Every now and then, I will get an idea in my head and then not be able to shake it. It might be something simple, like I really must get a good recipe for Cornish pasties and try making them or it might be more involved, liked deciding five years ago last month to start a blog (and hoo boy, I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into). But whatever the idea is, it is an itch that must be scratched until it’s gone.

I’ve recently decided that my robe situation is not acceptable. And by robe, I mean those comfy garments one schlumps around the house in. I’m guessing we all have a favorite tattered robe or two. Possibly said robe is very old and not something you’d ever want anyone to see you in (other than the person or persons with whom you live and that’s only because they’re legally stuck with you). And if you’re newly in a relationship, this robe is not the one you break out after your first, ahem, sleepover with your romantic interest. Oh no, you wait until far, far, FAR later in the relationship before showing your warts and scars and schlump.

I have three schlumpy robes: an emerald green terrycloth robe that I wear after showers (13 years old), a vivid red fleece robe that has the odd distinction of having been my great-grandmother’s, although I don’t think she wore it much before she died (at least 10 years old), and a pale blue cotton waffle-weave robe that I bought when I was pregnant with Ellie so that I’d have something pretty to wear in the hospital (11 years old) (it’s really not all that pretty anymore). All are more than a bit schlumpy and all are more than a decade old, so I’m thinking it’s time to add something new to the rotation.

What I want is a pretty robe. Or two. Something that would just make mornings a bit more palatable when the alarm goes off at oh-my-god o’clock and we all shuffle downstairs to figure out breakfast and face the day. Also, something that would look pretty on those rare days when I stay in my PJs all day.  (Yesterday was totally one of those days, due to a cold and mild fever.) Something that I could pack for vacations and when the TSA inevitably goes through my luggage, at least no one would comment, “Pity the poor bastard whose wife wears this schmatte.”

Actually, what I’m thinking of can’t be called a robe because that doesn’t sound pretty. Perhaps it should be called a kimono, because what I have in mind is soft and lovely and floaty and definitely not at all schlumpy. It would sit lightly on my shoulders and be at least as long as my calves, if not my ankles. It would have loose sleeves that would get in the way when I’m putting containers of grapes and carrots in the girls’ lunch boxes, but at least those sleeves would look pretty when they’re in the way. And it would float around my legs as I move around, as if it were caught on a breeze. I’m thinking of soft blues, purples, and greens. Possibly a floral print. Something utterly feminine. At first, I thought I wanted something made of silk, but I’m not 100% sold on that. Maybe a soft organic cotton or bamboo?

What I don’t want is cheap Asian sweat shop-made rayon, polyester, etc. I don’t want flannel or fleece or terrycloth. I don’t want the colors or pattern to be garish. I don’t even want it to be too bright. And definitely not shiny. In other words, nothing that looks like it belongs in a bin at the Goodwill or on someone in an overnight holding cell.

I did some searching online and came across some interesting robes, kimonos, and other similar garments.

For example, this one, which is labelled a caftan.  I’m sorry, but caftans are not what I had in mind. What that brings to mind is Mrs. Roper from “Three’s Company” and I am no Mrs. Roper. This caftan should not even be included among the other kimonos and robes that popped up, even if it is ridiculously overpriced. Spending a lot of money on a caftan doesn’t make it pretty or sexy; it just makes it overpriced ugliness.

I am also going to have to ix-nay any garment that has the words “velour” or “lounger” in its description, such as this one. That, my friends, is lingerie for the over-80 set, which is not at all what I have in mind. Also, it looks like a choir robe. Oh, and those slippers need to be burned. Now.

Another one of my first online shopping stops was Victoria’s Notsosecrets. There, I found a few lovely things, although I have to confess that I was not one bit enthralled by the leopard print one, in spite of my professed love for leopard. And this one was just too Hugh Hefner for my taste. Nope, neither of those will do.

I moved on to Etsy and found a shop that sells all sorts of pretty things, including lots of lovely kimonos. J’adore this one and this one. They also sell pajama pants that are so pretty that I’d be tempted to find a way to wear them in public. At the very least, I might need some for sleeping. Maybe Pete would appreciate them or maybe not, but I would totally feel amazing in them.

