Vogue 1936 Models on Diving Board
Credit: Toni Frissell / Contributor

15 Caftans We're Living in This Summer

Meet your warm-weather wardrobe's MVP.
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We've already declared the house dress to be our unofficial at-home uniform, so it should only follow that we've deemed its sunny sister, the caftan, our summer wardrobe MVP. Unlike the original housedress, which was designed to #work, the modern Western interpretation of the caftan was designed for leisure. Picture glittering cocktail parties and Slim Aarons's pool scenes. The caftan still flies as formalwear these days (hello, beaded silk), but for our purposes, we're enamored of caftans that swing a little more casual, made from light-as-air cotton and as appropriate for running errands as parking it by the pool. Casual caftans are still effortlessly elegant, with a no-fuss fit that's comfortable for all-day wear and won't require a trip to the dry cleaners. So go ahead, Mama. Shake out your caftan, pour yourself a strawberry margarita spritzer, and settle onto the porch swing. If you close your eyes, it's almost like you're in Palm Beach.

J Crew Relaxed Fit Short Sleeve Shirtdress
Credit: J. Crew

Relaxed-Fit Short-Sleeve Cotton Poplin Shirtdress in Stripe

BUY IT: $128; jcrew.com

Throw it over your bathing suit as a pretty cover-up or tie on the optional belt for a more tailored look.

Kate Spade Hydrangea Caftan
Credit: Dillard's

Kate Spade New York Hydrangea Floral Printed Satin Caftan

BUY IT: $88; dillards.com

Wear spring's favorite flower all summer long in this satin number.

J Crew Tie-Front Cotton-Voile Maxi Dress
Credit: J. Crew

Tie-front Cotton-Voile Maxi Dress

BUY IT: $128; jcrew.com

Pair it with sandals for an easy daytime outfit, or dress it up with wedges and statement accessories.

World Market Ivory And Black Block Print Gwyneth Dress
Credit: World Market

Ivory And Black Block Print Gwyneth Dress

BUY IT: $35; worldmarket.com

A detachable slip simplifies the caftan's day-to-night quality.

Kate Landry Tie Dye Woven Dobby Caftan
Credit: Dillard's

Kate Landry Tie Dye Woven Dobby Caftan

BUY IT: $58; dillards.com

This textured cotton frock gets an of-the-moment update in indigo-blue tie dye. 

Lilly Pulitzer Parigi Maxi Dress
Credit: Lilly Pulitzer

Parigi Maxi Dress

BUY IT: $228; lillypulitzer.com

Kimono sleeves, a bold print, and a breathable rayon blend together make this the perfect summer wedding guest dress. 

Women's Balloon Long Sleeve Tiered Dress in Lilac
Credit: Target

Women's Balloon Long Sleeve Tiered Dress in Lilac

BUY IT: $30; target.com

Look effortlessly put together in this pretty throw-on-and-go pick. 

Beautybatik Women Hand Blocked Cotton Caftan
Credit: Amazon

Beautybatik Women Hand-Blocked Cotton Caftan

BUY IT: $41; amazon.com

This sunny 100%-cotton caftan comes in 25 different colors and patterns.

Frey Maxi Cover Up Dress
Credit: Lilly Pulitzer

Frey Maxi Cover Up

BUY IT: $148; lillypulitzer.com

With the high slit and sheer fabric, this one isn't really designed to be worn beyond the beach or the pool—though we wouldn't blame you for trying. 

Bsubseach Women Beach Shirt Dress in Coral Print
Credit: Amazon

Bsubseach Women Stylish Beach Shirt Dress

BUY IT: $25; amazon.com

Hello, vacation uniform! We can't get enough of this fun coral print. Plus, it has pockets.

Berrino Sorona Camp Collar Long Sleeve Printed Dress
Credit: Dillard's

Roller Rabbit Berrino Sorona Camp Collar Long Sleeve Printed Dress

BUY IT: $198; dillards.com

It's all about the details in this adorable cotton frock, from the camp collar to the cuffed sleeves and the tiered skirt.

R Vivimos Boho Tassel Dress
Credit: Amazon

R.Vivimos Women's Long Sleeve Floral Print Retro V Neck Tassel Bohemian Midi Dresses

BUY IT: from $23; amazon.com

If the dress fits ... buy it in every color! This Instagram influencer favorite comes in 43 patterns and colorways, so there's no shortage of vacation-worthy options.

Jessica Simpson Batik Babe Long Swim Cover Up
Credit: Dillard's

Jessica Simpson Batik Babe Long Swim Cover Up Dress

BUY IT: $88; dillards.com

Because you can never, ever go wrong with blue and white.

Anthropologie Somerset Maxi Dress
Credit: Anthropologie

Somerset Maxi Dress

BUY IT: $168; anthropologie.com

This pick is especially versatile: Wear it over your swimsuit this summer, or pair it with leather slides as an easy day dress this fall.

Madewell Flutter Sleeve Caftan Dress in Tropical Vacation
Credit: Madewell

Flutter-Sleeve Caftan Dress in Tropical Vacation

BUY IT: $98; madewell.com

Dress for the destination in this tropical flora-patterned frock.