My 98-year-old grandmother has been the one who’s hipped me to almost every incredibly useful thing I’ve bought recently (like this fuzzy nest to stash my eyeglasses in at night), but her best recommendation yet was that I get myself a proper housecoat. Mind you, she wasn’t talking about a regular old robe (because who wants a belt tied around their middle — that is the exact opposite of relaxing). She meant a real-deal old-lady housecoat, zip-front cousin of the mumu, usually found in the basement lingerie section of a dusty, forlorn department store.
A few things are important when looking for a housecoat. It should house pockets for all of your necessities: a phone, lip balm, ponytail holder, tissues, maybe snacks. It should be that length that’s universally agreed upon as unflattering but comfortable: long enough to keep your legs warm without becoming a tripping hazard. The sleeves stop just short of your wrist, so they are never in the way while eating, texting, or driving. (Yes, I once went to the drugstore in my housecoat at 2 a.m.) My very favorite housecoat hits all these marks, plus it’s done up in millennial-pink fleece (and is also available in plus-size and petite versions). I am a fan of the cozy, snugly housecoat, but there is a housecoat style out there for every personality.
I like to get into mine the minute I get home from work, sleep in it, and then putter around the house in it the whole next day. It’s a Snuggie in clothing form, and I regularly wear mine in place of a nightgown (with nothing on underneath), but your mileage may vary — it works just as well with underwear or pajamas worn under it, too.
Wearing it makes me feel like the queen of my castle, taking me from couch to bed to accepting UPS packages (without flashing the driver) to getting right back into bed with a cup of coffee and my dogs. It makes an excellent holiday gift for the mom or grandma in your life — or just channeling your own inner grandma.
Some other very nice housecoats
If plotzing around in no-nonsense fleece is a little too un-glam for you, try a sultry, velvet-look velour version. It’s a housecoat Elvira herself would happily be caught dead in.
I love a housecoat that keeps more of my legs toasty-warm, but if your goal is to be comfy and free, this ditzy, floral shorty version is just the thing.
Most housecoats are soothing pastel basics, designed to be calming and inoffensive, but this cheery floral-patterned number could practically pass for a party dress if you were to pair it with some hoop earrings and heeled sandals.
Wearing a housecoat made of sweatshirt fabric is the closest you can come to living inside of an actual sleeping bag. Unlike fleece housecoats that can tend to get too hot, a hoodie housecoat is perfect for a touch of warmth in more temperate climates.
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