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An Interview With.....Dame Judy Dench

Dame Judy talks about life and Cranford...


A Warm Welcome

Here you can buy dressing gowns online, we stock, Fleece Dressing Gowns, bathrobes, kimonos, polar fleece dressing gowns, cashmere dressing gowns zip up dressing gowns, cotton dressing gowns, silk dressing gowns, We are always increasing our offering of designer dressing gowns and we will be introducing an animal print dressing gown as well as dressing gowns for girls and dressing gown silk. The black dressing gowns are dressing gown hooded and soon we will have another hooded gown as well as nightdresses, more robes and gowns, nightwear. While here please do visit our interview section and our blog where you will find useful information from what is a dressing gown to great gift ideas for mother's day such as a ladies dressing gown, a nightdress, a burgundy dressing gown or a nightgown.


Everyone Wears A Robe......Even Brittany - 16 November 2011

Everyone Wears A Robe......Even Brittany - 16 November 2011

It is a strange world we live in. Over the years I have noticed that the humble robe barely gets a mention anywhere. It sometimes feels like the robe has been consigned to history. The young never seen to care about bathrobes or dressing gowns, nor do the celebrities for that matter.

But when you scratch below the surface you find everyone wears a robe of some description. I love this photo of Britanny, the bikini she has on underneath will recieve all of the publicity, yet she will spend longer and feel more comfotable in her robe.

If everyone has a robe and most feel more comfortable in a robe, then why are they often regarded as irrelevant, deeply uncool or purchased as an after thought. After all, we all like to snuggle up in our favourite robe.

Maybe as a friend put it, the high street has fallen out of love with the humble robe. This has led to the quality of the robes falling and with that the interest in them. Here at dressing gowns and robes we stock only quality robes and are bringin back quality and style, robe by robe.

Happy New Year - 04 January 2011

I would like to wish all of the visitors to our site a Happy New Year. We hope that this year brings you all good health and wealth.

The office is now open and we are back at work. There will be lots of new and exciting products on the site over the next few months. Many items you will have not seen for years and many more that are totally new.

Remember if there is a dressing gown or robe that is not on the site, just drop us a line and we can tell you when we intend to add it to the site.

In response to customer feedback we introduced quilted dressing gowns in November, but they sold out pretty quickly. The quilted dressing gowns will be back in stock by the end of February.

As with the quilted dressing gowns if there is anything you would like to see on the site just drop us a line and you never know.

Happy New Year

The Big Freeze - 22 December 2010

The big freeze is upon us and I have been without heating and hot water for three days now. First the pipes froze and now they have burst. In short it is mighty cold!

Here are a few tips that are keeping me going.

Wear layers, the more the better. You can wear our superlux chenille dressing gowns with thermals , which will keep you warm. You can even wear the dressing gowns over your normal clothes.

Purchasing a portable Calor gas heater is a good idea. The electric heaters are good but do not give out enough heat and often cost too much. In addition to keeping you warm this will keep your house warm to prevent any further damage.

Drink lots of warm drinks and eat lots of warm food, this will keep your strength up, as well as help keep you warm.

Try to keep moving, as you get much colder when you are stationary.

The most important tip is keep your spirits up and call a plumber!

The New Section - 25 November 2010

The New Section - 25 November 2010

As the days get shorter and colder we all spend much more time inside than we'd like, which can sometimes be saddening. At that time a person needs something to cheer them up and that is precisely why we have introduced a new interview section on the website.

It is dedicated to people who have led lives that inspire and encourage. Twiggy is the first person to be on our interview section. Many may not find Twiggy inspiring, but we feel the opposite.

Twiggy was once 'The Face of ‘66' and was a household name throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's. As she grew older and family responsibilites took over, we heard less and less from her, until she virtually vanished from the public eye. Now at 60 her career has had a new lease of life and she is once again a household name.

She has proved that age is no barrier to success and you can achieve your goals in the same way, as you did when you were 20. Reason enough for an chat!

Keeping warm this winter - 11 November 2010

Research has shown that the risk of heart attack is greater when the body temperature lowers. Here are a few tips to help you stop shivering during the cold winter months.

Hot drinks and hearty meals will provide you with enough energy to stay warm. Try to eat at least one hot meal a day even if you don't feel like cooking. It would also be a good idea to stock up on basic foods so you don't have to go to the shops in very cold days.
Do not stay sat down for long periods of time, get up and walk around for a while. This keeps your blood moving and makes you feel warmer.
Wrap up warm. Woolen or cotton fabrics will keep you at a nice temperature, even if it's freezing outside. Thick tights and socks are also a must, as are a pair of comfortable, warm slippers. When relaxing on the sofa, sitting in front of the TV, a shawl or blanket can be very useful for keeping you warm. Other essentials for keeping you warm this winter include scarves, hats and gloves.
Before you go to bed, have a warm, milky drink - it helps you to have a better night sleep. Thermal nightwear and bed socks will also help you keep warm through the night. Another idea would be to use an electric blanket or water bottle.
Keep your home warm. The ideal temperature for humans is 21°C, so make sure your thermostat is not set too low. It might also be worth to look at greener (and cheaper) options to keep your house warm, like improving your insulation, double glazing, or alternative energy sources.

And remember that winter is not all cold and miserable. There are many good things about it. So enjoy the holidays, the snow, the winter food and the family time!

The Countdown Begins - 29 October 2010

Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I'm counting down the days untill it's here.
If you have already started your Christmas shopping (like me), then make sure that a warm, high quality dressing gown is on your list. I am sure that whoever you decide to surprise it with will be forever grateful.
Only 56 days to go...

