Elegant Dressing - Kaftan or Tunic?

As the temperature climbs during the summer months, thoughts turn to looks that are breezy, loose and relaxed.  Kaftans, thanks to the current '70s bohemia trend are back.  Whenever I think of a kaftan I see Elizabeth Taylor, Queen of the Kaftan, who seemed to me at least, to be wearing them constantly for all occasions, formal and otherwise.  Because they're full length and often billowy, there's scale and proportion to consider, as none of us want to look overwhelmed by yards of fabric and beading. 

Oscar De La Renta regularly has a selection of kaftans that successfully keeps both the proportions and elegance intact.  Juliet Dunn and Tory Burch also have kaftans in their collections this season, with less embellishment for a very contemporary vibe.  Kaftans have always been the perfect throw-on to go to dinner after a day at the beach, or to entertain at home, although this season's styles can just as easily be worn during the day over white jeans, linen or leather pants and still look movie-star glam! 

The Kaftan dates back to 6000 B.C. originating in Persia and according to legend, Diana Vreeland pronounced the kaftan as "fashionable for the beautiful people," which could make the kaftan seem a little intimidating for the rest of us. For those of us who like a little less fabric, or are not trying to make the big "beautiful people" fashion statement, the tunic is the perfect alternative, worn with shorts or white jeans, Tory Buch has some of the best. Typically, I buy at least one new tunic a season, pack it on all warm weather vacations and find myself wearing it day-to-night.  Effortless elegance is the key here with both the kaftan and tunic - flat slides and an eye-catching necklace are really the only accessories required to make this look complete.