Beyond Comfortable ~ Caftans, Kimonos, Kindness & Home
By TINA WILSON
There is a great deal of talk about comfort. All apparel is now comfortable according to the brands that deliver loungewear, sleepwear, underwear, sportswear, footwear and just about everything else one can think of.
Comfort can come in many forms. I crave the comfort of a text message from someone I have not seen in months. I need the comfort of seeing my great nieces and nephews on Facetime. The comfort of a familiar t-shirt from the 80’s cannot be underestimated or the comforting feeling of cooking a long slow meal on a Sunday night.
My definition of comfy clothing was that it be anything loose, soft, without elastic and easy to fall asleep in. But as I sit in isolation my definition has changed. My needs have changed. I am seeking more than physical comfort. I need “mental” comfort. I am thinking a lot about the images that make me feel safe and secure. Images of caftans, kimonos, and wraps stand out more than ever.
I so desperately want a wardrobe of bright colored caftans inspired by North African culture or a white flowing cotton caftan inspired by the Arab world. There is a sense of grounding and stillness when one wears a caftan. The caftan is a symbol of hospitality and what better to wear on a Zoom cocktail party than a djellaba? Remember Liz Taylor and her caftans, they tended to have beads and jewels on them, but nonetheless she looked right at home? Josie Natori is the queen of the modern caftan; embroidered, printed, beaded, she is inspired by the world.
Bleusalt is an apparel brand that keeps popping up on my iPad screen, they are a casual sportswear brand but what fascinates me are their Wraps. They come in 2- and 3-yard lengths and come in many colors. I am trying to resist the urge to buy both. The history of wrapping oneself is as old as time. It is a very peaceful look, and some of history’s most gracious human beings, wrap themselves in layers of white or brilliant color, like the Dalai Lama. There is comfort in just saying his name, you don’t have to be Buddhist to know that or to feel it. I felt it a few years ago when I “met” him exiting an elevator in New Delhi.
I own a few kimonos, I need more. Kimonos make me feel luxurious. They are the what I wear on the journey to getting made up, to prepare to go out, they are “ritual” and now that I am not going out the need to put one on is stronger than ever. I wish I owned a traditional Japanese ikat kimono in shades of blue, but I do not. I have been looking online and came across a brand called Diarrablu, the patterns are graphic and stunning and yet they exude the feeling of comfort. I have come to the conclusion that that comfy clothing is what we all want, but clothing that makes you feel comfortable is what we all need, there is a difference. There is comfort in grace, kindness, ritual and tradition and I want that for all of us in the coming months.
Stay Home and Be Kind to those who can’t stay home.