The Glamorous Bed Jacket - 21 September 2010

The Glamorous Bed Jacket - 21 September 2010

There comes a time when a woman feels the need to be a bit more glamorous.

The bed jacket, a waist length robe is perfect for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast.

Originally worn by those hospitalised or who have been recommended bed rest, the bed jacket is making a come back.

These days beautiful movie stars would lounge in their bed jackets, embellished with feathers, lace and swans down.

The bed jacket is ideal for those chilly mornings, when feeling cosy and warm is top of your agenda. It is also perfect as you settle back in bed with a good book and a steaming hot chocolate.

Treat yourself or a friend to one of our lovely bed jackets for this winter season!

Britain is Meerkat Mad! - 3 September 2010

Britain is Meerkat Mad! - 3 September 2010

Our friend Aleksandr the meerkat is still wowing the crowds! After becoming the biggest TV sensation of the year and gaining millions of fans, Aleksandr has managed to find a new way of getting closer to our hearts.
Aleksandr soft toys are now sold countrywide and have broken several sales records! Poundland alone managed to sell 50000 copies of the meerkat toys in just 3 months.
The official toy is Alexandr wearing his crimson smoking jacket, however, there are other versions of the toy available - Alexandr wearing a dressing gown, silk pyjamas, and tuxedos.

We are convinced Alexandr in his jacket is going to be one of the top selling Christmas gifts this year for kids. But why not get a lovely, warm, high quality dressing gown for yourselves?
Winter is approaching and a dressing gown is the one thing that you must have to be prepared for it!

As Aleksandr would say - Simples!

Faux Retro? - 27 August 2010

I've seen photo's of pin-up models all over the news and internet lately. I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers Bettie Paige from the first time around.

Bettie is from my generation, if the the pin-up look, burlesque and baking, yes baking are back in fashion, then why aren't we? When I bake it is classed as old fashioned, when a girl that is into burlesque bakes, it is retro and in fashion. Maybe next time instead of baking in a nightie I'll bake in some of those faux bullet bra's they are selling thesedays, maybe that would make me cool. On second thoughts maybe not!

Bettie is sadly no longer with us, but those of us who are here deserve to be appreciated. As most of the fashions that are hot today, we already had in our youth.

Snuggle Season - 24 August 2010

The colder weather should be around the corner, but as anyone here in the UK can testify that's not always the case. The sun was shinning a few days ago and now it is pouring down with rain, it is so dark it feels like 7pm when it's actually 10am!

It definitely one of those days when you need to grab your favourite dressing gown and snuggle up on the sofa with a warm cup of soothing tea. Suddenly the rain looks pretty, reminding me of an old romantic movie I saw many years ago, and all is well with the world again.

New Sale Items - 07 August 2010

In the current economic conditions what is the best way to enter a new season?

We think it is with a sale, and that too with a fantastic sale. Over the last few months we have been all over the world finding the best bargains we could.

These dressing gowns are usually one off samples or extra's from large orders. In one case a factory made an order of dressing gowns especially for us at a sale price, as they had no work for a few days.

The team here have been adding the sale items to the site and with continue to add new items over the next week or so. So if you are looking for a dressing gown, check out our sale section now, while stocks last.


More Dressing Gowns On The Way - 04 August 2010

Now that the long days of summer are coming to an end the team at dressing gowns and robes are getting prepared for the colder weather.

We have stock arriving daily from all the major dressing gowns and robes manufacturers, which will soon be added to our site. To name but a few there are wool dressing gowns, fleece robes, towelling robes, quilted dressing gowns, silk robes and even the much sought after cotton chenille robes too.

In response to customer demand we shall have a range of shapes, from button ups and zip robes to the classic shawl collar wrap and kimono's too.

See keep checking back!

Bath Robes & Dressing Gowns - 22 October 2009

Bath Robes & Dressing Gowns

Bath robes & dressing gowns are usually worn before taking a shower to cover the body or after taking a shower to dry off the water. Bath robes and dressing gowns are mostly found in cotton fabric which makes it more comfortable. But now it has become a fashion and more trendy style with elegant looks are becoming popular. They come in more variety of fabric like, cotton chenille, candlewick, the terry and micro terry bathrobes, velour, waffle, microfiber, cotton, Turkish cotton or cotton and polyesters combinations, terry chenille, polyester fabrics, polyester-cotton chenille, fleece, 100% organic cotton, bamboo and the latest fashion incorporates the silk dressing gown. The silk dressing gown lacks the absorbing quality so it is merely used to cover the body and used as a secondary garment to cover the sleeping clothes.

With the huge variety offered in the market it is obvious to get confused while making a choice of dressing gown. The dressing gown should be of soft material which absorption of water and feels smooth to the skin. It should not be clingy and the person should feel comfortable and fresh in spite of the wrap. Always look for the style, fabric and colors of the robes while buying as Even the style meets the different purpose and demands of the buyer like the kimono style dressing gowns, shower wraps, ballerina style dressing gown, spa dressing gowns, hooded dressing gowns, and beach wraps.

Beach wraps: -The beach wraps are also called as shower wraps and as the name suggests are meant to wear on beach or pools. The beach wrap for children are usually short dresing gowns which is used to cover the body after swimming. The womens dressing gown or shower wraps are tied up under the arms and the rest and falls loosely along the body.

Kimono style dressing gown: - kimono style dressing gown usually come with looser fit and bigger shoulders with a raglan style of sleeve. The kimono style dressing gown is a good choice and it can be worn on any other clothing or pajamas.

Ballerina style dressing gown: -they are the short knee length dressing gowns , they are light weight in cotton and polyester combination with the quality of wash and wear. You can wear this dressing gown to cover your clothes while doing hair or applying make-up.

