The caftan, or kaftan, is the traditional dress of Moroccan women. In the era of the Sultans, the caftan was worn by both men and women, The design of the caftan was a symbol of rank, with everything from the patterns to the buttons symbolizing the wearer’s place in the Sultan’s hierarchy. When the caftan came to Morocco, it became primarily an article of women’s clothing.

The Djellaba and the Caftan

The basic Moroccan traditional costume is the djellaba. This is hooded overcloak with a loose fit, designed to cover up the body. It is worn by both sexes, but more commonly by women. The caftan is essentially a djellaba without the hood. It is also loose-fitting, but is usually more elaborate, because it is worn more often for special occasions.

Design of the Caftan

The caftan is a long dress in the style of a robe. Caftans are made of either cotton or silk. They are ankle-length and can be fastened up the front with buttons. A sash around the waist completes the outfit. Some caftans are designed with elaborate colors and patterns, and other styles are much simpler.

The Wedding Caftan

The caftan is the traditional wedding dress of Morocco, although some women prefer a Western wedding dress if they want to appear more modern. Caftans designed for weddings can be very elaborate, with brightly embroidered floral patterns in a variety of colors, including green, red, dark brown and white. The sleeves are full and very wide.

The Takchita

Some define the “takchita” as being synonymous with “caftan,” while others define it as a separate garment. The takchita is made of two layers: a dress covered by a button-up robe. The dress will be made of a fine fabric but will not be especially elaborate. Like the caftan proper, the takchita is worn for special occasions such as weddings.