The dreaded dressing gown

For the record, I don't wear a dressing gown.  Never have and I can't really see myself in one, save for an impromptu boxing match.

I don't have anything against them, mind you, but they're just not my style.

A friend of mine, on the other hand, has recently become a convert. Soon after, he suggested I write a blog post on the contentious garment. He thought there must others like him out there.

To me the dressing gown has always seemed an antiquated notion - something my English flatmates wore all day Sunday or strictly the domain of the elderly.  I know, I know, this need not be the case, but I find it hard to shake.

The most famous hepcat, Hugh Hefner, comes next to mind. But his was more smoking jacket and pyjamas, than dressing gown.  These days Hef is about as cool as an Ed Hardy t-shirt.

Never mind, I'm sure your gown is just as suave and everyone knows what you mean when you're comfortably wrapped inside it.

Of course, there are dressing gowns and dressing gowns. There's the lux, plush style robes found in comfortable five-star hotel rooms where presumably you just spend your time half-naked, drinking overpriced booze.  What's not to like? Why would you get dressed?  This is hedonistic bliss.

Then there's the Homer Simpson-esque dressing-gown. The kind worn by people who answer the door with a churlish look, yesterday's breakfast stains on the front covered only by today's Vegemite toast crumbs.

But my friend tells me he is glad the dressing gown has come along to revolutionise his Sunday evenings, his downtime.  And that is just the point. It's all about ease and comfort.  When you have nothing on, no plans or just some spare time, the dressing gown fits.


The other fortunate thing is that, unlike tracksuit pants, dressing gowns are rarely seen in public, except for the crazy and the patients smoking out the front of your nearest hospital.  The dressing gown and, more importantly, the wearer of the dressing gown, know their place.  So this is not so much about how you wear it or even where you wear it, but if you wear it at all.

I know there are luxury brands for those looking for the edge in comfort or a way to wipe their hands on the thickest and plushest velour available, but I don't know if I'm convinced yet.

I do understand why my friend has converted. I get it. But I'm more of a blanket guy myself. And I know I can share the blanket, even if ultimately I end up with just a little corner of it.

Come to think of it, the dressing gown is looking better already. But not the snuggie, that's one product segment too far.

Are you a staunch non-believer like me? Have you had a dressing gown incident in the past from which you'll never recover? Or do you believe it is the only way to really relax - the idea alone enough to send you into a lazy, hazy daze or trigger off those raunchy hotel memories?

This article The dreaded dressing gown was originally published in The Age.