Hooded Dressing Gowns: - the hooded dressing gowns are made from terry cotton or velour. These styles of dressing gown are mostly made with the heavier weight terry cotton fabric. The dressing gowns come in full length with the hood attached that fully covers the head. Even the light weight bath dressing gowns are available that comes in three quarter length

Spa Style Dressing Gowns: - the spa dressing gowns are used in spas or in home spas and are made from light weight fabric. The spa dressing gowns are used in combination with the spa wraps as both can be removed easily if going for spa treatments or aesthetic services. You also get accessories matching to the dressing gown, hair turbans, spa slippers and travel bags along with your spa style dressing gown

What Goes On After Their Gigs?? - 20 October 2009

What Goes On After Their Gigs?? - 20 October 2009

You would expect the likes of superstar girl band, Girls Aloud to be sipping champagne and eating strawberries and chocolates backstage after a gig...but apparently not!

After snooping around on the web for new inspiration, we at Kinnaird Ireland have found it to be a bit of a shock that it isn't just us oldies that look forward to cosying up in our favourite dressing gown....

Girls Aloud do too! Apparently the first thing they do is take off their gltzy costumes, kick off their heels, loung in their fluffy dressing gown and sit their feet in buckets of hot water!

Now there's a suprise!

Dressing Gowns, the Perfect Luxury Gift and they’re eco friendly ! - 18 October 2009

At last, the most luxurious eco friendly gift has arrived at our doorsteps.

In comparison to other gifts, the luxury dressing gown is the perfect luxury gift for those who are looking for something new that others haven't seen before and it is equally wanted by men and women. The long term benefits that these dressing gowns bring to your loved one's health is certainly unbeatable, preferred by many with sensitive skin.

The cost of keeping these dressing gowns clean is very low. Chenille dressing gowns amazingly can be tumble dried and do not need to be ironed. They are naturally breathable therefore chenille men and women's dressing gowns keeping fresher for longer and are kinder to the skin.

Discover the remarkable characteristics of cotton chenille. Chenille yarn is softer than normal cotton and has a natural sheen than helps enhance your bathroom décor !

Think finding a dressing gown is easy? Think again. - 16 October 2009

How difficult can it be to buy a man a dressing gown in which to keep warm of a winter morning? I had envisaged something finely spun, perhaps in merino wool, maybe gently and extravagantly mixed with cashmere. Not a bulky dressing gown - definitely not towelling, for instance, which is useful after a bath but has no place otherwise in a man's boudoir.

It might not have been the most exciting present, but I thought my boyfriend (how inadequate that word is for a man with whom I've been for ten years and who is the father of my child) might appreciate not shivering in his pyjamas. And if I picked it right, it could look stylish, too: the sort of dressing gown Cary Grant might have worn. Except that the only dressing gown in which I had ever seen Grant was a marabou-trimmed one in the 1938 film Bringing Up Baby, a film in which Grant memorably uttered the word "gay" meaning homosexual - the first time an actor had ever done so on film.

People imagine Cary Grant wore a silk lounging robe. And perhaps he did. So I considered silk. But while it sounds great and I know silk is supposed to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, on the hanger silk dressing gowns, even with the help of a vertical self-stripe, did not look stylish or warm enough.

Back to searching London and the internet for a dressing gown. Bonsoir had some in cotton. John Lewis had nothing that wasn't waffle cotton or towelling. Liberty had some that weren't right, ditto Selfridges. Derek Rose had some in silk and one in cashmere, but the latter gave you a penny change from £2,000 (yes, that is two thousand pounds) and was in a camel colour that I thought was all wrong. Anyway, I thought I'd rather just cover my boyfriend with £2,000 worth of fivers to keep him warm - paper is a great insulator. At least I could get them back when he was done and buy something else, like a car.

In short, men were grossly under-represented in the fine wool robe department. In the end, and at the door of desperation, I emailed my friend Charlie Porter, associate editor of GQ. "Surely, Charlie," I said, "someone must do a dressing gown that would keep a man warm but also look good?" He listed all the places I'd tried, plus one that I hadn't, but which did cashmere-only robes that were eye-wateringly expensive. He also mentioned Derek Rose again. I went back to the site to look at the £2,000 minus a penny dressing gown, and the silk ones.

Wait! There was one in navy for £250 that said "merino wool". I clicked on the picture. The belt had a tassel. It was perfect, wonderfully stylish and expensive enough to make it a truly luxurious present, but not so expensive I'd have to get the webcam out to make ends meet again.

Madonna makes dressing gowns fashionable - 14 October 2009

So I just came across a picture of Madge, better known as Madonna wearing a dressing gown to the airport! Lo and behold, when did wearing dressing gowns become fashionable? And especially as day wear? Well, in her case, it was night wear I suppose since she was exiting her Sticky and Sweet tour and was heading to the airport. Hmmm. If only the rest of us ordinary folk, better yet, middle aged women, could make dressing gowns look that glamorous! She's definitely doing something right. Now all it's going to take is a few paparazzi to get Madonna's picture, stick it in the magazines and bam! Just like that dressing gowns will be the new rage. Dressing gowns will be worn to lunch meetings, fancy dinners and definitely to the movies. Dressing gowns will be the next staple in the business woman's attire. Will men be far behind to follow this dressing gown trend to the office? Hmmm again.

