There used to be a store in New York City called Daffy’s. It was a discount store similar to Century 21 or T.J. Maxx, stocked with designer merchandise from seasons past that department stores couldn’t sell. By the time clothes got to Daffy’s, the price tag was a fraction of the original retail price.
In the late 1990s, I was shopping at Daffy’s in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood when I came across a great bathrobe: the Shepheard’s Hotel Cairo robe from The J. Peterman Company. The white robe was made with a dense, rich white terry cloth velour, cut longer than the typical bathrobe with two pockets and a notch-lapel collar. It was the only one left, it was in my size and it was reduced to $20.
That Shepheard’s Hotel Cairo bathrobe was the most luxurious bathrobe I’ve ever worn, and I enjoyed it for the next ten years. (It was with this robe that I learned my lesson about over-bleaching, which can weaken the fabric. The robe eventually fell apart.)
As much as I loved that bathrobe, my budget simply didn’t allow the $145 that J. Peterman gets for a new one. On the flip side of the coin, I learned the other lesson about playing it too cheap with several robes that were just not up to snuff, whether it be loose threads or substandard cotton. A good bathrobe should feel wonderful for many years, and I paid the price with ostensible “bargains” that just didn’t last.
I’m on the mailing list of several brands I like, one of which is Lands’ End. I had been frustrated with my last $40 bathrobe. The terry cloth wasn’t especially dense or soft, and, much to my annoyance, the top of the pockets were placed right along the belt line, making the pockets very hard to use when the robe was tied. An email from Lands’ End alerted me to a 25%-off sale, and I decided to take a look at their bathrobes. Their 14-Ounce Calf-Length Turkish Terry Robe is made with soft, 14-oz., Turkish terry cloth and patch pockets sewn a full two inches below the belt line.
The robe came in six different colors, but I’m all about white when it comes to my towels and other linens. Even though I’m a vain bastard, I’m not one for monogramming, which was available on the right or left chest in several colors and font styles for an extra $6. So I skipped the monogram and pulled the trigger. The full retail price was $80; the 25% discount took it down to $60. If I didn’t love it, I could just send it back and continue my search.
When it arrived a week later, I loved it. When I washed it the first time and put it on again, I loved it even more. It’s super soft and very absorbent (and seems to get softer and more absorbent with each laundering). Since I work from home, it’s not unusual for me to get out of the shower and just stay in my robe until it’s time to get dressed to go somewhere. A good bathrobe is an affordable luxury and comfort that I really enjoy. And these days, we can all use as much affordable luxury and comfort we can get.
P.S. When it comes to keeping the robe and all my other whites fresh without the corrosive effects of chlorine bleach, I turn to the miracle of OxiClean in every load of laundry.
P.S.S. If you can swing that Shepheard’s Hotel robe from J.Peterman, go for it.