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Modern Kaftans: How To Style This Breezy Staple For Every Occasion On Your Social Calendar

Forget everything you know about traditional Arabic kaftan dresses. There is a new generation of modern kaftans that are ready to deliver on just about any dress code that pops up on your social calendar.

We aren’t talking about conventional beach kaftans either. In its revamped era, the humble kaftan has been tricked out with sequins, crystals and embellishments. Luxe silks and all-eyes-on-me metallics delivered in a silhouette so infinitely wearable that is your other evening dresses could feel, they’d be jealous. 

But what jewelry to wear with a kaftan? What shoes to wear with a kaftan? Find the answers to every possible styling query you have had about this versatile silhouette ahead. 

What do you wear under a kaftan?

  • Finding the perfect kaftan is the easy part. But how do you ensure that you stay one step ahead of any fashion mishaps?
  • Opting for the right layering choices can help. If you are working with the sheer silhouette of a beach kaftan, layer it over separates in a coordinated hue. 
  • For leisurely sundowners, a pair of nude leggings or sheer stocking will ensure that you can step into the breeze with ease. 

How do you style a kaftan for every occasion on your social calendar

      • When in doubt, it helps to look to the swish set for pointers on how to style this versatile silhouette.
      • Yasmine Sabri‘s glittering gold number will have you ready for any last-minute iftar invites that pass through your social inbox. Rym Saidi, meanwhile, is betting big on geometric prints for modest wear.


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        A post shared by Yasmine Sabri (@yasmine_sabri)


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        A post shared by Rym Saidi (@rymsaidi)

          • Belted silhouettes are always a winner—just ask Aseel Omran—while Karen Wazen recommends cape-style silhouettes for added drama. 


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        A post shared by Aseel | أسيل 🇸🇦 (@aseel)

        • Ready to get started on your own journey with modern kaftans? Here’s how to get it right every single time.

        Modern kaftans for Ramadan 

        What the invite says: Festive formals

        What to look for in your wardrobe: 

        • The glorious month of Ramadan is as much about fasting as the feasting. The latter is undoubtedly accompanied with endless RSVPs for suhoor gatherings and iftar parties. 
        • And that is before you factor in the prospect of Eid celebrations to look forward to. If you haven’t already, you will want to embrace easy-breezy silhouettes to step out in style in the scorching heat. 
        • But we aren’t talking about just printed numbers here. If you are looking to elevate this style staple from its beachy origins, it helps to refine your search. 
        • Looking for the perfect Ramadan kaftan? Opt for shimmering details that will help you sparkle just a little bit brighter as the crescent moon hovers in the sky. 
        • Mauzan’s kaftan dresses for Eid make a strong case for light layers that deliver on impact. Dusted with sequin details, the cape makes for the perfect Instagram-ready finish. 
        • Elsewhere, Dima Ayad’s celestial motifs offer the quickest way to immerse yourself in the spirit of the month. 

        Neutral cascade cape kaftan, Mauzan

        Dima Ayad modern kaftans

        Metallic embroidered crepe kaftan, Dima Ayad

        The finishing touches: 

        • With lustrous details on your bingo card, you will want to opt for an understated route with your accessories. 
        • Drape a beaded bag on your wrist and slide your feet into a pair of satin heels to stand a little taller than the crowd—we love René Caovilla’s crystal-embellished pair. 
        Satin heels

        Margot crystal-embellished satin point-toe pumps, René Caovilla

        Modern kaftans for dinner parties

        What the invite says: Elevated casuals

        What to look for in your wardrobe: 

        • Looking to cinch your title as the hostess with the mostest? A showstopper outfit can get you there so much faster.
        • If you are looking to put something together without much thought, there’s no denying the one-and-done appeal of a classic kaftan. 
        • Whether you are throwing a grand sit-down dinner or clustering around the table with your friends and loved ones, the right details can make all the difference. 
        • At Taller Marmo, you’ll find that fringe trims have assumed the spotlight. Ready to twirl the night away on the ‘gram?
        • If you are looking for something more understated, there’s no going wrong with a satin number. 
        • Especially if it comes in the form of Dima Ayad’s two-toned numbers that offer a subtle hint of shine. 
        Taller Marmo kaftan

        Divina fringe kaftan, Taller Marmo

        Dima Ayad modern kaftans

        Two-tone satin-twill kaftan, Dima Ayad

        The finishing touches:

        • Depending on the silhouette of your kaftan, you can devote your attention to one standout accessory to serve as the focal point of your look. 
        • Don’t want to leave your arms bare? Stack some chunky gold bangles before you head out the door. 
        • Hopping across town for a quick dinner? The mini bag is every fashion insider’s favorite staple for stashing the bare essentials. 
        Jacquemus mini tote

        Le Chiquito Moyen mini leather tote, Jacquemus

        Modern pastel kaftans for a sundowner cruise

        What the invite says: Glam formals

        What to look for in your wardrobe: 

        • If your plans for the season involve a weekend away, your suitcase is likely stacked with kaftan dresses for every occasion. 
        • Yes, light cover-ups make the cut for a quick dash from the beach to the bar. But for more formal events on the itinerary, a more elevated take on this staple will help.
        • Allow your search to be guided by pastel numbers that echo the colors of the sunset around you. 
        • Light-as-air organza sleeves will help you nail the memo on breezy chic—a fact that designer Roua Almawally knows all too well.  
        • Her floaty creations are known to champion cotton candy hues, delivered with oversized sleeves for making an entrance. 
        • Not one to say no to a touch of embellishment? Leave the statement necklaces behind on your dresser. Instead, look to Anatomi’s sage green number drenched with pearls and delicate embroidery across the neck. 