All of which begs the question: why is it that when I wear dressing gowns to the local school to pick or drop off my children that my children run away in terror? Why do the other mums not take one look at my pink chenille dressing gown and wish they were me? Why do the other parents not rush out and copy my style? Why do the other children not wish their mums dressed like Sarah's or Joe's? Is my dressing gown any less worthy of notice than that of Madonna's? Perhaps. Or perhaps the colour and make of my dressing gown isn't worth mentioning in the magazines? It's enough to give one a complex about dressing gowns. I strongly object to the sheer madness of it all. All dressing gowns ought to be treated equally. Fair and just treatment for all dressing gowns is my motto. So the next time I choose to waltz through Starbucks in my pink stars and blue moons dressing gown, I expect nothing less than star treatment. One round of Frappuccino's for all in agreement!

By the way, for those interested souls, Madonna's dressing gown was a white towelling dressing gown in the style that a boxer wears to the ring. It also had 'Dancing Queen' embroidered on the back. And for those same curious souls, my dressing gown is pink chenille with embroidery on the collars stating 'No. 1 Mummy'.

How could you not love that?

To Dressing Gown Or Not? - 13 October 2009

"It's only in winter that you really need a dressing gown," says my friend Annie as we scoured the reduced sales racks in our local department. While hunting for post-Christmas deals, I had stopped to ponder the purchase of a fluffy, white dressing gown. It had a nice fur collar and was just the right size! I had been eyeing the dressing gown previously and now it being 30% off seemed to justify my luxurious buy. Sure, I thought, dressing gowns are great for winter but surely why not for spring? It's not like winter days don't drag on till way into April these days. And it's sure not like spring approaches anytime sooner than May with the doom and gloom of global warming. Besides, I really liked it.

But before I could delve into the rack for my special buy, I saw another hand reach in and make its move on my dressing gown! No! Not my dressing gown! Not my soft, white fluffy dressing gown that would be great for winter but just as nice for the cold spring mornings to come! It was a lady's hand as I deduced from the red painted nails and she was a stylish woman at that. Designer handbag in tow and high heels to match, the woman was quite the figure as I stood watching her with my dressing gown in hand. I waited and circled as she examined the collar and then the belt of the dressing gown. Both intact and made of the same luxurious cotton chenille with a fur collar, the dressing gown was heavenly the lady decided for she walked up to the till to make her purchase! NO! I thought. That's my dressing gown! My heart sank as she pulled out cash from her designer wallet and paid for the dressing gown. Not meant to be, I sighed. A moment's hesitation and the dream of warm mornings curled up by the fire in my dressing gown was dashed. And at that moment, Annie sauntered over and exclaimed, "Look what I just bought! It's a dressing gown in my size! I decided that dressing gowns aren't just for winter after all!" Ah, the bitter irony of it all. To make matters worse, the only place I ever see a similar dressing gown is on the tv, it would appear the shops are all sold out of cotton chenille dressing gowns.

Princess Diana's chef tells of dressing gown and tiara moment - 12 October 2009

Princess Diana's chef tells of dressing gown and tiara moment - 12 October 2009

Mervyn Wycherley, 59, who worked in the Royal household for 22 years, has also disclosed how the Prince of Wales picked vegetables from his Highgrove garden for dinner, flew pheasants from the Queen's Sandringham estate for a banquet in the Tropics, and had his eggs boiled for precisely four minutes.

Mr Wycherley has spoken for the first time because he is selling mementoes from his time with the couple and then the Princess who he worked for after the marriage broke-up.

They include a Valentine card which said: "Hey Valentine! Not many men will receive a Valentine's card from Princess Diana ...and you're one of them!!"

She also sent him a card showing 24 condoms hanging on two washing lines with the message: "Dear Mervyn, Wishing you a very happy birthday, with much love from Diana, X."

Mr Wycherley, who first cooked for the couple on the Royal Yacht Britannia on their honeymoon in 1981, was one of the Princess's most trusted aides and knew all about her battle with the eating disorder bulimia.

He said: "Diana was always popping into the kitchen at Kensington Palace. The green baize door would swing open and she would pop in to raid the fridge and have a chat. One day our service lift broke down and we had a couple of engineers in the kitchen.

"It was the State Opening of Parliament that day and Diana's hairdresser Sam McKnight had already weaved a tiara into her hair. The Princess wanted a yoghurt from the fridge for her breakfast and she swept into the kitchen wearing just her dressing gown and the tiara.

"She came out laughing her socks off saying: "You do realise they're going to leave Kensington Palace thinking I always wear a tiara - even when I'm in my dressing gown"!."

The chef said he was bombarded with notes from the Prince praising him for the dinner parties he prepared. Nicholas Soames, the Tory MP and close friend of the Prince of Wales, was a particular fan.

"Some of your creations, like the oeufs ecossais, have become famous and Mr Nicholas Soames drools at the mouth at the thought," he wrote. Mr Wycherley said: "They are small grilled salmon fishcakes topped with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce and Mr Soames often used to have two helpings!"

The Prince of Wales, who has an organic farm at Highgrove, was often found in the vegetable patch picking his dinner. "The Prince used to walk over to the garden in the early evening and pick things like peas and asparagus for his dinner." He used to also pass on recipes to his personal chef. In two memos estimated he wrote: "Mervyn, could we please have some lovage soup at some stage? There's lots growing very tall in the kitchen garden and longing to be used."

In another, he wrote: "Enclosed are two recipes for making orange gin and damson gin. We have damsons at Highgrove so I would be very grateful if you could use them (the small plums) to make damson gin. Could you also make the orange gin when Seville oranges are in."

Mr Wyhcherley has cooked for Kings, Queen, Presidents, Prime Ministers and countless VIPs at Buckingham Palace, Sandringham, Kensington Palace, Highgrove and on foreign tours around the world. He is selling his memorabilia at Reeman Dansie auctioneers in Colchester on November 24.

