It’s barely summer in the Western hemisphere and designers have already been showing their Resort 2016 collections, a perennial happening indicative of fashion’s exhausting churn and demand for new designs to stay afloat. First comes Resort, then there’s Pre-Fall, then there’s Mid-Pre-Fall, then there’s Mid-Post-Pre-Fall, and Post-Fall, and Post-Post-Fall, and Pre-Spring, and Mens, and Babies, and Post-Spring-Break-Pre-Easter, to help you wear clothes during that week between Spring Break and Easter, ad infinitum.

I’ve been watching it all, slightly overwhelmed. Some of the clothes have blown me away, though that feeling comes with a caveat of envy and lightweight material heartbreak: they are suited for warm weather; the weather is warm at present; I can’t afford them anyway. I’ve loved the shirred dresses and aggressively ruffled denim at Marques’Almeida; the acidic brights and track suits of Versace; JW Anderson’s wild, Orbital-inspired sculpture-wear; Public School’s severe, art gallerist steez.

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But the thing that I really want, right this very second, is this fucking beautiful kaftan-style dress from Tamara Mellon. Why am I not wearing this kaftan right now?

My platonic ideal of what I always want to be wearing is Bette Midler dressed as kaftan queen and legendary Hollywood agent Sue Mengers in Vanity Fair in 2013. There are no credits on the website, but when I received the magazine in the mail I immediately looked up who made the kaftan she is wearing, since forgotten, and realizing with sadness that, yeah, I couldn’t afford that shit. It was somewhere in the $600 range, as I remember. Kaftans are presently trendy in higher-end Summer 2015 collections, but for me, they are my perennial summer tip, my first purchased around five years ago at a thrift store for $35 (hey, I live in New York), one that I wear to this day. Kaftans are the warm-weather equivalent of the snuggie-style dress I always want to be wearing in winter. They are the perfect summer garment; breezy, light, and producing the impression of having zero fuckitude. The other day, walking to work, I realized I was not only wearing a kaftan but a maxi-kaftan, which felt really cool. (It was approximately 90 degrees, but convenient side slits and roominess kept me crisp; I purchased it for around $12 last summer at a thrift store in Wyoming, god bless.)

The special thing about this Tamara Mellon piece, apart from its proximity to Bette Midler as Sue Mengers in a 2013 issue of Vanity Fair, is that while it is not technically a kaftan—it has a waistline, though would be better without it—it possesses all of the important attributes I am looking for in a kaftan, which is: flowiness, roomy structural arms, a nice slit to let the air in both at the neckline and in the leggal area, and pretty contrasting detailing. It is also in a peachy hue that looks very good on me, so that is also a bonus. I would never, ever wear the matching boots paired with the dress—aside from defeating the purpose of keeping cool, they are tear-inducingly fug—but I do appreciate Ms. Mellon for anticipating other peoples’ desire to wear open toed suede boots in a matching shade of sandy salmon, or whatever they’re calling it.

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If I owned this kaftan thing, I would wear it with no jewelry, little to no makeup, and these insane raffia sandals I bought on sale last summer but have barely worn. Or, I’d wear it barefoot, because I am wearing it on a glamorous beach somewhere in the South of France, or Long Island. I would never wear it with a giant floppy hat because giant floppy hats are good for nothing but kindling, but I might wear it with a little pinwheel cap, or maybe something like this, because fuck it all, I am wearing a beautiful kaftan thing.

I would also not be opposed to wearing either of these truer kaftans, or this fringe thing.

But I can’t because: Resort 2016. Also money.

Free the kaftan!


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.