Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The lost habit of wearing dressing gowns


Every morning, when I prepare the breakfast, cuddle the cat, check my emails, I do all this in a very old fashioned manner: I’m wearing a dressing gown. And only when it’s time to get dressed and leave the house, I feel the need to take it off. Wearing it for simply being quickly covered, to avoid getting cold, or because it’s faster than picking the clothes for the day, is not the only reason I enjoy robes so much. It’s a lost habit. Gone with the newly discovered way of putting on an oversized T-shirt or- and that’s my worst case scenario- jeans, right after getting up.
A robe hugs you. It is the comfort blanket that gives you a feeling of being up, but not yet in the cold harsh reality of the day. It is the consoling fabric that relaxes you on a rainy afternoon; or an entire Sunday, that you’ve decided to be a lazy break from engaging with the world.
But how we view this piece of clothing has changed over the decades. In Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Marnie” (1964),  Tippi Hedren floated around in a cream colored robe de chambre that could nowadays easily be mistaken as a formal gown, worn to the opera. If people would dress formal for the opera today, which they usually don’t do either.
Back in earlier decades, like the 1940s and the thirties, ladies presented themselves on the big screen as if just jumped out of a musical, rather than out of bed. The hair in perfect waves and with flawless makeup, waving the busy husband goodbye at the door, while he jumps into his car, armed with a suitcase, a hat and the morning paper.  
Although I cannot say that I have in any way the need to wear that kind of makeup in the morning- let alone already when waking up, nor my hair in flawless layers- I do miss the normality of being a little more ’lady’ in one’s one home. It seems utterly uncommon to shop for pretty bathrobes, or getting exited when size and length are just right.



Other things excite us now. A pretty cell phone case… a chic new flat screen that to me looks exactly    as dull and cold as any other black surface. Or the occasional high heels that look cool on a shelf with umpteen other high heels, that one isn’t capable of wearing for more than three hours.
Nifty things to excite ourselves while just “being”, seem to be obsolete. A thing of the past, when women and men all over the world enjoyed their morning coffee in appropriate attire. In case the milk man rang at the door, or you quickly had to chat with the nosy neighbour while picking up the morning paper. 
A man in a robe is these days, is rare as a horse in ballerina shoes, since we believe it’s a thing of certain magazine editors, surrounded by busty blondes. And although picturing that must be at least a little motivation for some man, to try the whole-robe thing, it seems rather odd and fallen out of time.
And as a man usually decides to wear anything else but a robe, it would be nice to bring back the old habit of a lady wearing not the exact same thing as her lover. It can be cute to run around in your partner’s button up shirt, or a t-shirt in the size of a tent. But then again, a little dressing up that only takes two seconds and instantly makes you look neat and put together, could make you feel twice as good!
Shopping for dressing gowns on the other hand, can be a rather tricky undertaking. Not only do I find myself often in a too short version of something that seems oddly asymmetric. I also look like a beefed up version of a polar bear, in a terrycloth bathrobe. So if there will ever be another trend or movement towards the lost habit of wearing beautiful robes at home, I will smile in my dressing gown in which I write this piece, in this very moment. Thinking: These are the hours at home that comfort me most. The time of celebrating my sanctuary and the freedom this clothing gives me, before facing a world full of jeans and t-shirts.

28 comments:

  1. Beautifully written! I haven't found a summer robe I like, but I have a gorgeous winter one I wear in the colder days. It isn't just robes that are out of date. I am positive you have already touched upon these, but proper speak is no longer a habit either. Will certainly check out the rest of your blog!

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    1. Thank you! And wishing you luck on finding a nice summer robe. :)

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  2. This is why i follow you... you have good manners, good sense of style and give good advices for everyone's in the vintage world. I personally wear dressing gown (as my ganny teached me!) And is the most satisfing first thing to do in the morning! Thank you Lily, have a nice afternoon and kisses from italy!

