Historical past of the Dressing Robe


For the aim of this text it may be helpful to start with just a few definitions of the assorted descriptors which can be mostly used when referring to a gown worn round the home as loungewear:


The English phrase ‘gown’ is taken from the center English phrase of the identical identify which means ‘garment’, the phrase ‘gown’ has its routes within the Frankish language as ‘rouba’. It’s thought to have originated with the which means of ‘booty’ or ‘spoils’ referring to objects and clothes stolen and associated to the phrase ‘rob’. The phrase was adopted by the Previous French language to initially consult with the identical ‘booty’ or ‘spoils’ nonetheless the which means has developed to the current day to now consult with ‘a girl’s gown.’

The purpose of distinction between a gown and comparable objects equivalent to a cloak and cape are its sleeves.


Bathrobes are made utilizing absorbent materials, mostly terry toweling, this has the advantage of drying the physique after bathing. The bathrobe serves two advantages; as a towel, absorbing moisture after bathing and as a casual garment of clothes, to be worn round the home after waking within the morning along with carrying within the night after bathing.

Dressing Robe

A dressing robe is a time period that was historically related to males’s clothes clothes. Dressing robes are unfastened open fronted robes that normally shut with a cloth belt concerning the waist, rather more on this to come back!


Though generally performed, the dressing robe ought to no be confused with the housecoat, this was a extremely popular merchandise of apparel within the Forties. Often known as a duster, the home coat was a really helpful garment; it was longer in size than an apron and extra modest in protection than a pinafore. At a time when girls would hardly ever go away their homes with out trying their very best the housecoat was the proper option to defend the chosen outfit of the day, girls would merely change into their housecoat to carry out their day by day chores.

Housecoats diversified in type however had been normally knee size or longer to cowl any beneath clothes, they had been comprised of a light-weight cloth which was generally quilted for heat. The housecoat would fasten on the entrance with both buttons or a zipper.

Using the housecoat developed over time, changing into extra elegant, subtle and female in type, many ladies began to put on their housecoats within the evenings, even when internet hosting visitors, the housecoat took on an identical position to the male ‘dressing robe’.

In current instances the housecoat has turn into a slightly dated time period that’s hardly ever used. Most individuals choose to adapt the time period dressing robe as unisex for each female and male home robes. On a current ballot that was run by thestudentroom.co.uk, 91% of female and male respondents most well-liked to make use of the time period dressing robe.

The Historical past of the Dressing Robe

It’s thought that the carrying of a dressing robe within the western world has its routes within the mid seventeenth Century, it was initially solely worn by males and it was referred to as the ‘banyan’. The time period ‘banyan’ encompassed many various types of robes that had been widespread amongst males between the mid seventeenth to the early nineteenth Century.

Europeans started to undertake gown type and influences from different cultures within the early seventeenth Century and the banyan is the earliest instance of this. It’s thought that males adopted the ‘banyan’ design from Persian and Asian impressed clothes (Banyan in Portuguese, Arabic and Gujarati all which means ‘service provider’).

On the time of the mid seventeenth century a preferred penchant for the unique and oriental had turn into a mainstream fascination in Europe. This coincided, and might be attributed to, strengthened commerce routes with the East. The Chinoiserie type emerged as a preferred vogue. This French time period which means “Chinese language-esque” has since turn into a recurring theme in European inventive types. Chinoiserie displays Chinese language inventive influences. This penchant for the unique and oriental was a number one affect on the success of the ‘banyan’, this identify being predecessor to the ‘dressing robe’.

Additionally described in texts as a morning robe, gown de chambre or nightgown, the banyan was a unfastened ground size gown. The type of the banyan within the 1800s was a easy ‘T-shape’ kimono-style design as seen beneath. Banyans had been normally produced from imported Indian Chintz cloth though they had been generally comprised of Chinese language and French silks too.

The banyan was worn across the residence as a casual coat it was mostly worn over the shirt and breeches. The banyan was normally paired with a mushy, turban-like cap that was worn instead of the formal periwig, a extremely popular wig worn by males on the time of the seventeenth and 18th centuries. Throughout the 18th century it was modern for males, significantly of an mental of philosophical persuasion to have their portraits commissioned and to be painted while carrying their banyans or morning robes:

‘Free clothes contribute to the straightforward and vigorous train of the colleges of the thoughts. This comment is so apparent, and so typically identified, that we discover studious males are all the time painted in robes, when they’re seated of their libraries.’

(Benjamin Rush, Founding Father of the US. ‘Franklin and Buddies’, 2006)

Later the banyan developed right into a extra fitted type with set-in sleeves much like a person’s coat. The banyan was made out there in many various lengths and shapes with completely different cuts and types. After the nineteenth century, the identify of the ‘banyan’ additionally developed to turn into the ‘dressing robe’ of at the moment.

Ladies and The Dressing Robe

All this discuss of males in dressing robes is okay however I hear you ask – so what about girls and dressing robes?!

While males in Europe had been fast to undertake and incorporate Asian and Asian impressed textiles and clothes it was not till the late 18th Century that girls’s vogue could be influenced. Presently it was a small accent equivalent to a scarf or fan and it might be an extra 100 years till girls in Europe would start carrying clothes from different cultures such because the kimono and Chinese language gown.

There may be little point out in historical past books of ladies carrying robes though we do know that they did certainly put on an equal of the dressing robe though it was a lot less complicated in type and cloth to the mans banyan. In his research of the Nineteenth Century French Bourgeoisie type Philippe Perrot noticed:

‘The dressing robe constituted a curious break up between women and men. Males had been dazzling and girls had been drab.’

(‘Fashioning the Bourgeoisie’ by Philippe Perrot, 1981).

Maybe this ‘drabness’ explains why there may be little written within the historical past books of favor and vogue to chronicle the feminine dressing robe. This lack of historic curiosity within the feminine equal of the dressing robe continues within the historical past books till the nineteenth Century. Happily issues have modified and women now have an abundance of gorgeous, opulent dressing robes to selected from.

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