In the market for a Warm Robe. Which material is best?
November 12, 2014 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Last couple of years I had a down Robe that I practically lived in. I lost it and now I have the flu. I think I'm sick partly because I was too cold some night not having a trusty robe on hand.

Since I have to get a new robe anyway I might as well see what material would be best. I wouldn't mind spending a lot of money on this one since I don't plan on losing this one and now I know how much use I'll get out of it. The down Robe I had wasn't perfect, but it was useful.

So here are the materials I've found for Robes that have claimed to be warm for winter:


I'm open to other material suggestions as well. Of these Cashmere seems to be the most expensive, but it's worth it if it's warm and long lasting. I wonder what the pros and cons of each material are.
posted by rancher to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Fleece is warm and durable, but it can pill when washed and lose some of its softness.
posted by soelo at 12:16 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm all about my terrycloth robe. Best feeling in the world: Get out of shower, put on terrycloth robe, get back in bed.
posted by jbickers at 12:34 PM on November 12, 2014

I would add flannel to the list. Then I would attempt to go in person somewhere and try on different robes of each material and see which robe seemed coziest. (It's probably not just the material, but also the design.)
posted by Michele in California at 1:37 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by halogen at 2:25 PM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love cashmere, but it's expensive (especially for a large cozy robe), and there are some downsides:

- Difficult to care for, so if you spill coffee on it or something you're going to end up having to get it dry cleaned. (You can hand-wash cashmere, but, again, we're talking about a large garment here that will be cumbersome to handle while sopping wet unless you have a high degree of familiarity with blocking damp knits.)

- Pilling. This makes it not a great candidate for a garment you're going to wear day in, day out, and want to last for years.

- In my opinion, cashmere wears "hot". Obviously you want a warm robe, but in my experience cashmere is too warm and is going to feel hot directly on your skin. I mostly used to wear cashmere as cold winter outerwear, like for being in 20 degree icy wind and sleet. Not for being in a 50 degree house. Now that I live in California, I can't wear cashmere at all except on the absolute coldest nights. (YMMV of course, but even compared to down, down is going to feel cool against your skin and a lot of different temperature ratings are available as opposed to cashmere, which is just cashmere forever.)

I think if you want wool, you should get merino, which is almost as warm, almost as soft against the skin, and much easier to care for.

I really like flannel robes, and for this upcoming winter am looking at getting one of these. They're made of an even softer version of polarfleece, something in between a blanket and a stuffed animal.

I also love terry robes, but I don't think they're particularly warm.
posted by Sara C. at 2:50 PM on November 12, 2014 [6 favorites]

In addition to warmth, you should also consider how important breathability is to you. I dislike fleece, synthetic velvet, and synthetic velour for a robe because they don't breathe and I always feel sweaty in robes made from those materials. Oddly, I always feel sweaty and cold, not matter how cozy those materials are supposed to be. On the other hand, those materials are quite washable, which might matter to you.

If you do go for some sort of animal fiber, like wool or cashmere, you don't want to go cheap. Cheap animal fibers are usually short strands and will not be long-wearing. Fine gauge is not the same thing as short strands or short fibers. Unfortunately, there's really not a good way to identify short versus long fiber garments -- price is often, but not always, the best indicator.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:53 PM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

I didn't even know down robes were a thing! That said, I think that's your best choice. Down is warm, but breathable, and seems to adjust with the temperature. And it's so light, which adds so much to the comfort. Your other materials are either going to be heavy, or tend to pill and start feeling scratchy.

Velvet might be a good choice, but the inside surface of velvet material tends to be rough, so you'd want a nice lining.

Wool takes a lot of care, and can get that wet dog smell when you sweat.

I do have a nice flannel and terrycloth robe, which is cozy, but it's not as luxurious as your other choices.
posted by catatethebird at 3:56 PM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have a heavy, lined terrycloth robe and I love it. I also have a polarfleece one, but I get a lot less use out of it - it's really nice to be able to wear a robe right out of the shower. I also hate being cold, so it's perfect. Definitely key to get a thick one, though; there's lots of thin terrycloth robes that'll do nothing to keep you warm.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 4:05 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a Berber robe similar to this and love it. I'm usually cold and this robe does the trick.
posted by gudrun at 4:29 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a Wings & Horns robe that I fell in love with at the Ace Hotel LA. It's thick sweatshirt material (with hoodie!) and is the best thing ever. I won't put it on when I'm wet, though. It's definitely a warm up in when dry robe. It washes like a sweatshirt, and I think it may last forever.
posted by cyndigo at 10:07 PM on November 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

If your down robe worked for you, get another down robe. Nothing else is going to keep you as warm as that, and if that's the standard, anything else will probably disappoint. Second best, wool. Wool will breathe and keep you warm even when it's wet. Cotton will make you cold if it gets wet and also doesn't insulate very well. Terrycloth and flannel feel snuggly and fuzzy, but will not insulate as well as down or wool. Synthetics can be decent but have drawbacks as pointed out above, and since you're willing to spend money and get the best, it's between wool and down. Down will not keep you warm if it gets wet, and it can be fiddly to look after, but since that's never been a problem for you, that's a non-issue. Imagine it in terms of blankets - I'd rank them from least warm to most warm like this - a cotton flannel sheet/blanket, a thick towel, a synthetic fleece blanket, a thick synthetic fleece blanket, a wool blanket, and a down duvet.
posted by you must supply a verb at 2:15 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

If it's a warm, cozy robe you need, I will just note that the LL Bean Fleece-Lined Rugby Robe changed my life. (I see now the women's version has been renamed the (ugh) Hearthside Robe, but it's the same thing.) I wear it out of the shower, lounging around the house, napping on the couch, sitting on the porch, sometimes even going to the corner store. I've had it for a couple of years now and it's been durable, comfortable and reliable. It's roomy and warm and fits well. So much LL Bean merchandise has turned to garbage, but this robe has done me right.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 11:32 AM on November 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

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