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The Rise of the Dressing Gown

Posted 15.12.15  - Style

Over the past few seasons the models walking the menswear runways in London, Paris and Milan have been looking uncharacteristically comfortable. Where a few years ago they were sent out trussed up in the most constricting suits money could buy, like an army of cloth-clad robots, now the designers are dressing their models in soft cashmere tracksuit bottoms, silk pyjama tops and dressing gown-esque overcoats, the kind that Noël Coward would be proud of.

This move towards comfort is a welcome one – it's been a long time coming. Many menswear commentators suggested that it was the financial crash of 2008 that originally sparked the move towards tailoring. The need for sartorial armour in an increasingly unstable world, combined with a universal desire to dress like Don Draper and his gang of sharp-suited Mad Men, resulted in a few very uncomfortable years indeed.

Now that things have calmed down a bit on the financial front (and Don Draper has taken an extended leave of absence), the men of the world are ready to relax again. Earlier this year, for instance, Mr Porter launched a dedicated sportswear channel, designed to sate the world's casualwear craving.

Where sportswear has become the outdoor uniform of the modern man, loungewear has become his at-home attire of choice.

Where sportswear has become the outdoor uniform of the modern man, loungewear has become his at-home attire of choice - in 2014, several British department stores reported increased pyjama sales of up to 34 per cent. In short, our bedclothes have never looked more appealing.

One key investment in this new era of casual chic is a classic dressing gown. While a belted coat in camel wool is perfect for outdoor wear, nothing feels better than throwing on a silk or cashmere gown at home and binging on a Netflix box set. It's important, however, not to confuse a dressing gown with those lumpen towelling things you find in hotel bathrooms - the thing to invest in this winter is a sleek, elegant housecoat finished with smart patterns and subtle colours.

Take those produced by Turnbull & Asser. Cut from immaculate English silk and handcrafted in the UK, the House has been making exemplary gowns since the 1930s. Depending on how the weather fares this winter, I would recommend investing in one of the brand's jigsaw-patterned, fully lined silk gowns, finished with elegant contrast silk piping. If, as anticipated, temperatures plummet, I would opt for a navy cashmere gown lined in contrasting silk. Just be sure to shell out for some pyjamas, too - you don't want to ruin Christmas by flashing the family mid-lunch.

Teo van den Broeke - Style Director at British Esquire

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