Mr Wycherley, who now runs his own catering company, said: "On foreign tours we would take pheasants from Sandringham. The Prince used to love it when we served Sandringham pheasants at banquets in the Tropics!"

He also revealed how he always kept three pans of eggs boiling on the stove at Highgrove when Prince Charles returned from hunting. "The Prince like boiled eggs and crumpets for tea. But his eggs had to be boiled for exactly four minutes. His detectives radioed his ETA ahead, so I always kept three pans boiling - just to be safe."

The Venerable Old Smoking Jacket Is A Must Have For A Gentleman's Wardrobe - 11 October 2009

The smoking jacket should today be more properly considered as a general, all-purpose, at-home entertaining jacket. With all the apparent choices about what to wear for at-home dinners, there seems to be a lot of confusion.

Some men will wear a suit with a casual shirt or sweater in an attempt to soften its demeanor for the evening. Others will fall back on some sort of sports jacket or the trusty blazer. Even the cashmere cardigan has been brought into play.

But if a tuxedo is too formal and a suit too pedestrian, a sweater a bit too casual and a blazer a cliché, what to do? The smoking jacket is the perfect alternative. There's much more styling variety here than supposed. An at-home jacket of this type can first either be a buttoned or a sash style. The buttoned version is coat-shaped, either single-breasted with shawl lapels (usually self-faced) and one-button closure, or double-breasted with one-, two- or three-button closure (usually with braiding, called frogs). It's also ventless, with piped lapels, cuffs and pockets.

The concept of an elegantjacket for entertaining, naturally, has never been lost on the purveyors of better clothing. We are shortly expecting a delivery of some of the finest smoking jackets from these very purveyors and look forward to offering these online very soon.

Material gown - Madonna's airport dressing gown - 10 October 2009

After a grueling gig in Berlin on Thursday, madonna boarded her flight back to London in a fluffy dressing gown.

I just hope they had her cocoa and slippers waiting on the plane.

But the Material Girl probably needs her rest, she and hubby Guy Ritchie are very busy.

While a London townhouse, New York penthouse and a Wiltshire country estate would be enough for most of us, the couple want to add a holiday hideaway on a remote Italian island to their property portfolio.

They are looking for a home on Linosa, called the island of dreams and one of Sicily's best-kept secrets.

Many people who live there don't even have hot water or electricity. I don't reckon Madge and Guy will have the same problem though.

The loved-up pair visited the island in June and took a tour of the island checking out potential holiday homes.

A source said: They really liked how private and quiet the island is and love the idea of getting away from it all.

There are hardly any tourists and they will be left to their own devices by locals.

If they carry on like this they'll soon have enough houses to make up their own Monopoly board.

Dressing Gown - Clothes, stealing dressing gowns - 9 October 2009

This week was a momentous one. I got rid of the dressing gown I've had since 1997 in exchange for a big fluffy M&S number. You know, small things, small minds .....

While I worked out what to do with my life after graduation, I worked in the gymn of a five star hotel training bored, rich women to get fit. It's more fun than it sounded. Free gourmet food, state of the arm gym stuff to play with, sauna at lunchtime. Not too shabby for Northern.

Of course I got bored and left, but before I did I nicked one of the hotel dressing gowns. Very naughty, but was so big, fluffy and comfy I couldn't resist.

Anyway, I loved that dressing gown, but Mrs. Northern hated it. And quite right, by the time she met me it was full of holes in it, bereft of its former downy softness and carried evidence of tea spilt years ago. Still, I couldn't force myself to get rid of it.

It had lived with me through London, Newcastle and then back to Leeds, it had seen more than 6 flats, been worn by different girls (not many I'm afraid) had worn in. It carried my story, it was symbol of a version of me that no longer existed, but I wa still fond of. It was mine in way that the new one won't be for a while.

That's the thing about clothes. There's no point denying the wonderful novelty and possibility they represent on the racks in shops. Every one an idea of another you, a reinvention, a person you want to be. There's no point denying their power. And it's not just a girl thing, or a fashion thing- I know plenty of men who fall to pieces over trainers in the same way women coo over Manolo's.

But after a first wear, clothes become truly yours. They cease to become an idea - they mould and stretch to your shape, and the more you wear them, the more they become intrinsically linked to the things you've been through. Symbols of all the things you are, or were, familiar friends.

I'm not sure where to go with this, but guess there's a lot to be said for celebrating another truth about clothes in addition to the novelty of fashion.

Missing The Dressing Gown - 6 October 2009

Over the decades, certain items of clothing have been dropping away. Hostess gowns, dinner suits, and bed jackets, for instance, are nearly extinct. Some items, like girdles, I can live without. But other types of clothing we miss. Near the top of the list is the dressing gown.

A dressing gown is a lightweight garment, usually floor length, and often with a zipper up the middle. They're usually cotton, chenille, silk, or rayon and patterned with anything from flowers to Chinese water bearers to flamingos. Dressing gowns are made to get into and out of easily so that you can step into one to wear once you've put on underwear and a bra (and maybe a slip, if you're going to wear one) but aren't quite ready to get dressed. Wearing a dressing gown you can make coffee and eat breakfast or put on make up without worrying about getting your clothes dirty.

A dressing gown isn't a bathrobe. Bathrobes are made to keep you warm and dry after a shower. Some robes, including wool Pendleton robes, are for layering over nightclothes to keep you warm as you raid the refrigerator in the middle of the night or step into the garage for more firewood. Of course, some people use robes as dressing gowns, but why wear a heavy layer of terrycloth (probably with threads pulling off it and a little damp from last night's bath) when you could be firing up the coffeepot with a full skirt of silk swishing against your legs?