In another Esty shop, I found this lovely lavender kimono. Such a pretty color. Which reminds me that I need to tell you: Y’all wouldn’t believe how much purple I have in my wardrobe these days, especially as compared to a year ago when it was mostly in hues of black. I’ve come a long way in the past year.

And here’s another one on Etsy that is stunning, but this one is hand painted and comes with a $989 price tag that puts it far out of my price range. Still, it’s nice to look at, nicht wahr?

Here’s one that is made of organic cotton and which is a reasonable price. And let anyone think I’m looking at the gray one, I’m actually eyeing the blue and white one. Try not to let your jaw hit the floor in shock.

What one wears with such a robe depends on your particular situation and what you might be doing while wearing the robe. The fact is, most days, I’d wear mine with the jammies I slept in. Those used to be a hodge-podge of t-shirts and schlumpy pants, some of which were simply stained t-shirts that could no longer be worn out in public due to an unfortunate meeting of cotton and bleach. But then I came to the realization last year that wearing such rags to bed is no fun at all, so as my old stuff has gotten too big, I’ve been replacing it with pretty PJs.

Then there’s what one wears on one’s feet when wearing a frothy pastel kimono, because clearly your stinky beat up fleece scuffs will not do. I also don’t think those maribou trimmed mules worn so often on daytime soaps are what I have in mind either. Something in between, but I’m not sure what.

What about the rest of you? Who has robes and who has kimonos? Come on, share your secrets with us.

Photo credit: Yahoo Images.
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15 Responses to Enrobed

  1. jen_alluisi says:

    I admit, I’m not much of a robe person. They always seem to be extra, unnecessary, and in the way to me. I do have a shortish silky robe in a lovely bright sky blue color, as well as a warm, head-to-toe schlumpy Druid-looking purple robe (good for sick days), but I can’t even remember the last time I wore either one. When I get up in the morning, I wear my PJs – usually a t-shirt and some kind of pajama pants or capris, maybe with fleece socks if it’s particularly cold. When I get out of the shower, I put on my underthings in the bathroom and then just walk into the bedroom to lotion up and dress – no robe needed, for me. Am I the only person who doesn’t care for robes?

  2. Strictly Jen says:

    OK, here that is a dressing gown. I never knew you didn’t call it that.

  3. Cassi Renee says:

    I don’t really wear robes either (although I’d wear that hand painted one anywhere). If I’m wearing pjs, then a robe feels in the way. If I’m wearing a nightgown, then the robe isn’t offering any extra warmth for my lower legs. So it seems superfluous either way. In the summer, wearing a short nightgown or shorts pjs it might work, but then I’m hot and don’t need the extra layer. I dress right after I shower, so I don’t need anything to wear between the two.

    I do own two robes, one a white cotton and one a warm fleece, but I never wear either of them.

  4. alison says:

    I love my beat-up, cat-claw-pull-covered (man, I’m in the hyphen zone today), ecru terry robe. I wear it year-round after showers. I have no-one to impress, or disappoint, so I’m totally function over form.

    I did have a lovely kimono once. My dad brought it back for me when he gave a talk at a conference in Japan. It was white, with gorgeous red and purple floral patterns on it — full length and with the classic hanging sleeves. It wasn’t silk, though, it was some sort of silky synthetic. Which was probably a good thing when I was making breakfast one morning for my boyfriend at the time and accidentally trailed one hanging sleeve over the lit stove element. Silk probably would have burst into flame, but my sleeve just flared up for a second and then melted a bit with browned edges like charred paper. Romance fail.

  5. Jenny says:

    Well, aren’t we all multilingual these days! And you have another blog. What’s next, I wonder.
    I’m wearing my Aunt’s old robe, very Canadian blanket looking and at least 18 years old. Lots of miles left here.
    My husband’s pet name for his sister is Schmatte. She doesn’t mind. I would.

  6. Aunt Snow says:

    I actually own three lovely Japanese kimonos – but I never wear them.

    I’m currently writing this while wearing a pair of cotton pajama pants, the t-shirt I slept in, and a ratty old cardigan – this is my typical morning pre-shower attire.

    I tend to sleep with bare legs, and then pull the pajama pants on in the morning against the chill of the house – I wear the pajama pants for about one hour each day, which means I give them four or five days’ wearing before they go into the laundry.

