Queen of Caftans

Last week, my sister and my niece came to my house for a swim date (my pool has a heater, theirs does not…) and when I opened my front door for them in my bikini and colorful, sheer Pucci-esque printed caftan cover-up, my sister took one look at me and said, “you are seriously like a skinny Mrs. Roper in these outfits.” Remember Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company?! Always in a caftan. Always. But hers were more polyester 1970’s “housedresses” than glamorous, Elizabeth-Taylor-on-a-yacht-worthy numbers. Which just happen to be one of my most coveted vintage looks that I strive to imitate as often as possible. Thankfully, modernized versions of these are literally everywhere this year (I just ordered a black heavy crinkly cotton one with flowers embroidered all down the front in varying shades of pink…I just need it to get a liiiiittle cooler out at night and this will be one of my favorite go-to outfits…). And while I could show you so many different examples, I decided to go with a (ridiculously priced at $3,690) piece from Oscar de la Renta. Yes, it is completely an aspirational look for most people’s budgets, but it is also a perfect example of the look you want to aspire to. So use it as a guide, and then find something reminiscent of it…just with one or two decimal points knocked off!

In the most stunning emerald green heavy silk crepe, this has so many details that are each equally important. The fit is fluid and easy (but drapes in a way that you won’t be swallowed by it), and the sleeves billow out into delicate little ties at the wrists. The neckline yoke is illusion tulle (crazy flattering) that goes into an array of dripping silver sequins and beading all the way around the dress. The work on this is obviously impeccable, and anything that even comes close to it will make you feel like…well, like Liz. This needs really minimal styling too…think the highest of the high platform sandals, a silver clutch, one great cocktail ring in a complementing color (like amethyst or aquamarine) and statement-making but not competing earrings. That is it. Anything more starts to look costume-y. The one I bought (the black one that definitely did not cost anywhere near $3,000!) demands the same simplicity, but I will go with all delicate gold pieces of jewelry, a gold leather clutch, and fun pink platforms to peek out with a wink up at the pink embroidery.

Keep in mind that this look DOES in fact work on most shapes and sizes. I am 4’11” and when it’s the right caftan, it makes me feel a foot taller. Make sure you chose one that doesn’t hide you. Instead, it should lengthen and empower your figure. (Clearly all fashion should…)

~ Alison. (aka, Skinny Mrs. Roper)

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