Caftans- Elegant Plus Size Clothing

ShoppingFashion / Style

  • Author Marie Wakefield
  • Published November 26, 2007
  • Word count 749

After giving much thought to producing a productive and useful article on plus size and ethnic fashions, I came up with this. Hope you find it interesting to learn about caftans and their history before they were considered women's clothing.

DID YOU KNOW-The caftan in the US is typically called a muumuu.

Also spelled, Kaftan; it was garment of ancient Mesopotamian origin, worn throughout the Middle East. Full-length, loosely-fitted garment with long or short sleeves worn by both men and women.

The origin of the caftan is usually tied to Asia Minorand Mesopotamia. Caftan-like robes are depicted in the palace reliefs of ancient Persia dating to 600 B.C.E. By the thirteenth century C.E., the style had spread into Eastern Europe and Russia, where caftan styles provided the model for a number of different basic garments well into the nineteenth century.

By the thirteenth century, the style had spread into Eastern Europe and Russia, where caftan styles provided the model for a number of different basic garments well into the nineteenth century. The caftan tradition was particularly elaborate in the imperial wardrobes of the 16th Ottoman Empire in Anatolian Turkey. Caftans of varying lengths were made from rich satins, velvets and silks, shot through with metallic threads to be worn by courtiers to indicate status.

Men’s caftans often had gores added, causing the caftan to flare at the bottom, while women’s garments were more closely fitted. Women were more likely to add sashes or belts. A sultan and his courtiers might layer two or three caftans with varying length sleeves for ceremonial functions. An inner short-sleeved caftan, was usually secured with an embroidered sash or jeweled belt, while the outer caftan could have slits at the shoulder through which the wearer’s arms were thrust to display the sleeves (sometimes with detachable expansions) of the inner caftan to show off the contrasting fabrics of the garments.

The Tatar-Mongol invasion led to a break in the contacts with Western Europe, and the immediate proximity with Turkic-speaking peoples led to a change in the form of Russian dress. Rashpatnyi clothing with a slit in front from top to bottom appeared, and men wore broad trousers. One must say at once that, even after having borrowed the cut, terminology, and certain elements of this foreign dress, Russians never lost their own national identity when it came to clothing. A good example of this is the caftan, a type of wide-opening garment with a deep wrap-over, worn by both men and women. The old Russian word for this garment is derived from the Persian word.

Caftan-style robes have been worn in many parts of the world where Islam has spread, particularly in North and West Africa. In parts of West Africa, the practice of layering robes to express the aesthetic principle of "bigness" in leadership dress and the giving of "robes of honor" is shared with the Ottoman tradition.

When international trade in ready-to-wear garments and accessories increased as other regions of the world opened to European business in the sixteenth century, caftan like garments such as the banyan or Indian gown for men, and the mantua for women, were imported to Europe as informal dress.

After a visit to Morocco in the early 1960s, Diana Vreeland published a series of articles in Vogue championing the caftan as fashionable for "The Beautiful People". Yves Saint Laurent and Halston were designers who included caftan-styled clothing in their lines. Since that time, caftans continue to have a market for evening and at-home wear. The caftan is now marketed globally as "fashion."

With a long and elegant history- worn by emperors and kings, contemporary use of the term "caftan" can be broadened to encompass a number of similarly styled garment types. Today caftans may be worn with a sash or belt. Some caftans are open to the front or side and are tied or fastened with looped buttons running from neck to waist. Depending on use, caftans vary from hip to floor length. The choice of fabric is limitless, though silks and cottons are still the most used. Embellished, embroidered, bejeweled and other wise decked out, the caftan flatters any figure.

WIKIPEDIA SAYS-Most fabrics for royal Turkish caftans were manufactured in Istanbul and Bursa; but some came from as far as Venice,Genoa, Persia,India and even China.

We had never known how interesting writing about caftans for plus size would be, until we wrote this article. Hope you feel the same too.

For more tips and information on plus size fashion with an ethnic flair visit http://www.fabulous-plus-sizes.com/Site_Map.html a trendy plus size fashion website.

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