We may be physically distanced in quarantine, but our brains are united under the same pants-averse mindset. Who needs those leg jails when Zoom calls reduce us to nothing more than a pixelated bust—or, better yet, a massless voice? The latter truly allows us to test whatever outfits we please, although, more often than not, we end up burrito’d in Ye Olde Costco Robe. You know the kind: It’s 30% polyester, probably 150% cellulose or xanthan gum, and likely pulled from a pile right by the chicken nugget samples in 2014 (alas, the simpler days of grocery store grazing). All of this is perfectly chill, but it’s not super aligned with our 2021 goals of mastering a higher level of retro-quarantine-dandy.
We want to waft our midnight black, jacquard sleeves from one end of the railroad apartment to the other. We want a honey-hued, terry cloth robe that makes us feel like the mustached director of a smutty art-house film, circa 1978, about to destroy our lungs with some Lucky Strikes. While the price tags on some of these babies may run loftier than a single button-up or pair of pants, remember that one swanky dressing robe will do the work of both garments, with thrice the drama. The following robes offer a smorgasbord of vintage personalities for your do dip in and out of as we get increasingly bored, from 1980s-cabin-timeshare-dad, to wistfully-staring-out-of-my-Soho-loft and beyond, and are listed from most- to least-wallet-friendly.
If you watch sus History Channel docs
Herringbone is as iconic as ye olde chevron (before the latter was beaten to death by Pinterest), and has been a go-to since Ancient Roman and Egyptian times for its lasting, straightforward graphic appeal. This robe showcases that frank design sense on a thick and cozy layer of fleece, so that you can gain back a little more dignity during your cringe-YouTube-doc binge.
John Christian Blue Herringbone Fleece Robe, $39.99 at Amazon
A (porn) star is born
If you had a Scarface poster in your first apartment (or boned someone who did) this gown is already in your cart. It’s amazing what some geometric jacquard can do to a simple black robe; we went from the sex appeal of the Relax the Back store and shot it all way up to 1979 adult entertainment mogul.
Jacquard-weave Bathrobe, $59.99 at H&M
Mentally, you’re in the Pacific Northwest
Or somewhere amongst the pines. Carhartt doesn’t make a bathrobe (although they do make a “Chore Coat” for your dog, so they’ve clearly got time), which means this flannel plaid robe is the next best thing. It’s made of cotton and won’t sweat you out as much as fleece (a plus or minus depending on how cold-blooded you are). And whether you're Reptilian or otherwise, you’ll appreciate the true ankle-grazing length for keeping out drafts and other unwanted business.
Flannel People Cotton Robe, $89.99 at Amazon
For that friend who’s still on Carole Baskin’s side
You pay more than $8 for your herbal tea. You guessed your cat’s moon sign by week four of quarantine, but couldn’t stomach finishing Tiger King (so just started matching the cast with their tarot cards instead). Of course your robe of choice is a certified GOTS (“Global Organic Textile Standard,” not Game of Thrones, sadly) cotton gown, whose jolly leopards were hand-screen-printed sustainably as a partnership with artisans in India. Plus: the size range is awesome, going up to 4XL.
Bagheera Robe, $112 at Print Fresh
Sees *one* Op-Art exhibit
For a robe that says, “Why yes, I do have ostracizing opinions on MoMA’s redesign.” The Finnish house of Marimekko was so instrumental to shaping the new wave of vibey 1960s homewares, whether it was through their signature Unikko poppy graphic, or blobs and circles that still feel more cooly sentient than us.
Marimekko Räsymatto bathrobe, $138 at Finnish Design Shop
A mid-century modern “Berry Badrock” robe, whatever that means
Who, or what, is “Berry Badrock?” By the looks of his eponymous robe, either 1. A pool boy from a Wes Anderson movie, or 2. Expired Laffy Taffy. Nevermind. Somehow, the enigmas of Berry melt away under the spell of its namesake robe by the Swedish resort brand “OAS.” that looks straight out of the Carter-era suburbs. Nostalgic hygge.
The Berry Badrock, $175 at OAS
The one to wear in a Nespresso ad
It’s morning on the Amalfi Coast. You slither out of your canopy bed, stand pensively by the window, and let the sea air shed the dead skin from your life. All the while, your body is enveloped by a fluffy, black cotton gown with pinstripes, which are always shorthand for “I’m rich” to the tourists sunbathing below. We love this commercial, and we want to star in it.
Tekla “Positively Conscious” Striped Organic Cotton Dressing Gown, $225 at Farfetch
Fill my tranquilizer with velour, please
This cotton-velour robe is called the “Aston 34,” which means it’s the perfect stay-at-home outfit for committing hedge fund fraud (or vicariously watching a Netflix special about someone else who does). Bonus points for the cool, calm palette. There are days when we just don’t need to taste the whole rainbow.
Aston 34 Men’s Velour Robe, $275 at Derek Rose
A robe for cosplaying as a couch
British heritage brand Liberty makes prints that don’t just cover, but carpet the body in designs of shoulder-to-shoulder florals that are busy enough to make Oscar Wilde die twice. This cotton dressing gown is printed with their “iconic Thorpe design,” which was initially created in 1968 and modeled after one of their earlier 1930s floral prints. It also has camouflaged patch pockets on the chest and hips, for hoarding all of your very small biscuits.
Stella Printed Thorpe Tana Lawn Cotton Robe, $325 at Liberty
This hooded terry cloth robe is so 70s, we can practically feel the wood-grain linoleum beneath our feet. Luxury Italian house Missoni did well by its signature zig zag here, paying homage to the era from whence it came with notes of brown on brown on (lighter) brown. Truly inspired. A piece of forever Slacker Wear.
Missoni Giacomo striped hooded belted cotton-terry robe, $380 at Net-A-Porter
The Baroque bath-gown
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, that means you're still waiting to find the robe that screams "[aspirational version of] you," and all that talk of porn stars and Laffy Taffy hasn’t yet seduced one into your cart. You are truly unhinged, and deserving of a bathrobe that has been tread-marked by the wheels of Baroque angels. Of course it’s made in Italy. Of course it’s half the cost of our monthly rent, but we can at least stare, and maybe, someday, we’ll need it when we commission a velvet self-portrait on our deathbed.
Versace I Heart Baroque Print Bathrobe, $675 at Bloomingdale’s
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