#100wears: Kaftan

#100wears is the most beloved garment section where I show off the longevity of items I’ve worn at least 100 times and urge to elevate the rather low #30wears aspiration. Basically, a love song, a poem, a “there are some garments so good I can’t stop wearing them”… My second-hand kaftan is one of those.

(I’m now Googling trying to understand why my 14-year-old self would decide that this is a kaftan. If any of you have more info on this piece of garment differentiation than Wikipedia, let me know. Is it about length, after all?)

And my 14-year-old self it was, because – together with my parka – this garment is among the oldest ones in my wardrobe. I don’t have a precise acquisition date, bet has to be around 2002. It was still the epoch when we’d spend a lot of times in thrift shops with my mother, and I got this one in a profoundly second-hand smelling used clothes shop in a basement on Skolas st. in Rīga. Second hand imports – brought in as ‘humanitarian aid’ to the (still) suffering Eastern Europeans – were abundant and there were treasures among them.

However, while I was looking for treasures and bringing them home, I wasn’t necessarily wearing them. But then I wasn’t purging my wardrobe either, so the little kaftan survived until it’s moment came some 7-8 years later. The only memory related to this garment from my high school days is using it as an example in my economics homework. The label has faded by now, but then it still clearly stated ‘made in UK’ which for a person used to seeing only ‘made in China’ or just rips where the labels used to be looked very cool. That economics homework was exactly about this: ‘look around your house and find items made in different countries [to understand that we live in a globalized world and how goods travel around the globe]’. I felt very smug about having a ‘made in UK’ dress laying around!

I started using this garment as loungewear and super-informal (and oh! so comfy) errand outfit during my undergrad years. It has enough detail – golden ribbons, ruffles, puffy sleeves, pattern, nice color – to throw the attention off the fact that I’m wearing a nightgown (and have beach hair, puffy eyes, hurry or whatever the reason I was too lazy to actually dress up). I always get an internal chuckle when people comment on ‘my beautiful dress’. I tried wearing it to work once, I think, and it really didn’t feel appropriate to me. I still got several ‘what a beautiful dress’ comments, though.

(Nightgown, by the way, is not a good use for this one because the golden ribbons are too rough when they touch my face + all my attempts at nightgowning end up with me waking up naked and with a lot of cloth around my neck. How is that thing supposed to stay down anyway?)

From the time when taking selfies was used as a hangover cure (Salamanca 2010/2011):

Throughout the years I’ve used it mostly as loungewear, hence the ‘look’ is mostly that of a sleepy gnome craving bed and falling face-down in my porridge, like so (Salamanca, summer 2013):

Mykonos, September 2017.

The wear and tear of the years is becoming visible – soft viscose is not forever, unfortunately! There have been many washes getting out sunscreen and wine stains among others, and this little garment has had it’s fair share of fixes already: replacing the rubber in the sleeves and closing several tears along the seams. Yet, as the original shape is so generous, it can be fixed and taken in a bit without affecting the feel. So I hope we’ll have some 15 more years together!

What have been your all-time favorite thrift finds? Do you have garments that you’ve had for more than a decade, more than half of your life? If so, is it more about the function or the sentimental attachment now?

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