Buying Guide – How to Shop for a Robe
Whether you use it for drying off after a nice, hot shower, lounging around on a Saturday morning, or to keep you warm and comfortable around the house, robes have become a must-have wardrobe staple. Robes also help maintain thermoregulation for sleepers, resulting in more restful nights with fewer waking episodes.
To help you choose the perfect robe for you or a loved one, below we’ve outlined different shopping considerations, material choices, and things to watch out for. Robes have long been used for their comfort and utility, and these days are becoming more and more fashionable, stylish, and accessible. Read on to learn more about shopping for a new robe.
What to Consider When Buying a Robe
Different fabrics offer unique textures and insulation, and some may not be suitable for certain climates or wearer preferences.
Below we have listed the seven most common fabrics for today’s robes and the main benefits of each.
- Cotton: Cotton is very easy to find and very well known, making it relatively inexpensive. Cotton is soft, comfortable, durable, and washes well. It does not insulate heavily and collects moisture versus wicking it away, making the absorbent material perfect for robes.
- Fleece: Fleece repels water easily, making it very moisture-wicking to keep you comfortable and dry. Fleece is also an excellent insulator and is breathable and washable. It is a heavier weight material and works best in colder environments. In warmer or more humid areas, fleece may not be as practical.
- Linen: Linen is made from cellulose fibers which grow in the stalks of flax plants. It is extremely soft and durable, as well as being especially breathable. Linen is a top choice for warmer climates and is considered a luxurious material for sleepwear and robes.
- Silk: Silk has several well-known benefits, such as keeping your skin hydrated and your hair frizz-free. It has tightly-woven smooth fibers to help keep moisture close to the skin and is known to help soothe irritated skin, as it is a hypoallergenic material. Silk is usually more expensive and can be harder to care for. Make sure to read the care instructions carefully.
- Rayon from bamboo: Rayon from bamboo is a soft and breathable synthetic material that has become a popular sleepwear and robe fabric in recent years. It can be anti-microbial and natural in many cases. Rayon from bamboo does not insulate vey much, making it better for warmer homes or climates.
- Microfiber: Microfiber is thin and made of very fine fibers of polyester. It is a very affordable synthetic material, maintains its softness over time, and resists pilling and general wear and tear. Microfiber is less breathable than cotton but will keep you warm with less material.
- Nylon: Nylon is an extremely versatile fabric, known for being thin and flexible, but very durable. It is water-resistant and does not absorb or retain moisture, like many natural fibers. This makes it a fantastic choice for moisture-wicking needs. Nylon is a man-made synthetic material and tends to be less expensive than many other fabrics.
The weave of a robe further dictates its warmth and breathability. Here are five different weaves and their benefits.
- Terry: Terry is also known as terry cloth, terrycloth, Turkish toweling, or terry toweling. It is almost always made of cotton, and is an absorbent fabric based on a plain weave, but has an additional set of loops woven through the surface, which are left uncut to give terrycloth the distinctive looped surface texture we are all familiar with. The added surface area increases its absorbency, making terry the ideal fabric for bathrobes and towels of all kinds.
- Flannel: Flannel is very durable and tends to get softer the more you wash it, adding to its comfort. Flannel is a relatively thin material on its own and is not particularly absorbent. It is a soft woven fabric, made from loosely spun yarn, usually cotton or wool. Flannel is made to insulate, and so is extremely cozy and comfortable in cooler temperatures.
- Satin: Satin is a soft, smooth fabric which drapes beautifully on many forms. The distance between interlacings creates the smooth and glossy surface of the satin fabric. This distance can also cause satin to snag more easily, making it a bit less durable than some other fabrics. Because satin is not absorbent, it is more typically used in dressing gown-style robes and not for right after showering.
- Velour: Velour is a plush knitted fabric made from either cotton or polyester. It often has the same weaving process as velvet and is a less expensive alternative. Most velour robes have terry lining on the inside to make them more absorbent and practical. Velour is stretchy, comfortable, and breathable, making it great for stylish robes in any climate.
- Waffle: Waffle weave fabric, sometimes known as honeycomb fabric, is woven on a loom in a way which makes it very absorbent. The waffle weave also allows air to flow through the fabric so it is fast-drying. The surface of waffle fabric is textured, which gives it more surface area for absorption and cleaning. If you want high absorbency but are not interested in toweling, waffle weave fabric will be perfect for you.
Robes come in many styles, including the following:
- Kimono: Kimonos are T-shaped, straight-lined robes made so the hem falls to the ankle, and features long, wide sleeves and typically no collar. They are loose fitting, with an open-front style and a matching fabric belt for closure. Kimono-style robes can often be found worn over bathing suits, pajamas, and even out in public as a casual summer jacket or tunic. Bathrobes in this style are unlined and made from cotton or silk.
- Shawl-collar: A shawl-collar robe is an open front robe that usually comes with a matching belt and a rolled open collar coming down to a v-neckline. Shawl collars are usually soft and comfortable and can provide additional neck warmth.
- Hooded: Hooded robes are any traditionally-styled or designed robes with either a permanent or detachable hood. Hoods provide extra warmth and comfort.
Both women’s and men’s robes come in almost any color or pattern you can imagine. Children’s robes also often come in fun designs and patterns or have animal prints or cartoons.
If you are splurging and buying a higher-quality robe, you may want to consider going with a solid, more neutral color. This way, no matter how fashion changes, your robe will always be in style. Sometimes going with a trendy or fashionable pattern can get old over time.
Other robe features to consider include:
- Length: Robes for both men and women come in varying lengths, from mid-thigh to knee length, mid-calf, ankle, and even floor length. If you live in a warm climate and want to use a robe to cover your pajamas and lounge in your home, a short length may be a better fit for you. If you are using the absorbent qualities for after showering, a mid-calf or ankle length may be better. If you live in a cold climate and want to use your robe for warmth, longer is better.
- Sleeve length and sweep: In addition to length, buyers should consider sleeve length. Most robes have baggy sleeves, but overlong sleeves can trap heat. Many find them uncomfortable to wear, as well. Sweep refers to the measurement around the wearer’s waist. Knowing your waistline measurements ensures the robe’s sweep won’t be too wide or too narrow.
- Closure: Most robes come with a simple self-tie belt at the waist, often hanging from small belt loops at the sides of the robe. However, there are some styles with zippers, snaps, and even buttons. While belting is most common, it is not your only option. Think about what you want from your robe and see if an open-front tie is the best for your needs or if you prefer more coverage, such as a zippered front.
- Pockets: Most robes on the market these days seem to come with two large front pockets, and some come with more than two. Look at the features of your robe before purchasing.
Robe Shipping, Returns, and Warranty Coverage
Before completing your robe purchase, always check the shipping maps to verify the company you’re buying from ships to your location. If you are purchasing from an international company, check to see if there are additional shipping or customs fees. Also, check delivery times to your area – especially if you are purchasing the robe as a gift.
Some websites offer free shipping. If you are purchasing through Amazon.com, your purchase may qualify for Amazon Prime if you have an active Prime membership.
As with any online purchase, be sure to check the company’s return policy and whether or not they have a warranty or guarantee on your purchase. Every company has a unique policy, so be sure to read over the fine print carefully in case you are not happy with your purchase and want to return it.
If the company offers any sort of warranty or guarantee for their products, you should know what it covers, in case of any manufacturer defects on your product. It’s important to note that most robes do not come with any sort of warranty.
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