    I’ve gotten so lazy about my morning attire that I even wear the pajama pants out in the street to walk the dog – although where I live “street” doesn’t always mean I’ll encounter any other human beings.

    I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever really worn a robe – I don’t think so.

    Those cotton kimonos are cute though….I like to BUY kimonos, just never wear them.

  7. My favorite is actually a [very old] cotton knit robe from Victoria’s Secret; not racy at all, soft as a kitten but now ragged with age; so we match. Also from VS is a big soft french terry wrap that gets baggy in the seat soon after washing and has little pills and snags all over it; also not racy. I recently received a purple silk wrap kimono from Chinatown, flattering and elegant but it constantly falls open in front AND the sleeves hang in the sink as I clean up the kitchen, so it lives on the back of the door; mocking me. The best “robe” is yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Perfect for sick AND well days and can even, in a pinch, be worn to the store, not that I would EVER do such a thing.

  8. Caftans and pretty robes were a weakness when I was younger. Now, not so much. The only kimono I ever had was one I bought from the hotel we were staying in. It was a soft cotten and I wore it to shreds.

    I have a short sleeved robe for warm weather, and two robes with long sleeves, both cotton, one heavier than the other. I get too warm pretty quickly, so cotton knits are best for me. I would hate the feeling of that satin robe, but I like the classic style and piping.

    I like the Garnet Hill robe, but I want full coverage, so the fact that it doesn’t close is an issue. Now that I think of it, the zipper on my “summer robe” is broken, I should get a new one this year.

    See what you started?

  9. Andrea says:

    I used to wear a very pretty kimono-style robe, but I haven’t in years. After I clicked on your links and then discovered Amazon was now showing me ugly velour “loungers”, I Googled kimono robes and started looking. Thanks, I think. :)

  10. Julie says:

    I made up my mind when my 3rd boob got as big as the rest of my chest, that tie robes were no longer going to be considered when I was out robe shopping, because I do wear robes in the winter–we have a drafty house, and the heater doesn’t do it for me in just pj’s. So, I buy 2-3 robes every few years, because man, they get some use! I switched out to zip front robes only, and I started off with Stan Herman’s, because he does zippered robes like nobodies business! He’s on QVC now, and I have been known to buy them from there, but prefer shopping at the one store that carries his brand around here, because after I went to zip only robes, I narrowed down my comfort level even more—no high collars (personal body oven does not permit such heat retention! aka hot flashes) no cuffed sleeves—gets in the way when hand washing dishes and wiping down kitchen countertops, and must be at least mid-calve length. Colors I go with are either blues/ pinks, grays, to match jammies. I don’t wear robes in the summer, even if they are thin, cotton, and zip. When I go out in front to fill the cat’s water bucket, I wear my jammies and a puffy down jacket and Crocs. Oh yes, I be stylin’! I love Garnet Hill, too. Pricey, but the cotton offerings are yummy!

  11. bdaiss says:

    I always want to wear robes/dressing gowns. But then I get one and it annoys me. I have a big heavy terry cloth one that I picked up before the boy was born. I love how soft and cozy it is. But hate how bulky it is. So the old soft faded (mucho holey) sweatshirts win. Also – I have many awesome pj pants but never buy sets because I like my pants extra bigs but not my shirts. So $6 shelf tanks from Target it is…

    But I fully support you in your quest for an awesome robe and fun pj’s. : )

  12. Susan says:

    Chenille robes feel very good!!

  13. Kim Kasch says:

    I have a ridiculous stash of robes and you know what? I never even thought about it before. I have a couple that are ooo-lah-lah sexy – that I never wear but I couldn’t resist. I have one red satin thing that is super cute and I wear it in the summer. I have one fleece warm one that I wear all the time. So, who am I fooling…maybe only myself when I buy those sexy slinky numbers.

  14. I was going to suggest Garnet Hill! How funny!
    I still wear a plaid flannel robe that was purchased for me to wear to CAMP when I was in 6th grade–that “cover up” between the showers and the cabin. It suits me still.

  15. I’m in love with the purple batik print! But I’m more likely to use it as a swimsuit cover-up than as an actual robe. It’s just too easy to throw on a pair of comfortable pajamas (cotton lounge-wear style)… the kind I’ve been known to wear all day with a sweatshirt over them.
    Oh, and it’s bare feet all the way!

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