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Shopping For Bathrobes

Which bathrobes look best, which feel best and finding the right compromise.

Bathrobes – Fabrics and Characteristics

A bathrobe, affectionately referred to as a housecoat, is often our loose-fitting garment of choice after a bath or shower.


Bathrobes are designed to be absorbent and comfortable, donned while we are still wet and serving as a favorite informal piece of clothing, sometimes resembling a well-used towel.

A robe made from velour fabric will act as a warm covering. Velour is soft and lightweight but insulates very well. Velour robes also tend to dry very quickly and absorb water effectively.

Another favored robe choice is that made of microfiber fabric. This fabric is a fine synthetic material made from cellulose or polyester, and is very light and absorbent. As microfiber is developed to maximize breathability, it may be an ideal choice for those looking for a light cover rather than something to warm up in.

Terrycloth is a towel fabric manufactured by knitting or weaving methods and is designed with large loops. The length of the loops in the fabric determines how absorbent the fabric is; a longer loop offers more absorbency.

Silk fabric, also a very popular choice for a bathrobe, is a lustrous fine fabric that is more of a traditional choice as it is not well suited to absorb moisture, and is therefore not donned right after a bath or shower. Silk robes are thin and very lightweight, often more decorative and also more expensive.

Nylon, another synthetic fabric, is less commonly used for robes. Nylon robes are more inexpensive, and they are also easy to clean and care for.

Wool robes, well-known for their warmth-giving quality, are an ideal choice for those living in very cold climates.

With Bathrobes and Towels, Consider the Weave

Bathrobes can be categorized by the shape of the weave used. Velour is a cut-loop fabric often partnered with the more absorbent terrycloth (with uncut loop) on the inside. Waffle fabric has an appearance of a waffle or grid pattern. Waffling can be applied to most fabrics including velour, cotton and silk. Flannel is a loosely spun yarn of soft woven cotton or wool.

The Look Vs. the Feel in Bathrobes

The sculpture of a robe refers to the style or texture of the fabric which gives the garment its aesthetic look. Sculpture affects the hang of the material as well as its absorbency. Bathrobes made from velour, terrycloth or other thicker fabrics have the sculpture sewn into them to increase the suppleness and provide a more complimentary hang to the fabric.

When shopping for a bathrobe, perhaps further consideration can be given to the collar or hood of the robe. A shawl collar is the most common collar in a robe. It closes around the neck much like a shawl and adds to the feeling of comfort. The kimono collar is actually not collar per se; it is an ideal choice to wear in warmer weather. Lastly, a hooded collar has the hood sewn into the neckline, adding the option to cover your wet hair.

Derived from eighteenth-century Japanese yukato (an unlined cotton kimono) and the banyan (a merchant garment of Asian and Persian origins), modern bathrobes are an informal attire meant to be used only within the home (unless you’re Hugh Hefner, of course!)

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