THE BIRTH OF THE CAFTAN CUTIE...IN 2 PARTS
Updated: Aug 17
Part One of how sheltering at home during a pandemic led to me creating a *movement* of caftan clad cuties.
It’s amazing what one can create when they don’t know they’re creating something. If you’re reading this blog you may already be a card-carrying Caftan Cutie, or maybe you just stumbled upon it as you fill your hours at home during this global pandemic pouring through articles and think pieces. Either way, I’m happy you’re here.
At the moment that I am typing this, I am a mere six weeks post “birthing” a movement described as one of my Cuties (term of endearment for the Caftan Cuties group members) as something we didn’t know we needed.
Let me begin at the beginning…
I live and work in the NY metropolitan area in the fashion industry and as a part-time professor. So like everyone, when the world seemingly came to a grinding halt in March due to the incredibly rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, I floundered for understanding, searched for distractions, and wondered how long our lives would be altered. One by one my children’s schools announced distant learning plans, and my and my husband’s companies instructed us to work from home for the foreseeable future. Then I was furloughed from my main job.
Time on my hands…
Bring on the virtual fitness classes, meetings, seminars, happy hours and all the other things I threw myself into in order to stay busy and distracted as state by state, country by country everyone was forced to slow down outside of the home. It’s in this environment that the Caftan Cutie was born.
If this was a movie, this would be where the flashback happens…
Picture it, Maryland circa 2010-ish…I’m conversing with my friend Yvonne and we’re talking about all those symbols of being a grown a$$ed woman. We wondered when we would be the church ladies in big hats sitting in the front pew. We joked about speaking unfiltered like our grandmothers. We mused about when we would be ladies who float around our homes in caftans. Humorously she gifted me a caftan for my birthday and stated, “We’re caftan ladies now dammit!” I’m pretty sure she added ‘dammit’ for emphasis. Probably around the same time my mother-in-law also gave be a beautiful caftan like garment from her home country, Ghana. Up until now I probably only wore each of them once or twice. I hadn’t yet matured into my caftanness.
Fast forward to the end of March 2020, I was invited to a virtual tea party and while we sipped on our tea from our pretty teacups and talked about how we had to adjust to the new abnormal my older sister Nadine—one of the tea party attendees—mentioned that she was embracing her inner Mrs. Roper and was going to incorporate caftans into her work from home attire.
Side note: IF you do not know who Mrs. Roper is, we can’t be friends…
We cackled about Mrs. Roper, the character from legendary 70s sitcom “Three’s Company” meddling in the lives of her tenants while wearing bright (read: loud), heavily patterned caftans and muumuus, with her bangles clacking, her beaded necklaces clicking and her curly fro popping! Nadine’s description needed no explanation—all of the ladies in the virtual party were of a certain age, so we immediately got the visual.
A few days later my sister tagged me in a social media post saying she had purchased more caftans for her work from home wardrobe. I remember chuckling at the post…I also recall taking a look at what had become my stay at home uniform, a hoodie and leggings, and thinking hmmmm…..
Original work of Nicole Finigan Ndzibah a.k.a. The Caftan Cutie – May 18, 2020