• The Caftan Cutie

The Birth of the Caftan Cutie… Part Deux

Updated: Aug 17


So here’s the thing…for the first couple of weeks that we were told to stay at home I was very comfortable in my hoodie and leggings uniform. I felt accomplished for showering every morning and changing into something other than pajamas. Occasionally I would dress in something else but most days sweats were in rotation. When my sister mentioned wearing caftans as part of her work from home attire I thought back to my convo with Yvonne and the caftan she gifted me. I also envisioned my mother and remembered how I would look at her in awe when, with what seemed like little effort and a lot of grace, she would transform herself in mere minutes from chef stirring a ginormous pot of rice to the hostess with the mostess greeting her party guests in a long dashiki inspired caftan. In fact, the last big family event my mother participated in prior to her passing was my niece’s christening, and Mommy wore a caftan.


The more the merrier…


I honestly can’t remember the actual moment I decided that I too wanted to dig out my caftan, nor when I decided it would be more fun with friends, but both of those things happened. With a few thumb strokes, I posted on my personal social media accounts that I was declaring Saturday April 4, 2020 #CaftanSaturday. The request to my followers was simple, shed whatever had become their stay at home uniform and wear a caftan while they went about their day. I asked that they post pictures on their social media using the hashtag #CutieInACaftan so that I could follow their posts. It was actually my friend Tania, who I’ve known since kindergarten, that reached out to me and asked if I was going to create a group. It made sense! That would make it easy for anyone who participates to see each other’s pictures even if they aren’t social media friends.


I have never created a group, although I belong to several. The main purpose was to give anyone who wanted to participate the option to post pictures so everyone could see. So, I got to work and, in the description, I gave my pitch:

I’m hoping to lighten the mood while we are all in the struggle together. This global pandemic has us inside for the foreseeable future. It’s really easy to get comfy in our uniform of sweats, tees, leggings and PJs…So let’s have fun with it! I’ve declared the first Saturday of April as “Caftan Saturday.” Rock your caftans/tunics...if you feel like it throw on some fun accessories…


I clicked through names on my friends list sending out invitations; and I announced the formation of the group on my social media accounts. The very first #CaftanSaturday I think we had a little over 50 cuties join the group and less than half that posted. It was cute and fun and I truly enjoyed scrolling through the group’s timeline seeing all the Cuties in their caftans and reading as they commented on each other’s’ posts—complimenting each other and lifting everyone up. IT FELT GOOD!


So nice, we had to do it twice…then thrice…then…….


That first Saturday was a fun and carefree distraction from the non-stop news cycle, timelines filled with bad news and our collective worry and pain. I put together a video highlighting the Cuties in all their caftan splendor, excited that they had brought such positive energy to the event. An unexpected thing happened—among the posts from group members in caftans were comments from people saying they didn’t yet have a caftan but they would be ready for the next one. The NEXT ONE?????


In all honesty, I hadn’t given thought past that first Saturday. Seeing the excitement from the Cuties who jumped right in and the ones who wanted to participate had me pulling out my calendar and selecting a second date.


#ISSACommunity


Next thing I know I had Cutie Tamika creating signature beverages for our virtual events. Then Cutie Simone suggested creating a caftan “Don’t Rush Challenge” video. And I reached out to Cutie Karen for charcuterie inspo. We began pooling ideas on how to make our remote meet ups more fun with themes and holiday editions of our caftan days. Oh, and the Cuties don’t wait for an event to post! Increasingly pictures are being shared as they work from home, garden, have their morning coffee and decompress cloaked in caftans. The Cuties also share their favorite finds and the sites where they shop for caftans and we half-joke that we are keeping the economy afloat with our purchases while on lock down.

It’s grown beyond me now…organically. As I began writing this post a few days ago we were a community of a little over 500 Caftan Cuties…as I type right now, we are flirting with 800.


And don’t think we are limited to just the ladies! After I posted a pic of the legendary Andre Leon Talley and Olivier Rousteng, our first caft-man, Frantz joined in on the fun followed by my cousin-in-law Hassan who posed for his birthday pictures with his family.


Can’t stop. Won’t stop.


To say this has become my passion project is on point. I love love love fashion, and clothing and I believe in the power of the right garment to make the wearer feel fantastic from the inside, which radiates on the outside. I also love making people feel good—I’m a Leo, I’m gregarious, it’s innate. Caftan Cuties merges those two loves. So let’s see where this ride will take us, shall we??


Original work of Nicole Finigan Ndzibah a.k.a. The Caftan Cutie – May 27, 2020

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