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Kaftans are an easy, comfortable, chic way to dress, and perfect for summer. Some are strictly casual, while others, like the one I’m wearing, could be worn to a dressy event like a wedding. While kaftans can cover a multitude of sins, I work hard at keeping my weight down and staying in shape, so I’m surprised I wear them because they hide my waist and hips.

Beautiful summer kaftans are also a great alternative to our same old casual clothes.

Kaftans (also caftans) originated in ancient Persia. Designed to be collarless, with long sleeves, they were worn by both men and women and were often made of rich silk or velvet and embellished with semiprecious stones and metal wrapped thread. When I was a little girl, at the end of each work day, my grandmother would change out of her business suit and put on one of her colorful kaftans. She called them house dresses, but they were short or long versions of what we call kaftans. Not to be a downer, but I buried my mother in her gorgeous, full-length red kaftan with gold trim. After years in the dementia facility, it was the only nice piece she had left, and she looked beautiful in it.

The porcelain blue, linen kaftan I’m wearing is from my sweet friend, Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, the Vintage Contessa. You may remember her from when I flew to California to have lunch with her, four years ago. A longtime fan of flowing kaftans, Elizabeth decided to parlay her love into a business. If you’re interested in buying one of her beautiful kaftans, email Trish Banner at or text her at 714-350-3187 and tell her you’d like to order one of the Contessa’s kaftans. Trish will ask you to choose from a variety of colors and whether you want full length, which is to your ankle, or tunic length. 


Trish handmakes each piece and does gorgeous work. I chose to have mine embroidered with my initials, but Elizabeth, an animal lover, has added dogs, cats, and pigs you can choose from. Yes, pigs, in honor of her house pig, Banksy. (I’ve met Banksy, and he’s smarter and better behaved than a lot of dogs I know.) Her long kaftans are $150, tunic length are $125 and the embroidery is $25. 


Another one of my favorite line of kaftans is from Pippa Holt. Although they’re much more expensive than the Contessa’s, you can also order matching or contrasting belts. Both are made by women weavers in Mexico who learned their skill from their ancestors. The money they make from weaving Pippa Holt kaftans helps them support their families, and they’re proud of finally being recognized and paid for their skills. 

Whether you wear your kaftan around the house, out to lunch, or as a beach coverup, they’re fun and versatile. Here are a few more of my favorites! Happy July 4th weekend!

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  1. You look beautiful Brenda! Your eyes are so blue. My grandmother also wore house dresses. I remember her sitting in front of the television every afternoon watching her “stories” and wearing a house dress. Thanks for the memories. Connie

    • Connie, My grandmother wore hers at the end of the day, watching the evening news with her one can of beer a day in her hand. Memories are triggered by the most unexpected things, aren’t they? Thank you! Brenda

  2. Caftans got a bad rap once they were referred to as muumuus. They are very comfortable and cool in the hot weather allowing for some air flow.
    I brought back two lovely embroidered caftans from Egypt that I wear after a late day shower, if I don’t feel like getting dressed. I don’t think I would ever wear one outside my home though.
    You look lovely in blue, Brenda!

    • Egyptian caftans sound very exotic, Joanna! Would love to see them. A girlfriend of mine grew up in Hawaii, and they called them muumuus there. Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate you! Brenda

  3. Yes! Joanna called them muumuus which sounds like a cow. I’ve never worn a caftan but this terrible hot summer has me considering them. The ones you’ve listed are really pretty. Xo, Barb… I’ll make it unanimous! You look beautiful in blue.

    • LOL! Muumuus… moo moos… Yes, they sound like cows. Pretty funny! Thank you for the sweet words, Barb! Hope you’re having a great holiday weekend. xoxox, Brenda

  4. What beautiful pictures Brenda! You can wear anything and look wonderful. I have a thin caftan I wear around the pool but not ones like you’re talking about. Now that I’ve seen them I think I’d rather wear a caftan than a bathrobe. Actually I need all new things to sleep in. Mine are getting ratty looking.

    • Terri, You’ve reminded me of another item of clothes I should talk about some day. Sleep attire. Why is it that what we wear to sleep in is often relegated to the back burner of fashion? If other people see us, it should look nice, especially if it’s the significant other in our lives. Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it. Brenda

  5. You always inspire me in some way Brenda. This time it’s to look nicer in my clothes. Not to impress anyone but because I owe it to myself. During Covid it’s been easy to slack off on how I present myself so thank you!

    • Great point, Kim! I think a lot of us are just starting to get ourselves together after the last two years, plus Covid seems here to stay, so we should probably dress nice for ourselves and those who see us every day. Looking good is good for our mental health. xoxox, Brenda

    • Hi Donna! I think your message got lost somewhere along the way. Happy July 4th, friend. xoxox, Brenda

  6. THANK YOU BRENDA for sharing my CAFTANS with your READERS!
    The blue looks STUNNING on YOU!
    I have to say also your GARDEN is looking mighty GORGEOUS!I love those terra-cotta pots!
    I would have collected them once upon a time but I do not like the ones made here ONLY THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN!
    I agree with the women who said she likes to put on after a long day or shower………..SO EASY and light weight!
    I always thought MUUMUU’s were HAWAIIAN………
    I guess I was mistaken.
    I do recall my MOTHER bringing them back from HAWAII.
    I LOVE them as they can be casual or dressy……….I would NEVER refer to them as a HOUSE-FROCK as to me that would be a shorter version of what the THE ITALIAN LADIES WEAR!ALWAYS WITH AN APRON OVER IT!
    By the way its KIRKPATRICK not FITZ………….Made me smile as MANY people do that!

    • Elizabeth…. Kirkpatrick! I knew that! My apologies. I will forever associate you with caftans, beautiful caftans, and wearing them to the post office or the doctor’s office. My blue one is gorgeous! I just love it. My garden took a big hit after our terrible freeze and big snow, and just when it started showing signs of coming back, we’ve been hit with 104 summer temperatures. The two big pots on either side of my office doors are Italian, over 20 years old. One is cracked and very fragile and I expect it to go anytime. Prices to buy a new one are INSANE! The other two weren’t cheap either, but were made in the US and not as nice as the Italian ones. I’d like to have more plants in terracotta pots in my courtyard, but it gets full sun all day, and plants need watering twice a day!! Ugh! Your garden has a great mix of sun and shade and it’s not as beastly hot. So many things grown in California I can’t grow here because of our heat. xoxox, Brenda

  7. The Vintage Contessa’s kaftan looks beautiful on you Brenda. Such a heavenly color and thanks for showing us your courtyard. Like the rest of your home it’s elegant. You should teach a design class.

    • Have I told you lately that I love you? You’re so sweet, Ronnie! Thank you! A girlfriend of mine tells me my house needs “more stuff.” Since I’m a minimalist, I don’t have anything that doesn’t have a purpose… She says I’m short on clutter. LOL! xoxox, Brenda

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