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Also spelled, Kaftan; it was originally a man's full-length garment of ancient Mesopotamian origin, worn throughout the Middle East. Caftan-like robes can be seen depicted in the palace reliefs of ancient Persia dating to 600 B.C. A number of the traditional garments, small and plus size, were originally derived from ancient cultures in the region, particularly from Persia (Iran) and farther east in India, Mongolia, and Asian Russia.


The caftan was an open, coat like garment, termed in ancient Persia a candys or kandys. Also worn extensively in the cooler climates of Mongolia and China, the style extended westward to become, eventually, the fashionable wear of the late Ottoman Empire.


plus size caftan

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. From there it also came to refer to a black frock coat worn by Hasidic Jews since the European Middle Ages. 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.


The caftan eventually made its way to Russia and then to what is now Turkey. The Turks also adopted caftans, and then brought the style to Hungary and Poland when they conquered those lands. Subsequently, there were occasional vogues for Turkish dress in Italy, Germany, and England, and the caftan became the model for later Western garments featuring fitted backs and open fronts.


During the 9th and 11th centuries, the caftan had been adopted as European court dress in a richer motif than ever, encrusted with jeweled embroideries and dyed in deep colors, especially purples and reds. Open down the centre front, this coat like garment was shaped to fit at the back. For both sexes the caftan was accompanied by trousers, not full like the Middle Eastern types, but more elegantly and closely cut, especially on the legs where they were tucked into boot tops or worn over shoes.

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.







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