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After signing the lease, the very first thing I bought for my new apartment was a cotton bathrobe.
That might not sound like a productive purchase, but just consider the daydream it played into: It’s a Saturday morning in November. I’m curled up on my new couch in my new apartment with coffee in a new mug, reading the paper in a warm, snuggly, cozy-beyond-cozy bathrobe.
For the past several years, I’ve made do with a too-big, once-white, waffle weave thing that was gifted to me ages ago by an ex-boyfriend. It was a nice present, but there’s something so awesome about picking out your own “me-time” luxuries; gifting yourself something that feels like an indulgence every time you use it.
I’m actually shocked it’s taken me this long to buy one. I’m both a homebody and a New Englander, so growing up, bathrobes were a weekend way of life. As a travel writer and editor, I’ve lounged in my fair share of hotel bathrobes, which helped me develop a few distinct likes and dislikes. And just to do the full disclosure, I was born in early July, which makes me a Cancer. We’re nesters.
At any rate, I spent about two weeks mulling over which robe to buy. I wasn’t about to mess up the vision.
I knew from the get-go I wanted a spa-style terrycloth robe made from super absorbent cotton — something that’s warm and works for just sitting around but also feels nice to wrap yourself in straight out of the shower. (My mom always got me and my sister fleece robes when we were kids, which honestly feel kind of gross when you’re wet. So those were out.)
White cotton always looks like a good idea, but I wanted to be able to cook breakfast in this thing. My retired white robe is not looking too good after four years of coffee and Sriracha stains and God knows what else — and I’m religious about separating whites and colors, honest. (I even bleach!) The new robe could be any color but white.
And finally, I was willing to spend some money, but with basically a whole apartment’s worth of furniture on my shopping list too, I couldn’t justify going too crazy. (I didn’t even look at Goop — NOPE.) I arbitrarily set out to spend around $60 to $80, or at least under $100.
It actually took me a minute to get my bearings and figure out where to look. Muscle memory brought me to L.L. Bean first, where they make robes in soft flannel, fleece, and cotton, but they didn’t feel quite right. I needed something less New England and more fancy hotel or day spa.
Chains like J.Crew turned up nothing, and every nice clothing store with home products I could think of (Need Supply, The Line, Steven Alan) missed the mark in some way, whether it was material, color, or price.
Turns out the best place to shop for a fancy robe made of towel material is a fancy shop that sells towels. Restoration Hardware was the first store I came across with a really solid list of options. The luxury home brand had over a dozen bathrobes, and several that met my criteria. Did I want piping or not? Monograms? Waffle weave or terrycloth? Maybe it was all the options, but there wasn’t anything I felt absolutely sure about.
Determined to find the one, I obsessively checked out all of Restoration Hardware’s sister sites and competitors to see what they had on offer. Pottery Barn had the next-best showing (that is, if you can look past the weirdly robust selection of faux fur-lined bathrobes).
But let’s not forget I’m a millennial, a.k.a. a child of the internet, so I had to check out the direct-to-consumer towel sales options too. Brooklinen, a bedding and bath brand I’ve bought pretty good sheets and towels from, confusingly doesn’t have a robe. Snowe, a brand that sells bundles of bedding, bath towels, and place settings, and Parachute, another luxury linens brand, didn’t have the wide range of options that the big home brands did. Instead, each had just one on offer — which almost made things a little easier. I wasn’t so overwhelmed with the possibilities.
The Perfect Robe:
After much hemming and hawing, I pulled the trigger on the Classic Bathrobe from Parachute in stone ($99). The made-in-Turkey robe is super soft with a slight sheen and is Oeko-Tex certified, which means its production methods aren’t harmful to your health. I liked the shape of the collar and the square pockets, and the neutral color was my favorite non-white option; Snowe only offered its robe ($98) in white, and isn’t anywhere near as soft (I had the chance to try one out after the fact).
The Parachute robe was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I’ve never been happier with a buy in recent memory, and very few purchases (maybe none?) have brought me this much joy in this little time. This thing is freaking cozy. It’s been two weeks and I’ve already worn it probably 100 times. I put my robe on as soon as I wake up, as soon as I get out of the shower, and basically as soon as I get home from work. I’m wearing it right now, as I’m writing this story.
I’ll admit that it took me about a day to warm up to it. Out of the box, I was a little unsure about the fit — I’m 5’2” and usually wear a small or extra-small, and I thought that maybe the size small felt too snug. Eventually, I just realized I’ve been used to wearing giant robes and rolling up the cuffs my whole life, and I’m finally wearing one that’s actually my size. Bonus: Sleeves that fit means there’s much less of a risk of staining it when cooking breakfast!
I did eventually check Goop, too, just in case, and its recommendation (the organic cotton brand Coyuchi) made me feel kind of smug — it looks just like the Parachute robe but costs $48 more.
I’m moving into my new place next week, and I’m looking forward to the real-life version of my daydream next Saturday. I’m not sure if I bought the right couch or picked the right paint color — or hell, even signed for the right apartment. But I definitely picked the right robe.