Ride Engine is a Santa Cruz company that makes hard-core sports gear for those who actively shred: windsurfing harnesses, wet suits for surfing in 38-degree water, kite knives, and “impact vests” (sounds scary). These aren’t, you know, classic everyday tools for the urban 9-to-5-er. Which explains why the urban 9-to-5-er probably hasn’t discovered the random cult product hiding on Ride Engine’s website: the Jedi Robe.
The Jedi Robe is essentially a wearable terry-cloth tent: It’s designed for changing out of a wet suit on the beach — and I can testify that it performs this function well — but it works equally well as a multipurpose lounge item for apartment loafing. It’s even better as a bathrobe alternative during the colder months of the year. Hop out of the shower and directly into your Jedi Robe for simultaneous drying and warming, then throw it back on the hook for next time. Or just go to sleep in it.
I obtained my Jedi Robe from a buddy who didn’t have room in his 330-square-foot Chinatown apartment for anything that he didn’t use on a daily basis. (He used the robe for its intended purpose as a post-surf transition garment.) Initially, the robe stayed in the trunk of my car, tumbling around with bars of surf wax, a wet suit, a leash, etc. I used it to preserve my modesty when squirming out of a wet suit by the road near a beach in Queens. But then, instead of changing into normal clothes, I began driving home in the Jedi Robe. It was cozy.
The robe cocooned me so nicely after the ocean, I figured it would do the same after a normal shower, and from here it took its prominent place in my life. The advantages over a bathrobe are numerous: First, the areas of coverage are more comprehensive. The ankle-length robe features long sleeves, a generous hood, and a kangaroo pouch for optional hand-warming (or holding a phone while you roam around the house.) Second, a terry bathrobe makes everyone look ten years older and slightly housebound. The aesthetic of the Jedi Robe is part Druid, part surfer, part Star Wars. When my blonde, willowy friend wears it, she looks like she’s decked in Comme des Garçons. Three of my friends, all different heights and widths, have made the purchase, and it works on everyone. The Jedi Robe comes in just one size and color, which leaves you with no choice but “Add to cart.”
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