An Interview With The Meerkat Who Has Bought Smoking Jackets Back Into Fashion - 5 October 2009

An Interview With The Meerkat Who Has Bought Smoking Jackets Back Into Fashion - 5 October 2009

It's the moment you've been waiting for Compare The Meerkat lovers! Simples!

Aleksandr Orlov, the velvet-smoking-jacket-loving website entrepreneur, has got his whiskers in a twist over the bags of questions his fans want answering on all things meerkat.

But, after much furry head scratching, he's delivered the goods and given his fans a real insight into his life and opinions.

So, here we go, take it away Aleksandr...

Welcome to live computamabob chat with me, Aleksandr Orlov! Many gratitudes to the peoples who have submit some very interesting curiosity questions. I wish I could answer them all, but unfortunate I have important appointment with Jacuzzi bubbles. Enjoy!

Whats your favorite British dish?

On Sundays I like to have Sergei order in some Red Tiger Worm curry from the Taj Mahal in London's West End. It takes several weeks for deliver but that is just add to the flavour.

Is there a Mrs Orlov & have you any baby Orlovs?

Sergei is only other meerkat in my life at the moment. He has the qualities of both a wife and a baby in that he is both good with sums and nearly bald.

Aleksandr: Do you have any ambitions to use your undoubted entrepreneurial skills for the benefit of a british football club?

Right now it taking all my skill and genius to explain difference between meerkat and market to peanut brains. Maybe in future, I hear they will be havings the two for one sale in January.

elections next year? and what party will you be running in? will Sergei be your under study?

I had a little dabble into politics in Czechoslovakia during the eighties. I think it is best for things if I do not dabble again.

I have this urge to dig small holes in my garden am I turning into a meerkat?

Are you also feeling urge to wear silky neck apparel and shampoo your face? If so, then, yes, you are likely turning into meerkat. You should feel overjoyous.

Have you any good advice you could give my cats Pickles and Smudge to avoid catching fleas?

I have never had problem with the flea, but I have consult Sergei. He says best thing is to avoiding making friends with them. He made this mistake and now rents headspace to a lovely family of Latvian horse mites.

Aleksandr, where do you get your smoking jacket? I think its great and need the name of your tailor

Thank you for compliment, but I am sorry to report that it all hand made by secret tailorist in Minsk. He make all my garments, from dress cravats to my piano mittens.

Isn't it about time you replaced your dressing gown?

I could never replace smoking jacket, it special design that only two people own in whole of world. (Vladimir Putin is other, he copy me)

Are you dressing up for Halloween?

For the Halloween I dress as most horrifying creature of all time, the mongoose. Sergei is busy creating terrifying costume as we speak. It so scary he not sleep for fear of mongoose under bed.

What is it like being one of Facebook's most biggest stars?

Being Facebook star is not as glamorous as peoples think. I spend all of day respond to message, writing on walls and poking many peoples. Is exhausting work. Sometimes I not even have enough energy left to climb in Jacuzzi.

Aleksandr, when are you going to sign your first film contract?

I have read many script but I am yet to find film to test my acting powers to the limit. My agent (Sergei) is busy working on finding greatest script since masterpiece 'Titanic'. Hmmm, I wonder if they have already cast for Titanic 2?

Do you feel at all threatened, in popularity, by Sergei?

I ask Sergei about this and tell me he is very popular. He say he so popular, he was banned from the Facebook because have too many friends and break their computamabobs. I think he is telling the white fibs.

Do u always go commando under yoursmoking jacket?

I have not go commando in very long time, not since Sergei and I spend afternoon in war room. We reinact great meerkat mongoose battle, I dress as hero Grandpapa Lieutenant Vitaly Orlov. Sergei dress as stinky mongoose. It was great victory.

Do Russian meerkats grow white fur in winter?

No, meerkat do not grow white fur, although Sergei is slowly turning brilliant shade of grey.

I think Mongoose is making my local football team Ipswich Town keep losing. How do I rid the Stadium of Mongoose?

This sound very much like mongoose sabotage. Best thing to do is lay pair of old shoe in middle pitch. Mongoose will be unable to resist. When they show their stinky face bash with salami. It work everytime.

A return to more civilised times? - 4 October 2009

As any fashionable young blade will tell you, dressing-gowns are making a comeback. Mark Palmer needs no converting

Dressing-gowns mean dressing down, don't they? Not at all, actually - quite the opposite. These wonderfully idiosyncratic garments that nod quietly in the direction of gentler, more civilised times - and have a distinctive whiff of Britishness about them - can be as smart as you like.

Indeed, I am writing this at 7am on a Sunday morning while wearing a full-length pink and white-striped woven silk creation from Emma Willis, the Jermyn Street shirt-makers, and it feels extravagant, luxurious and just a touch decadent.

This evening, after a hot bath and with hopes of an early night, I will appear in the kitchen for supper in a reversible dressing-gown jacket - cashmere on one side and silk on the other - by Mariano Rubinacci, the Italian designer based in London and Naples. It's, so is. It reminds me of a velvet smoking-jacket and certainly would not look out of place at a smart dinner party. But, then, I've always been a huge dressing-gown fan.

My mother ran a tight sartorial ship when my brother and I were growing up: there were strict rules about what to wear at any given time and general decorum was afforded a high priority. When, on occasion, she said, "You may come down in your dressing-gowns", something lifted in our spirits because it meant the rulebook had been abandoned temporarily. Coming down in our dressing-gowns meant hot chocolate in the kitchen or watching television in front of the fire way beyond bedtime.

