A good-quality robe (or several) is often the first and last step in one's daily ensemble.
It can be the first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you change into at night. However, the significance of a nice dressing gown is often overlooked in modern wardrobes. Although they're not as popular as other wardrobe items (why must shoes get all the credit?), nothing says comfort and luxury like a nice robe. Any respectable hotel or spa knows that this accessory is just the way to make guests feel pampered and cozy. Why not make this simple wardrobe accent part of your own apparel?
If you don't have a nice robe or dressing gown, I strongly suggest investing in at least one nice piece. Aside from being comfortable, a dressing gown serves an important function-- to protect and conceal you when you're not yet presentable. Whether you're getting the mail, letting the dog out, walking down a hotel or dormitory hallway from the restroom (yes, there are still many lovely hotels with communal bathrooms), or simply brewing a pot of coffee in the morning, why should your pajamas or undergarments (or less!) become a matter of public knowledge? Some things are better kept to oneself (and one's lover)! Take a word of advice from my favorite blogger, Mrs. Jennifer Scott, and cultivate an air of mystery. Being mysterious is very chic.
Another important function of a dressing gown is to protect whatever you're wearing underneath-- not just what you're not wearing! Aside from issues of modesty, a dressing gown protects nightgowns and pajamas that are made of delicate fabric-- silk, satin, lace... A whole blog post (or several) shall be dedicated just to this topic! Along with wearing better quality items comes the responsibility of caring for those items. A dressing gown keeps delicate, intimate clothing free from coffee stains and daily grime, should you choose to venture out of your bedroom while still in your skivvies. A nice robe will help you to not only extend the life of your clothes, but also add to your esotericism.
Though at least one nice robe is a necessity in my opinion, as with any wardrobe accessory, growing and customizing your assortment of dressing gowns can be a fun way to pamper yourself. Here are my suggestions for starting your own collection.
The bathrobe. Usually terrycloth, the bathrobe is your hardest-working robe. I still have the green terrycloth bathrobe that I bought before going away to college. This is the go-to modesty item for just coming out of the shower. It is a practical addition that is durable and absorbent, as well as soft. It is equally suited for throwing on over a set of pajamas during an emergency fire drill, as it is suited to walking down a long hallway after a shower. Because it wears so well and is so washable, this is the robe that I wear when doing any kind of messy personal grooming, like applying self-tanner, dying my hair, or painting my nails. I like the short- or mid-length bathrobes the best because there is less fabric to smudge toenail polish or fresh tanner or moisturizer. Usually inexpensive, standard bathrobes are a good first choice for starting your robe collection.
The flannel (or fleece) housecoat. One of my favorite kinds of robes, especially during the cold winter months. In fact, I requested and received a beautiful fleece robe for Christmas this year. (Thanks, Sean!) Housecoats are perfect to throw on when you're just getting out of bed during a cold morning, and they are much more practical (and less dangerous) than walking around the house wrapped in a blanket. (See how a nice robe can protect your bedclothes, as well as your nighties?) They are also wonderful to wear at night when you're wrapped up with a good book and a cup of tea. I insist on long, full-length housecoats because they feel so much warmer and cozier than a shorter version. I actually have two of these kinds of robes-- a warm heather-purple one that I wear for regular morning activity, like letting the dog out and brewing coffee, and a soft white one that I wear when I'm just flouncing around upstairs or getting ready for bed. Because of the darker color, I wear the purple robe when I may get it dirty, while the white one is reserved for if I get cold while lounging around. Having a spare housecoat is also nice in case one is being washed.
The satin (or silk) dressing gown. A sexy, chic negligee is the icing on the cake when it comes to topping off your robe collection. These robes are the epitome of luxury and glamor-- who doesn't feel like a movie star while wearing one of these? A silky dressing gown can be a cooler option for covering yourself in the hot summer months, rather than the standard fleece housecoat. For something breezier and lighter, I recommend a shorter dressing gown, but because of the fine and luxurious fabric of your classic neglige, a full-length robe can be just as sexy and chic. Personally, I have a short, blue, satin robe, but I am considering adding to my collection with a full-length dressing gown, possibly in a floral or printed fabric.
Adding to your wardrobe takes time and thought. Invest in quality pieces and explore what kind of robe style works best for your needs and lifestyle. Don't be afraid to add your own flair to your collection through your choice of fabrics, prints, or styles. Aside from being a practical and even necessary wardrobe accessory, a good-quality dressing gown is a nice way to start and end your day in comfort and style.
What clothing accessories do you feel are often under-appreciated?