The perfect beach cover-up has been elevated to the on-the-town maxi.

The trendlet

This year, caftans make the cutest of day dresses when paired with flats, sandals, and platform sneakers.

Where do they come from?

The Middle East, of course. Caftans — basic, loose-fitting robes that are often slipped over the head — are, in all honesty, the original pieces of apparel. They are the basis of the Japanese kimono or the Muslim overgarment and were largely considered cultural apparel until the 1960s, when designers ranging from Yves Saint Laurent to Diane Von Furstenberg made caftans cool for the every day. Fast-forward to this summer, and suddenly caftans are a part of a minimalist/athleisure movement. Runway designers like Naeem Khan and Rachel Zoe featured them on spring runways, and celebrities from Oprah to the Kardashians have been pictured lounging in them. It's no wonder some of our favorite emerging designers are putting their personal touches on the simple garment.

Tell me about these

Featured caftans are courtesy of Philadelphia Fashion Incubator designer-in-residence Sara Keel. They are $265 apiece and available at

Caftan made from hand-dyed silk panels, by Sara Keel. $265. Available at
David Swanson
Caftan made from hand-dyed silk panels, by Sara Keel. $265. Available at

Whoa. Why are these so expensive?

Because these are made of 100 percent silk — which isn't cheap, you know. But these are well worth it because they are one of a kind — as in you won't find another caftan like this on anyone else.

Can I get them anywhere else cheaper?

Yes, but they will be mass-produced and — who knows? — your seams might creep apart. But there are cute versions at your favorite mall haunts, from J.Crew to Tommy Bahama to H&M.

Who is wearing them?

Those of us who like 1-2-3 dressing and consider belts optional.

Would Elizabeth wear one?

Yasss! Pajamalike apparel is second only to wearing actual pajamas.