Mr. Magpie lives by fairly strict and highly idiosyncratic rules about what should be done at various points in the day. Even though I am a rule follower by nature, I find myself rebelling against many of his self-appointed directives: we both agree that the bed should be made within about an hour of waking, but that’s where our agreement on time-of-the-day rules ends. For example he feels there is a “breakfast window,” a “lunch window,” and a “dinner window.” If he somehow misses “the breakfast window” by not eating something by 10 a.m., he will fast until lunch — at which point, only “lunch fare” is admissible. Thus, he is the only white male under the age of 40 who actively hates brunch. And don’t even get him started on the “monstrosity” of “breakfast for dinner” — a tradition I cherished as a child. I could eat pancakes all the livelong day, and will admit that I have indulged in more than my fair share of cereal at odd mealtimes in my day, but he will recoil in disgust if I share such admissions.
But perhaps his biggest bugaboo is wearing pajamas before bedtime.
On the one hand, I see his point. Like my own parents, he tends towards formality: I was raised in a household where we sat together at the formal dining table with a linen tablecloth every night for dinner–and were expected to dress accordingly. (“No hats at the table!” my mom would chant in my brother’s direction. “Tuck in your shirt!” my father would follow.) I like the notion of dressing nicely for dinner, of sitting down and recognizing that moment in the day as something special and familial.
And I have always been a huge proponent of “getting dressed” for the day, even when I work from home and the likelihood that I will see anyone is nil. I carry myself differently when I have put thought into what I am wearing, when I feel good about myself and my appearance. In college, I regularly wore sundresses to class, even when about half of my classmates would roll up in athleisure or straight-up sleepwear.
But by around six-thirty or seven p.m., I crave comfort. I want to be out of my constricting jeans and into loose cotton. I long for the breeziness of a robe, the fluff of my ridiculous slippers underfoot. And yet I respect Mr. Magpie’s perspective so dearly and dread his inevitable query — “PJs already?” with such ferocity that I will try to wait until after mini has gone to bed and we are approaching the hour of sleep to change.
And that is why I have become a caftan queen.
The caftan is the perfect loophole to this quandary. It projects a point of view, but is effortless and comfortable. Mr. Magpie understands it as a dress even though it is closer to a nightgown. And when you wear one, you feel you’ve attained some level of urban boho chicness you didn’t quite think you were capable of.
Below, my favorite caftans. (Incidentally, a great buy for pregnancy and post-pregnancy.)
+Pippa Holt. I’ve drooled over this label (shown above) for seasons now — and they also carry mini-me styles. All of the pieces from this collection are hand-made and take about a month (!) to produce.
+SZ Blockprints — DUH. I’ve talked your ear off about this brand, but they are loose, airy, adorable, and better priced than a lot of the other styles out there.
+Emerson Fry. Love the shape/cut of this style.
+Mi Golondrina. The hand embroidery on these one-of-a-kind pieces is insane! Obsessed. They also just launched a special collaboration with Maisonette for children, and their pieces are swoon-worthy.
+Hemant and Nandita. I simply love the print of this style.
+Frances Valentine. I just ordered one to wear home from the hospital.
+Anything from Muzungu Sisters, but especially this embroidered style.
+A shorter length: this, from La Sireneuse Positano.
+This from 9seed. Can’t get enough ric rac these days!
+Not quite a caftan, but how cool is this animal-print kimono?!
Basically any of these could be worn out of home with a pair of smart sandals. I tend to rely on my Hermes Orans to tie a look like this together, but I also love the look with either statement slides like these or leather lace-up sandals like these (get the look for less with these).