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The History and Evolution of Robes: From Ancient Times to Today

The History and Evolution of Robes

Did you know that bathrobes can be traced back through the early 1800s and even to ancient times? Robes have evolved from simple garments and linens worn after bathing to luxury, plush materials for an endless number of occasions at an affordable price. While people throughout history have always enjoyed some form of relaxation, access to textiles and changes in fashion are leading reasons why modern robes for lounging exist today.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of bathrobes and how they ended up in many U.S. households across the country.

History of Bathrobes Explained

Ancient Egypt and Rome

The idea of wrapping yourself in fabric after bathing can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The Egyptians and Romans often used a type of robe made from linen and similar material to dry off and stay warm.

Medieval and Renaissance Periods

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, people continued to use fabrics after bathing. However, these traditional robes were not a common household item like they are today. Instead, a robe after bathing was typically worn by royalty, nobility, scholars, and clergy.

Additionally, the nobility would wear robes daily and on formal occasions - these robes were made from luxurious fabrics (such as silk and velvet) and with elaborate embroidery.

Mid 1700s to 1900

The modern bathrobe, which is similar to what we see today with the wrap-around style, began to take form during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, during this time period they were primarily only worn by more affluent households.

Early 1900s to 1940s

The early 20th century experienced advancements in textile manufacturing, which meant more soft, comfortable, and functional fabrics were available in the United States (such as terrycloth). Department stores were also on the rise, making it possible for people to have access to bathrobes at an affordable price point. Manufacturers began to produce robes for women and men in a variety of materials. Also during this time, the style of the Japanese kimono robe started to influence the design - most robes began to have loose fabrics with vibrant colors and a wraparound style.

1950s to Late 1990s

In the 1950s, robes started to become much more common in households across the United States. An increasing number of people began to wear robes for practical purposes. Also known as dressing gowns, they were worn for staying warm after a bath, while getting ready for bed in the evening, or during their morning routine of reading the newspaper and making breakfast.

Present Day

Today, modern bathrobes come in various functional designs and materials, from plush microfiber fleece robes to hooded robes, terry cloth robes, robes with large pockets, and more. Robes aren’t only worn for drying off, they’re also commonly used for lounging and staying comfortable at home (or at a weekend getaway).

In Summary: How Bathrobes Have Evolved Overtime

  • Egyptians and Romans used robes as loose fitting outer garments after bathing
  • Nobility favored luxury fabrics in stylish robes for daily and formal occasions
  • Affluent American households began to purchase robes for wearing at home
  • Japanese styles began to influence robe design, with advances in textile manufacturing making robes available in department stores
  • Bath robes became more common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, used for warmth and performing household tasks comfortably
  • Today, robes are found in most U.S. households and worn for lounging at home, in hotels, at spas, and much more

When Can I Wear a Bathrobe Today?

There are endless opportunities and occasions for wearing robes, including:

  • After bathing or showering
  • Lounging at home
  • During your morning routine
  • While making dinner
  • A romantic date night at home
  • Getting ready for bed
  • Going to a hotel or spa
  • At a swimming pool or the beach

Luxury Bathrobes From Plush Necessities

Bathrobes are the ultimate gift of luxury and relaxation. We offer the perfect robes for both men and women all year round. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all, which is why we offer several sizes to choose from to get you the best fit possible. At Plush Necessities, our robes provide incredible softness and undeniable quality consisting of detailed craftsmanship and durability.

Find out what sets our robes apart.

Shop Our Collection

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