With the prevalence of just about anything boho and 70s lately, it’s no surprise that the caftan is the beach cover-up of the moment. And while the caftans of 2011 come in a variety of different colors, patterns and lengths, what they all have in common is being easy to wear and breezily cool.
Chic or casual, sultry or sweet, these cover-ups can not only hide a multitude of sins (think sunburned shoulders and unsightly tan lines), but also suit a wide variety of styles and swimwear. Short, mid-thigh or maxi, it’s really up to you.
We love the floor-scraping versions in printed chiffon by designers like Tory Burch (try the Belted Isabeli Caftan Dress (above) and Diane von Furstenberg, which can easily double as dresses with the right underthings, and the gorgeous options from brands like Antik Batik and Tibi, below, too.
That’s the great thing about caftans in 2011: when paired with bottoms (whether shorts or skirts) many can easily make the transition from coverup to actual clothing item, making them quite useful long after your last bikini is packed away.
Nightcap Clothing‘s Jungle Lace Caftan Cover Up is a flowing combination of lace and silk-chiffon. Featuring an asymmetrical hem that mirrors the V-neckline and elbow-length sleeves, this cover up is deathly chic. (Available at Shopbop.com, $322; horse extra.)
For something that captures boho chic style at a lower price point, try the breezy Victoria’s Secret Embroidered Tie-Dye Caftan for $59, one of several versions of this trend offered up by the lingerie giant. Perfect over a sizzling bikini or a more sensible one-piece, this caftan covers up without sacrificing style.
If you want sultry try a caftan like Beach Bunny Swimwear‘s Moroccan Coin Caftan. The Moorish-inspired style comes in three colors and features a neckline trimmed in shimmering gold coins. If wearing this cover up with a bathing suit that’s also bedazzled with coins is a bit to much for you, opt for a plainer option instead.
Boho luxe and Missoni go hand in hand, which is why the Italian fashion house is probably ideal for churning out caftans in supple fabrics and riotous colors. Whether you’re looking for short — like this Durban Crochet-Knit Patchwork Caftan, available at Net-a-Porter — or maxi, Missoni Mare has an option for you. A fedora, aviators and bejeweled flat sandals definitely help to complete this bohemian beach look.
Colombians definitely know a thing or two about sizzling swimwear, and lingerie/swim brand Touché (above) is no different. For summer 2011, the brand, which is available at Nancy Meyer, offers quite a few attractive caftan cover-up options that work perfectly over their sexy bikinis and one-piece suits.
Perennial U.S. favorite Eberjey borrows a lot of delicate styling cues from its lingerie collections for its beach coverups. The gauze cotton Paradise Found caftan ($92) looks like it could double as a nightie on steamy summer nights, while Eberjey’s Hannah poncho ($123) makes great use of this season’s emerging trend in crochet beachwear.
Finally, the last word on the subject of caftans must go to Josie Natori, who has elevated this garment into an art form in North America. That’s the hippie-friendly Evolve caftan dress (above) from Josie’s current collection and, at $795, only the richest hippies need apply. Thankfully, the Natori brand has branched out with a capsule collection for Target, and a youth-oriented diffusion line, Josie by Natori, that features numerous summer wraps, shimmies and tunics in Natori’s signature bright prints but at much more affordable prices.
Note: Photo at the top of this post features the Sebastian Hooded Caftan from the chic California label Mikoh.