How to Wear a Bathrobe As a Spring Jacket — And Why You Should

Rethink the robe!


I have a thing for bathrobes. I wear them around the house — not the very comfy kind, or the very sexy kind, but the dramatic, floor-skimming kind with drapey sleeves and pretty watercolor patterns. (I sometimes wished I smoked, because these robes would go very well with long cigarette holders. I guess I have a thing for theatrics.)

But some of my robes are too pretty to keep under wraps, so I’ve taken to wearing them as spring jackets and over-outfit dusters (see: the pic of me above—that’s a silk robe from Anthro printed with a painting by a Philly artist! I wear it all the time).

The look certainly veers to bohemia, so you’ll want to avoid any overly boho accessories or risk looking like a Coachella victim. But it’s a welcome departure — and a summer-perfect one, at that — from more basic toppers (i.e. the cardigan, snore). Still, there’s a fine line between eclecticism and batshittery. Here’s how to make a robe work outside of the slipper-nightgown pairing: 

  • If it’s shiny satin or has any sort of lace edging, leave it for the bedroom.
  • You need to clip off the belt/sash. Do this carefully with seam rippers. (An errant sash loop is an instant giveaway!)
  • Let’s state the obvious here: Terrycloth robes do not work for this, nor hooded robes. The ones to take out for a spin are more delicate, generally silk. So, yes to this. No to any of these. A modern kimono shape or long dressing coat works well. See this for inspiration.
  • Avoid full-length versions, as these can be overwhelming. Opt for one that hits mid-thigh, like Florence Welch.
  • If you have a full-length robe or kimono you love, consider belting it and wearing it our for formal events. (My fave formal look is a vintage black kimono, which I wrap closed with a vintage gold belt.) Check out this for inspiration.
  • While you’re on the hunt, remember that fantastic vintage brocade dressing gowns are great as dress coats. This is one I wear, and you can find more inspiration here.

Ready to rethink your spring outerwear? I promise, it’s way more fun than jean jackets. In any case, start taking more notice of the intimates section. You never know what you’ll find — and where you’ll be able to wear it. In the meantime, here are a few to get you started (as shown above, from left): Free People baby grand kimono, $168 at Free People; crochet robe, $396 at Shopbop; Agent Provocateur Mistie fringed devoré-velvet and chiffon robe, $2,590 at Net-a-PorterFree People Alana robe, $68 at Free People; Jean Paul Gaultier optical-print silk robe, $68 at Saks Fifth Avenue.