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    1. Thank you and kisses to Bella Italia! <3

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  3. This was wonderful Lily. I have started working from home as of late, so I have taken up this habit for myself to break the morning from my work day. We no longer enjoy simple things like this. I hate technology (although I do use it for many things) and would rather use my Remington typewriter than my computer... its just how it goes.

    Ms. B of the Flying V S Farm

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    1. Thank you for reading, and yes, we definitely should enjoy the simple things more. Sunny greetings! <3

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    2. It is great to know there are other haters of modern technology! :D By the way, I am really fascinated by companies that use old technology. For example, there is a small sock factory in Helsinki, Finland, that still makes socks with almost a hundred-years-old machine, and they have also decided that cell phones are not allowed during the working day - they listen to the radio instead! Recently I read about a man who bought an old hydroelectric printing press and started a printing house.

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  4. Liebe Lily,
    "durchgehangelt" durch das englischsprachige...und hoffentlich alles verstanden. Hach ja, der Morgenmantel oder Hausmantel.. ich kenne es von meiner Mutter, die uns das Frühstück für die Schule im Morgenmantel machte. Türkis mit schwarz-silbernen Borden - ich sehe es noch vor mir. So war sie um diese Zeit schon "angezogen" und konnte sich dann in Ruhe "wenn ihr alle aus dem Haus seid" für den Tag fertig machen. Aus der Kindheit übernimmt man vieles und so habe ich auch den Morgenmantel übernommen. Es sind in den wärmeren Monaten Kimonos, für die kühleren habe ich solche mit einem dünnen Frottierfutter. Hoffentlich halten letztere noch ein Weilchen - sie sind nicht einfach zu bekommen in der Art wie ich sie möchte.
    Aber es sind MORGENmäntel. Am Abend nach einem Bad bevorzuge ich dann etwas flauschiges.... das Teddy-Kostüm. Muss auch nicht unförmig und grauslig aussehen.
    Es ist wunderbar, dass in deinem Beitrag der wunderbare, praktische und so schmeichelnde Morgenmantel favorisiert und damit vielleicht wieder etwas populärer wird. Er verbindet so angenehm Komfort und Stil. Und das ganz unabhängig von Vintage-Kleidung.
    Herzlichen Dank für den schönen Post (und das Auffrischen meiner Englisch-Kenntnisse ;-) )
    Renee

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    1. Liebe Renee, vielen Dank für Deine schönen Zeilen. Ich finde es toll, dass Du Dir die Mühe gemacht hast, das Englische zu lesen. Das st ja nicht selbstverständlich und ich freue mich immer, wenn auch jemand aus DE hier vorbeischaut. Ich würde mich ebenfalls freuen, wenn Hausmäntel wieder populärer würden, dann gäbe es bestimmt auch eine größere Auswahl. Alles Liebe! <3

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  5. YES yes yes to everything you said in this post! You look so beautiful and glamorous as well (as always!). I have been wondering this a lot lately, why people are becoming so casual not just in their everyday dressing styles but even in their mannerisms. It's hard to find people who are genuinely polite (most just go through the motions and it has a fake feel to it). As for clothing, it definitely bugs me when people don't dress appropriately for an occasion. I have gotten in the habit of wearing my robe regularly (must admit though it is more of a soft one rather than a glamorous silky one but if I ever find a pretty one like yours, I'll definitely snatch it up!).

    I remember watching an I Love Lucy episode and Ethel Mertz was appalled at the thought of attempting to go out in public wearing blue jeans. She refused and I remember how admirable that is. I must admit I wear my jeans a bit too much these days (in high school I was way more fashionable but it's been a good 10 years) but am slowly forcing myself to mix it up because I definitely feel a lot better inwardly when I make more of an effort with my appearance. :)

    xx

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    1. My favorite show! I know exactly the episode. It was The Loving Cup and they had to go on the subway, and Ethel goes "On the subway in my BLUE JEANS?" Lucy tries to get her to go since it's an emergency to get to the silversmith to cut the cup off her head, but Ethel says no way, she's never worn blue jeans on the subway and she's not starting now! I ALWAYS think about that scene and the status of fashion (rather the LACK of fashion) today.