Today, sales of dressing-gowns are on the rise, but no one seems entirely sure why. They were popular in the 1950s and 1960s when most homes did not have central heating but, over the past few decades, they've appeared to be surplus to requirements. Not any more. Today, Marks & Spencer stocks nine different styles, ranging in price from £12 to £45, and reports a mini surge in sales, particularly of its "fluffy fleece" line. There has been a trend away from towelling dressing-gowns, a spokesman says, and now the company has launched a "quick-dry robe" to get you from the bathroom to the bedroom, or anywhere in between. It apparently diffuses water in such a way that it feels dry to the touch and doesn't stick to the skin.

"Dressing-gowns are a much-overlooked accessory that can make a man look fabulous," says Emma Willis. "When I think of my dressing-gowns, I imagine a man having breakfast on a balcony somewhere hot, with views of the sea. They represent time out."

Emma says that a certain type of younger man - the metrosexual, perhaps - has begun to see the point of dressing-gowns, now that pyjama bottoms, or boxer shorts and a T-shirt, have become their bedtime fashion of choice. Throw on a dressing-gown in the morning and you are presentable without having to get dressed.

Oscar Humphries, the 25-year-old son of Barry Humphries and man about town, recently bought two dressing-gowns - an Italian Oxford silk for £500 and an Italian linen and cotton design for £320. Indeed, he is something of a connoisseur.

"Dressing-gowns are the Ferrari of clothes," says Oscar, who runs a PR company and lives in London. "They're slightly unnecessary, but essential at the same time. I wouldn't say they are sexy - and certainly not the equivalent of a woman's negligée - but they're elegant and stylish. A dressing-gown draws a clear line between work and play. They are the antithesis of a nine-to-five uniform."

Although educated at Stowe, Oscar is Australian - and not altogether proud of his antipodean roots. He thinks a dressing-gown makes him more English. This, I suggest, might be because he's watched My Fair Lady too many times - particularly the scene where Rex Harrison is flicking through books in his library wearing a long, silk dressing-gown. He may also have been impressed by Daniel Craig in his 007 dressing-gown in Casino Royale.

"Being an Australian makes me feel a bit naff, so I want to be associated with anything that makes me more English," he says. "A dressing-gown serves this purpose perfectly. But there is also a practical point to them. You can keep things in the pockets: sleeping pills, contraceptives, a pencil, a panic button." Er, quite.

There are, of course, questions of etiquette concerning dressing-gowns. Is it acceptable to greet people at the door in one? Should you impose a cut-off time during the day?

Oscar says he wouldn't greet anyone at the door in his gown if he knew them socially, but would accept a letter from the postman. He also advises against wearing one for long on a weekday because, before you know it, it will be teatime.

He never packs one when he goes away because, he says, "it's like a piece of furniture and it belongs at home". But Emma Willis believes a dressing-gown comes into its own when staying in someone else's house, especially if there is no en-suite bathroom.

"Dressing-gowns simply cover you up - and that's no bad thing when you are a guest," she says. "There's something sad about a grown-up man going down to the kitchen at night for a glass of water wearing only boxer shorts."

For designer Mariano Rubinacci, it is the quality of the dressing-gown that makes it an indispensable item.

"Every man should have at least one - and I would advise one for winter and one for summer," he says. "There is nothing better than coming in after work, removing your jacket and putting on a dressing-gown over your shirt and tie. Dressing-gowns are incredibly comfortable, but also very dignified. And once you have got into the habit of wearing one it's very difficult to stop."

A bathrobe or dressing gown/housecoat - 3 October 2009

A bathrobe or dressing gown/house coat (UK) is a robe typically worn after bathing in the privacy of one's home where the wearer is typically otherwise nude to keep warm and/or preserve modesty at times when there is no immediate need to fully dress. As a dressing gown proper, it is a loose open-fronted gown closed with a fabric belt that is put on over nightwear on rising from bed, or, less commonly today, worn over some day clothes when partially dressed or undressed in the morning or evening (for example, over a man's shirt and trousers without jacket and tie). The regular wearing of a dressing gown by men about the house is derived from the 18th-century wearing of the banyan in orientalist imitation. The Japanese yukata is an unlined, cotton kimono worn as a bathrobe or as summer outdoor clothing. Several styles of bathrobes are marketed to consumers, categorised by textile material and type of weave.

Styles of fabrics

Dressing gowns are generally made of four different fabrics.
- Cotton: Cotton is a natural fibre consisting primarily of cellulose and is one of the most commonly used fibres in textile manufacturing. Due to the polarity of cellulose, cotton bathrobes absorb water easily and are frequently used by the beach, pool, or following a shower. Cotton bathrobes are especially suited to use in hot climates because cotton tends to absorb perspiration.
- Silk: Another common fabric used in bathrobes is silk. Silk is a fine lustrous fibre composed mainly of fibroin and produced by the secretions of certain insect larvae (normally silkworms) forming strong, elastic, fibrous thread. These kinds of bathrobes can be relatively expensive due to the cost of producing silk. Such bathrobes are very thin and lightweight. These bathrobes are not particularly suited to wet environments because they lack the surface area and polarity necessary to absorb water. However, silk dressing gowns are the traditional choice, since they are not worn after bathing.
- Microfibre: Microfibre is an extremely fine synthetic fibre, typically made of cellulose or polyester, that can be woven into textiles to mimic natural-fibre cloth. Modern microfibres are developed to maximise breathability and water absorption and can be thinner than the width of human hair. Much like silk, robes made out of microfibre are light in weight and are very soft to the touch.
- Wool: Wool is common in colder climates.

