-ready thanks to its semi-sheer, lightweight viscose fabric and deep v-neck. Go for a stacked heel or wedge for a night on the town. It's also quick drying, if you want to rock it poolside or at the beach.
This sweetheart of a caftan is the perfect pick for a trip to Tulum. The white backdrop and rainbow rickrack trim, a deep v-neck, and fluttery sleeves call for frolicking on the sand. It is, in a word, fun. The sleeves hit just above the wrist (yay for no accidental dips in your guacamole), and the hem falls above the ankle. The dress looks great with a pair of neutral sandals on the beach, or with platform clogs for margaritas and dinner.
Dip Dye Kaftan
The faded pastels in this dip-dyed caftan make it as appealing as cotton candy. It's the ultimate pick for the true bohemian, who's sure to swoon over the full-bleed crocheted neckline and whimsical sleeves that hit well above the wrist. It works even better as a cover-up that a dress because of the considerably deep and wide v-neck, which could fall too low or slip off the shoulders on some frames. Read: You have to be tall to pull it off away from the beach. It's far less of a worry with a bikini top underneath. The fabric is thin, but the dress has a lining that adds decent coverage. The beach is calling.
Embroidered Maxi Caftan
This simple caftan's design is taken from a common style of an Indian kurti, which often features embroidery around the neckline and hints of the pattern elsewhere, sometimes on cuffs, hems, or on back, like this piece. It hits below the knee (the photo makes it look shorter than it is), with small slits at the bottom hem and the sleeves. The easy, cool modal fabric makes it the kind of caftan you can sweat in all day and toss in the wash without a second thought. It's always on trend, too, so count on it being a reliable staple for warm-weather vacation. #glamorous
Selata Long Caftan
Here's another caftan that'll never go out of style. It's from Lemlem, and what sets their pieces apart are the subtle details in the design, like a hint of contrasting color or delicate fringe. The fabric is cotton with a hint of acrylic and semi-sheer, so a light-colored bathing suit worn underneath is best. The dolman sleeves are cut with an unfinished edge, for an ultra-casual, relaxed feel (just like the ideal vacation!). It has side slits that don't go up too high and a v-neck that doesn't plunge too low. It's best worn with flats, and, for accessories, think anything straw or raffia.
Ethnic Print Kaftan
Of all our caftan picks, this one takes the prize for trendiest. The colors call to mind turquoise and carnelian gemstone jewelry, which pop against the white background. Because most of the design is concentrated around the center, it creates of focal point for the eye so the boxy shape doesn't appear too sheet-like. It's generously cut, which may overwhelm petite frames (it's 65 inches wide), though fans of the dress say that it's a brilliant buy if you're pregnant or plus-sized. Also, the shorter sleeves have wide armholes for maximum comfort. Pair with a straw hat and slouchy bag, and natural leather thong sandals.
Kaftan Tunic Kimono
This caftan is a customer favorite, and we get why. The vibrant fuchsia and emerald green are flattering to most skin tones, and the paisley print is energetic but not too busy. It's generously cut without being too voluminous yet it won't feel constricting at the armholes or the bottom. If you don't have a pair of jeweled sandals, better get shopping because a hint of sparkle peeking out from the hem would look amazing.
Made in a to-die-for dusty rosy, this dress drapes to create a breezy silhouette that moves brilliantly with every step. The tassel trim and embroidered sections running down the front and sides give it an upscale look, and it has an extra long drawstring to cinch the waist and sleeves that hit at the perfect spot, just above the elbow. The slits on the sides are somewhat high-cut (though it's an easy alteration if you'd rather not show so much leg), and although it's semi-sheer, the darker color and folds of fabrics help provide some coverage.
If maximalism is your jam and you're obsessed with all things voile, this is the caftan for you. With a slight A-line shape, the dress is skirt is more comfortable to wear than similar tunics with super-straight cuts, and the v-neck isn't too low-cut. It also gets bonus points for deep side-seem pockets. The geometric border at the hem is a nice detail that helps ground the colorful floral and bright-yellow print, pulling together the overall design. By the way, you aren't the only one who'd kill to score yards of this fabric to wallpaper your powder room.
La Cera Printed Caftan
Turn a rainy vacation day around with this bright and sunny caftan. The traditional block print features soft coral, yellow, and a hint of green for some contrast. It's super easy to wear, thanks to generous slits up the sides, and a lightweight all-cotton fabric that will keep you cool on those 90-degree days. The embroidery and shell buttons down the front make it look handmade, not mass-produced, like a special piece purchased directly from an artisan's stall at a market. Wear it with anything from Birks or chunky sandals to canvas skimmers or chunky sneakers.