Thursday, February 24, 2011

Men's Dressing Gown

Dollars and Taxes in Dallas, Texas

I know, it's a Chico Marx joke.  On a recent business trip to Dallas, I stopped by Ahab Bowen, a thrift-ish boutique in a particularly pleasant section of Dallas.  The selection was mostly for ladies, but the men's room was impeccably organized and with a smaller but adequate inventory.  I walked away with a few noticeably nice silk pocket squares for about $4 or $5 a piece, a madras cummerbund, and a very handsome and heavy silk (yes, silk) robe for about $40.

The sturdy and thick lapels let it lay nicely, and it is noticeably warmer than my flannel version.  It's fully lined in a dark silk, has thick turned cuffs, and no tags at all.  Mysterious.

Regal Richard Roxburgh's Royal Robe

In the aesthetically catchy but overall-underwhelming film Moulin Rouge!, Richard Roxburgh seems to channel Gary Oldman for his role as the Duke, who, for one scene, wears a sweeping ankle-length house (gown) robe of the most imposing construction in deep quilted purple silk, heavy even to the eye, with two door-hinge sized frog-fasteners, a shawl collar like a tranquilized cobra, and cuffs as sturdy as electric chair restraints.  I think I saw the movie on a date, and disliked most of both, but I always remembered that ridiculous/incredible robe.  I once saw something remotely similar at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but it would have required its own suitcase to get home, and I instead spent my money on a carefully carved meerschaum half-bent billiard.  The lining of case it came with was the only silk I would procure during that trip.

A few years ago, I was staying at an inn (long-since converted from the grand house of some early industrialist) during a miserable winter fly-fishing trip.  In the evening, (and in my only dry socks, ragged pants, and lined flannel wool shirt) several guests sat in the heavily worn chairs near the massive roaring fire helping ourselves to the house sherry, and I spoke with a lady of about eighty delivering a nice Quebecois-patois.  When her even older husband joined us, he was in a thick silk dressing gown over his bow-tie and shirt, and his wife quietly dismissed his clothing choice to me, saying "I was hoping he would not wear his brandy suit here."  I realized that I had just met the world's coolest man.


  1. A wonderful post. Congrats on the dressing gown score.

  2. "Brandy suit"....never heard that before...but I like it. My old man had a dressing gown in deep maroon paisley and I always thought is was sharp....don't know what happened to it or it would be mine right now.

  3. I need me a brandy suit right now...and a whisky suit...and a wine suit...and a Campari suit...

  4. Excellent. Considering the number of cocktails I've spilled down my front, or had thrown at me, I suppose most of my suits are 'brandy suits' already.

  5. I like to wear a dressing gown in place of a smoking jacket, or as originally intended for the times when I haven't left the house yet or have just come back in and shed the topmost layers of the day's attire. This means, however, that I like to keep them both at my own house and at others where I might find myself brooding over a book and coffee before heading off for the day. This is not a problem when visiting someone like YWP, who is bound to have a spare.


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