How to Wear a Caftan for Your Best Vacation Life

The lightweight silhouette never goes out of style.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

To quote the Go-Go’s, vacation is all we ever wanted. This is true any time of year, but especially right now, as schools are getting out, and the weather is finally turning in our favor. Packing for vacation and piecing together outfits in advance, however, is a daunting task we’d much rather pass on.

If you’re jet-setting to an island or somewhere warm, you have the luxury of packing light. Especially when you embrace the caftan: The garment serves as a one-and-done outfit and doubles as a bathing suit cover-up. In other words: It helps you lighten your luggage even further.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Shop Similar: Eloquii Stripe Caftan Dress ($104)

Related:Halle Berry Layered the Glitziest Plunging Caftan Over Nothing But a Black Bikini

What Is a Caftan?

Fashion stylist and co-founder of The Style That Binds Us Alison Bruhn tells InStyle that a caftan (which can be spelled with either a C or a K) is a simple garment, “usually just a long sheath that is sleeveless or with three-quarter-length sleeves.” They are typically constructed from lightweight fabrics like silk or printed cotton, Bruhn explains, and designed to be “comfortable and airy” in the heat.

Bruhn also notes that caftans are not a new innovation; rather, the clothing item has been worn for centuries. According to the Fashion Institute of Technology’s fashion history database, the ancient garment originated in Persia, worn by both men and women, and was most popular among scholars and high-ranking officials.

Still, it took several centuries for the caftan to become as well known in Western wardrobes. In the 1960s, designers like Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent began introducing their interpretations of the garment to their collections. “These led to the caftan becoming the go-to look for the “jet set” when on vacation or entertaining at home,” Bruhn tells InStyle.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Shop Similar: Kyle x Shahida Tiger-Print Kaftan ($359)

Related:Why You Should Roll Your Clothes Next Time You Pack Your Suitcase

How to Wear a Caftan

The caftan is a versatile piece, and one we think should be at the top of your summer vacation packing list. Style therapist Christina Stein agrees, stating you can easily take the caftan “from the pool with a pair of flips flops, pool bag, your favorite swimwear, and hat, to dinner with a coordinating minaudière and heeled wedges.”

That said, if you’ve never worn a caftan before, a little inspiration for how to wear a caftan can go a long way. As Stein mentioned, it can be as easy as throwing one over your bathing suit for a casual beach day look, but the piece can also be worn similarly to how you’d style an evening dress for dinner. According to celebrity stylist and brand image consultant Kara Allan, making the transition from day to night is simply a matter of mindful accessorizing.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

Shop Similar: ASOS Balloon Sleeve Maxi Caftan ($39)

“Caftans can be sexy and fitted or look like a potato sack,” Allan tells InStyle via email. “Thoughtful accessorizing, a lighter weight silky fabric, and a cinched-in waist are the keys to a well-styled caftan. A big beach hat, long jeweled necklaces, or big hoop earrings can take the look from drab to fab.”

But not only do caftans make for an excellent one-and-done ensemble, but the sheath dress is also commonly styled over pants. Stein says she loves the look of a midi caftan paired with flare denim, while Allan notes the garment was “styled as a coat over pants” in the past.” All this to say, the styling options truly are endless.

For more InStyle news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on InStyle.