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    2. Oh, how lovely to see you here, Victoria! And Cheri of course too! I personally don't like jeans, but if I had your beautiful figure I'd sure wear them as well, haha.
      As for the robe, I have favorite cozy soft one that I wear far more often than silk. <3 Thanks so much for your lovely comments! <3

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  6. Lilly,you should make a video on this topic. I completely agree with you but noawadays it can be so hard to find proper lounger wear,particularly vintage style.

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  7. An acquaintance of mine who takes the whole vintage thing even further into the historic (he only wears 1800s style men's clothes), told once: Why wear jeans and t-shirt when I can slum it at home in an 18th century Banyan? And he is so right. A dressing gown (or for men the Banyan or smoking jacket) is such a special garment, nothing else can be as mundane and yet intimate, glamorous yet simple. Slip into it and you can face the world inside your home.

    Danke liebe Lily für dein Blog und deine Youtube Videos. Endlich habe ich jemanden gefunden, der hier in Deutschland nicht nur Pin Up/Rockabilly Vintage mag, sondern eben auch die 1930er/1940er Jahre.

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    1. Oh I so agree with that, well said! Und vielen Dank, ich freue mich sehr! <3

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  8. Lily, I do think you may have enjoyed the 1940's and 1930's! I did leave a comment on your instagram account, but I shall say here also. When I was married in 1982 a custom in the USA was to give the bride-to-be a nightie and dressing gown for a bridal shower gift. I received many silky and beautiful gowns. How I wish I had them today! You simply cannot find them. Although I have found that retailer April Cornell has some to choose from. I love a good relaxing start with my coffee in a comfortable , but beautiful robe. Have you seen the movie The Women? Goodness the attire is drool worthy♥️ Best regards from the States~Suzanne

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    1. Hello Suzanne, yes, I have seen the movie! Loved it. Best regards and thank you for you lovely comments! <3

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  9. Hello Lily! I'm a new subscriber to your YT channel and I love the vintage style. You personify it so gracefully and elegantly. I remember my mother wearing these robes. She passed on a lovely embroidered kimono to me that I always thought was too beautiful to wear at home, but you've inspired me to use it! A wonderful way to remember my mother too. Thank you!

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    1. That sounds so wonderful. I could really imagine that it it a beautiful tribute to your mother when you're wearing the kimono.
      Thank you for sharing and watching my videos! I'm so glad you like them! <3

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  10. Yes, I love robes! Pretty ones..the polar bears are cozy, yet I don't feel very pretty in them!
    I searched high and low for little and bigger girl robes last spring... very hard to find! I wanted to start oir daughters on wearing robes as part of thier morning and evening hours. I never really did find very "girly" ones and settled for more of a "bath" robe.
    God bless
    Mrs.O

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    1. Yes, there is not much at choice nowadays. I too keep looking for nice robes that truly match my type. And sometimes I need the polar-bear ones too:) Haha <3

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  12. wearing a perfect dress make perfect beauty,and your choice is amazing.Keep it up.sometime I think with a perfect dress make a perfect face is essential. If your ware a perfect dress and use Liquid Matte Lipstick for face you must look glorious.

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  13. Love this blog post Lily, you drive home why glamour doesn't need to be complicated. I adore my robes. I'd love to see your take on lounging outfits in winter...

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  14. I have been gifted lots of vintage dressing gowns and nighties, because people know I like "old stuff." I was very fortunate to receive a 1940s ivory charmeuse dressing gown, with shoulder pads and split cap sleeves. I wore it as my bridal robe getting ready on my wedding day, and it was fabulous.
    I love your youtube channel and IG, this is my first time visiting the blog! <3

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    1. The ivory dressing gown sounds divine! Thank you so much for stopping by here as well! <3

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