        Oversized-sleeves kaftan in organza, Roua Almawally

        Anatomi kaftan

        Harmony maxi dress in crêpe, Anatomi

        The finishing touches:

        • With a pared-back approach to your outfit, an It-bag will help elevate your look in two ticks.
        • Casually sling a knotted leather handbag across your wrists and don’t be surprised if you fetch compliments wherever you go. 
        Bottega Veneta

        Jodie mini knotted intrecciato leather tote, Bottega Veneta

        Modest kaftans for family gatherings

        What the invite says: Come as you are

        What to look for in your wardrobe: 

        • You’ve sat down with your family and loved ones for dinner a million times. There’s hardly any guesswork in putting together the perfect outfit, right? Wrong. 
        • Intimate, cozy dinners can turn into a night to remember when you devote some thought into dressing up for the occasion. 
        • It is the subtle details that make all the difference. A tassel here, a graphic print there—put it all together and even the most routine dinner suddenly feels infinitely more special. 
        • Need proof? At Leem, you will find that basic white kaftans are elevated with wizard prints and tassel detailing along the neck. 
        • If the fam is gathering for a special occasion or to celebrate a milestone, a modern kaftan abaya will do the trick. We love Simkhai’s embellished desert rose number that makes a strong case for at-home glam. 
        • Belt it at the waist for a cinched silhouette or leave it undone before digging into your mom’s famous kanafeh. 
        Leem modern kaftans

        Wizard printed kaften, Leem

        Simkhai modern kaftans

        Belted crystal-embellished crepe kaftan, Simkhai

        The finishing touches:

        • When styling a kaftan for a family gathering, certain accessories will stand you in good stead. For instance, a coordinated headscarf can help you cover up with ease for prayer time. 
        • Don’t have much time for a curated, cohesive approach to accessorizing? Loop in a pair of baroque pearl drop earrings while you are sitting it out in traffic. Thank us later. 
        Pearl earrings

        Kiku baroque pearl drop earrings in 18kt gold, Damas

        Modern embellished kaftans for a black-tie event

        What the invite says: Elegant formals

        What to look for in your wardrobe: 

        • When dressing for black-tie events, you’ll want to opt for floor-length silhouettes that deliver on easy elegance. 
        • For formal evening events, a touch of restraint can go a long way. Shimmering metallics? Yes. All-over sequins? Better reserved for cocktail hour. 
        • For more help with the former, pleated silk numbers are a safe bet. Just look to SemSem’s metallic number that flows forth like molten silver. Team it with a coordinated headscarf if you are looking to give your abaya the night off. 
        • Texture also assume centrestage in Dima Ayad’s creations. The icy blue number with a billowing silhouette ensures maximum ease of movement for party-hoppers. 
        SemSem modern kaftans

        Pleated sunray kaftan in silk, SemSem

        Dima Ayad modern kaftans

        Striped metallic voile and stretch-knit kaftan, Dima Ayad

        The finishing touches:

        • While you go all-out with shimmering fabrics and ornate embroidery, a classic approach to accessorizing will create a look that stands the test of time. 
        • What do we have in mind? The timeless twinkle of a tennis bracelet around your wrist. A classic pair of diamond studs reflecting the light. 
        • If you are looking to elevate the latter, consider opting for a pair of personalised studs with an Arabic initial of your choice. 
        Hiba Jaber earrings

        Arabic initial “N” diamond stud earrings in 18kt white gold, Hiba Jaber

        Printed kaftans for brunch hour

        What the invite says: Smart casuals

        What to look for in your wardrobe: 

        • Brunch is always a good idea. Especially when you have the perfect showstopper kaftan for the occasion. 
        • For a relaxed morning with your girls at a limitless brunch with poolside, you’ll want light, airy fabrics. Tropical prints that echo the mood of the occasion. Perhaps you can convince your plus-one to get into the spirit of things with a printed pocket square? 
        • Saturated hues and bold florals have undoubtedly taken over the brunch landscape—as evidenced in La DoubleJ’s emerald, feather-trimmed kaftan.  
        • If you like to make a grand entrance, Versace’s signature baroque print makes for a no-brainer. 
        La DoubleJ modern kaftan

        Feather-trimmed floral-print silk-twill kaftan, La DoubleJ

        Versace kaftan

        Printed chiffon kaftan, Versace

        The finishing touches:

        • When working with go-bold-or-go-home prints, a cautious approach to accessories is necessary, if not critical. 
        • Want to take a raincheck on accessories? Fluff your hair into a bouncy blowout and leave the statement earrings at home. 
        • For finishing touches, opt for Christian Louboutin’s PVC mules that deliver on that all-important flash of signature red.

        Christian Louboutin

        Just Loubi 85 PVC mules, Christian Louboutin

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