9 Caftans We're Living in This Summer

Meet your warm-weather wardrobe's MVP.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Vogue 1936 Models on Diving Board
Vogue 1936 Models. Toni Frissell / Contributor

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 Pajama Set in Cotton Poplin

J.Crew Pajama Set in Cotton Poplin


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

J. Crew Tie-front Cotton-Voile Maxi Dress

Tie-front Cotton-Voile Maxi Dress

J. Crew

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

Ivory And Black Block Print Gwyneth Dress

World Market

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

Beautybatik Women Hand-Blocked Cotton Caftan

Women Hand-Blocked Cotton Caftan


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

Lilly Pulitzer Frey Maxi Cover-Up

Frey Maxi Cover-Up

Lilly Pulitzer

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 Stylish Beach Shirt Dress

Bsubseach Women Stylish Plus Size Beach


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

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

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


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.

Anthropologie The Somerset Maxi Dress

Best Maxi Dresses


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

Flutter-Sleeve Caftan Dress in Tropical Vacation


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

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles