The Pink Kaftan


Just before Christmas, my Mum and I went on our annual, post school nativity jaunt to Cedar Farm for lunch and a giggly mooch. And there we bought kaftans for each other… mine tie-dyed pink and hers an explosion of burnt¬†orange, before eating Peasants salad, drinking home-made lemonade and putting the world outrageously to rights.

Then I took my kaftan home and forgot about it. Until the day before yesterday when I pulled it over my head and experienced floaty, cottony bliss. Oh yes. Your house mistress has got herself a new house coat.

Ugh. House-coat. Isn’t that just the worst expression ever? It conjures up images of pernickety, gossipy suburban women for me and then I realise I am one and had better equip myself with the kind of garment one needs in order to be accepted into their circles. One does so like to integrate. If only so that I can cause a riot…

Once upon a time, I used to decorate for a lady who would greet me at her front door in the most pristine of white broderie anglaise pyjamas. There she would be in a different pair everyday and I would drag my paint splattered self into her house and envy the easy, fresh way she kept house, while I recommended wallpaper and painted horses on to her walls. White pyjamas were what she kept house in. The indoors her. And though I would last two minutes in white pyjamas before a bottle of ketchup exploded all over me and I scared the window cleaner into believing I had sacrificed the cat to the God of Domesticity, I always hoped that one day, I would grow up and turn into the kind of woman who looked… clean.

But it never happened. My Dad tells me I have got an untidy face. And what with the untidy hair and penchant for chocolate, white and I were never going to get together and present the world with the epitome of all that is fresh and natural. It just isn’t happening. I’m messy… and though I’ve spent thirty years trying on various forms of house uniform I have never managed to discover anything that made me look semi-presentable on the doorstep waving goodbye to Finn, ¬†for somehow I always end up walking the sartorial line between mad mary and back street harlot and never quite pull off natural, sophisticated indoor look that my sister and probably every other women seem to manage with aplomb…

Trust me…messy is the kind of affliction you don’t want to try on. Thank heavens then for the pink kaftan! I have given up on fresh and natural – for why beat your head against a broderie anglaise brick wall – and instead I am trying bohemia on for size. All of a sudden, I can wonder around without risking cleavage slippage of the kind one endures in a wrap around dressing gown while imagining I am Elizabeth Taylor in the Richard Burton years…

So today I bring you this missive wearing a pink kaftan, hair still piled up high in a crazy, scraggy fashion and a pair of hoop earrings I have added for the kind of arty drama guaranteed to scare children. There is black make up smudged around my eyes that refuses to be removed and black bags beneath them because I am so very bad at going to bed at a decent hour lately.

~And what’s most galling of all? My Mum will be wandering around in her Kaftan, managing in a cloud of blonde hair to pull off both bohemia and clean and pristine. I blame my father. Most things are his fault. We have got the same noses.

Welcome to the new indoor me Sweetheart…

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5 comments on “The Pink Kaftan

  1. Dolores Lynn on said:

    Oh please, a picture of the pink Kaftan!

  2. Shelanne on said:

    Cedar Farm, here I come. My fleecy Christmas pyjamas are getting too unseasonal to tolerate and a kaftan sound more forgiving on the, erm, bottom area that the onesie my daughters keep recommending I wear!!!!

  3. I can quite relate to your description: I have always wanted to have that sophisticated ‘grown-up’ air. Like my boyfriend’s mother at church in the 60s! More than ‘grown-up’, I am now a crone, two grown-up boys and two grand-daughters & retired from a responsible job. But always feel like a scruffy teenager!

  4. Annmarie on said:

    What I want to know is, where can I get the pattern you show?