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In Praise of Long-Winded Product Descriptions

Why I might spend more than $200 on a robe nobody will ever see.

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A cotton flannel robe by State. Photo: State

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Nobody needs to spend $220 on a flannel robe. Here’s one from L.L.Bean that’s priced at $69.95. This “Christmas camo” robe retails for $24.98. You could surely find something cheaper than that, too, while avoiding such a disastrously named and executed pattern.

What could possibly convince someone to spend so much money on something that they probably won’t wear out of the house and that, unlike complicated lingerie, is purely intended for personal comfort? (In which case, why not just wear a sweatshirt?)

I’ll tell you: a really compelling product description.

The expensive robe I’m referring to is made by State, a Georgia-based brand run by Adrienne Antonson. (She also created The Secret Catalog, a seasonal print magazine containing a password that unlocks an e-commerce shop filled with limited-edition clothing, accessories, and home goods.) With its roomy cut and marbled white and gray print, this robe looks like it should belong to someone artistic and very tasteful, someone who works from home. A poet that lives upstate, maybe.

What really makes me want to purchase one, though, was its product description. Here it is, in full.

Wrap yourself in this oversized, organic cotton flannel cocoon and survive the cold weather. We aren't kidding when we say it will make you want to get out of bed in the mornings, and immediately excited to come home and unwind. We spent weeks perfecting the length and drape so that it's just the right amount of flattering and comfort. Hosting a breakfast party? We know what you're wearing. Spending the long weekend with your in-laws? We know what you're wearing. Doing some last minute gift wrapping? You'll want to be wearing this robe. And if you're feeling adventurous, our Marble Robe can even venture out of the house for morning coffee or carpools. Believe us, it gets better with time.

Hand painted with our signature Winter 16 surface style, this robe looks like a million dollars of liquid marble. We literally gasped the moment we painted our first one. It's that pretty.

This isn’t a particularly great piece of writing. It doesn’t sparkle with wit, and if we really want to nitpick, it leans too heavily on a Q&A explanatory structure. But it was clearly written by a real person, and that person makes you feel, at length, how personally excited they are to share this robe with you. That level of care almost makes you feel as though you are swaddled in a very beautiful, hand-painted robe, drinking coffee with your friends over breakfast. See what they did there?

Even when we’re shopping out here on the world wide web, from the actual isolation of our apartments or the effective isolation of being glued to our phones on the subway platform, that sense of human connection makes a sale so much easier. I haven’t bought that State robe yet, but I’m as close to purchasing a fancy flannel as I’ve ever been.

A marble-print robe
Shop It Here State Marble Flannel Robe, $220