A bathrobe or dressing gown/house coat (UK) is a robe typically worn after bathing in the privacy of one's home where the wearer is typically otherwise nude to keep warm and/or preserve modesty at times when there is no immediate need to fully dress. As a robe proper, it is a loose open-fronted robe closed with a fabric belt that is put on over nightwear on rising from bed, or, less commonly today, worn over some day clothes when partially dressed or undressed in the morning or evening (for example, over a man's shirt and trousers without jacket and tie). The regular wearing of a robe by men about the house is derived from the 18th-century wearing of the banyan in orientalist imitation. The Japanese yukata is an unlined, cotton kimono worn as a bathrobe or as summer outdoor clothing. Several styles of bathrobes are marketed to consumers, categorised by textile material and type of weave.
Styles of fabrics
Robes are generally made of four different fabrics.
- Cotton: Cotton is a natural fibre consisting primarily of cellulose and is one of the most commonly used fibres in textile manufacturing. Due to the polarity of cellulose, cotton bathrobes absorb water easily and are frequently used by the beach, pool, or following a shower. Cotton bathrobes are especially suited to use in hot climates because cotton tends to absorb perspiration.
- Silk: Another common fabric used in bathrobes is silk. Silk is a fine lustrous fibre composed mainly of fibroin and produced by the secretions of certain insect larvae (normally silkworms) forming strong, elastic, fibrous thread. These kinds of bathrobes can be relatively expensive due to the cost of producing silk. Such bathrobes are very thin and lightweight. These bathrobes are not particularly suited to wet environments because they lack the surface area and polarity necessary to absorb water. However, silk robes are the traditional choice, since they are not worn after bathing.
- Microfibre: Microfibre is an extremely fine synthetic fibre, typically made of cellulose or polyester, that can be woven into textiles to mimic natural-fibre cloth. Modern microfibres are developed to maximise breathability and water absorption and can be thinner than the width of human hair. Much like silk, robes made out of microfibre are light in weight and are very soft to the touch.
- Wool: Wool is common in colder climates.
Styles of weave
Bathrobes are also categorised by their shape of weave.
- Flannel: Flannel is a soft woven fabric, made from loosely spun yarn, usually cotton or wool.
- Terry: Terry is a pile fabric, usually woven of cotton, with uncut loops on both sides, used for bath towels and robes. The longer and denser the loops are, more absorbent the bathrobes are.
- Velour: Velour is a fabric with cut loops. Velour bathrobes are typically made with terry inside, as terrycloth absorbs water better than velour. Velour gives the bathrobe luxury, cosiness, and makes the garment softer to the touch.
- Waffle: Waffle fabric is loose and has a distinctive "gridlike" appearance. For most part, these bathrobes are designed for their light weight. "Pique" is a type of waffle weave that can be applied to cotton, velour, silk, and other fabrics.
Styles of collars
There are varieties of collars for bathrobes as well.
- Shawl collar: So called because the collar closes about the neck just like a shawl. The shawl collar is borrowed from its use on men's evening wear, the dinner jacket and smoking jacket, and is common on traditional robes. The shawl collar gives a feeling of warmth and cosiness.
- Kimono: The kimono style robe actually has no collar per se. It generally provides more comfort to the wearer in warm weather.
- Hooded: A hood is sewn into the neckline, which can be worn over the head to keep it warm and help dry wet hair.
Styles of sculpture
The sculpture refers to the texture or styling of the robe's fabric. The sculpture of a robe not only provides aesthetic appeal, but also affects the absorbency and the hang of the robe. The sculpture is a pattern sewn into the terry cloth, velour, or other fabric that reduces bulk, increases suppleness, and yields a more graceful hang on thicker robe. There are several varieties of fabric sculptures for bathrobes:
- Window Pane: A box or checkerboard pattern in various sizes
- Zig Zag: A plush, repeating "Z" pattern
- Ribbed: A sculpture design that yields alternating vertical lines of plush material and sewn material
- Waves: Similar to the Zig Zag sculpture, but with gentler angles