Styles of weave

Bathrobes are also categorised by their shape of weave.
- Flannel: Flannel is a soft woven fabric, made from loosely spun yarn, usually cotton or wool.
- Terry: Terry is a pile fabric, usually woven of cotton, with uncut loops on both sides, used for bath towels and robes. The longer and denser the loops are, more absorbent the bathrobes are.
- Velour: Velour is a fabric with cut loops. Velour bathrobes are typically made with terry inside, as terrycloth absorbs water better than velour. Velour gives the bathrobe luxury, cosiness, and makes the garment softer to the touch.
- Waffle: Waffle fabric is loose and has a distinctive "gridlike" appearance. For most part, these bathrobes are designed for their light weight. "Pique" is a type of waffle weave that can be applied to cotton, velour, silk, and other fabrics.

Styles of collars

There are varieties of collars for bathrobes as well.
- Shawl collar: So called because the collar closes about the neck just like a shawl. The shawl collar is borrowed from its use on men's evening wear, the dinner jacket and smoking jacket, and is common on traditional dressing gowns. The shawl collar gives a feeling of warmth and cosiness.
- Kimono: The kimono style robe actually has no collar per se. It generally provides more comfort to the wearer in warm weather.
- Hooded: A hood is sewn into the neckline, which can be worn over the head to keep it warm and help dry wet hair.

Styles of sculpture
The sculpture refers to the texture or styling of the dressing gown's fabric. The sculpture of a dressing gown not only provides aesthetic appeal, but also affects the absorbency and the hang of the dressing gown. The sculpture is a pattern sewn into the terry cloth, velour, or other fabric that reduces bulk, increases suppleness, and yields a more graceful hang on thicker dressing s. There are several varieties of fabric sculptures for bathrobes:

- Window Pane: A box or checkerboard pattern in various sizes
- Zig Zag: A plush, repeating "Z" pattern
- Ribbed: A sculpture design that yields alternating vertical lines of plush material and sewn material
- Waves: Similar to the Zig Zag sculpture, but with gentler angles

What to get the man who has everything: a £15,000 dressing gown - 1 October 2009

Stuck for what to get the man who has everything this Christmas? Help is at hand, from a department store which is selling a £15,000 dressing gown.

A £15,000 dressing gown from Selfridges for the man who has everything
The dressing gown is woven from extremely rare wool from vicuna, which are cousins of the Llama

Defying the retail slow down and the fact the economy is heading into the worst recession in decades, Selfridges is offering a dressing gown that is woven from extremely rare vicuna wool.

At more than half the average person's annual salary, the Derek Rose dressing gown is the most expensive piece of bedwear known to man. But the retailer is confident there are enough billionaires left around the world who are having to suffer from the indignities of a mere cashmere and may want to trade up.

Vicunas, which are cousins of the Llama, produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is so expensive because the animal can only be shorn every two years. The animals are endangered in the wild but live in captivity in the Peruvian highlands.

Fashion experts are confident that the luxuriousness of vicuna wool will tempt some buyers.

Gareth Scourfield, fashion editor of Esquire magazine, said: "It seems a ridiculous price, I know. But this isn't bling, this is understated luxury that will appeal to some people that really appreciate rarity value.

"Vicuna wool is incredible. It is like a cashmere silk mix – very warm, but also very light."

The dressing gown is the latest example of retailers offering very high-priced items, in a snub to the credit crunch. Fortnum & Mason is selling £25,000 Christmas hampers containing kilos of caviar and foie gras. One of the most hotly-tipped toys this Christmas is a barking, sniffing battery-operated dog that costs more than £130.

Selfridges will monogram the dressing gown at no extra cost.

The Telegraph
By Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 4:02PM GMT 20 Nov 2008

The Ten Best Dressing Gowns - 30 September 2009

We couldn't stop laughing when we saw this article and we had to share it with our customers. The power of large corporate PR machines over real quality and value is our opinion....

1 Harrods 499

A cashmere dressing gown isn't ever going to be a cheap option but it certainly is a luxurious one. Exclusively available to Harrods, this gloriously soft, half-lined robe is available in a range of colours from subtle to striking.

2 Paul Smith 89

Here's a classic gown for chaps who prefer a crisp cotton robe to a voluminous towelling one. It's just the thing to wear on Sunday mornings - or evenings - while working your way through a cup of coffee.

3 Shanghai Tang 210

A kimono is a chic way to hide a pair of less-than-glamorous pyjamas and this kingfisher blue version from Shanghai Tang, made from 100 per cent silk, is certainly showier than most sleepwear out there. If the colour is a little too bold, rest assured it's also available in white, black and navy.

4 Net-a-Porter 122

It might be the perfect dressing gown for LA ladies or Barbie girls but I can't help loving this hooded, sugar-pink robe from Juicy Couture. Team it with a flimsy negligee, and a pair of marabou mules for a true starlet look.

5 M&S 19.50

Marks and Spencer is a winner for no-nonsense nightwear. This black dressing gown might not look very exciting but, made from soft and cosy fleece, it is just the thing for icy winter mornings.

6 Gap 25

An incredibly well-priced dressing gown for men that is bound to be stolen by their girlfriends thanks to its length and general snugness. Gap also has a range of lightweight robes for women in its sleepwear collection.

7 Derek Rose 99.99

No one rivals Derek Rose when it comes to gorgeous pyjamas and dressing gowns. This modern take on the kimono is made from lightweight printed cotton and has a wide, obi-style belt. Guaranteed to impress, even if you're only taking the milk in.

8 Missoni 84

Covered with Missoni's distinctive stripes, this robe will brighten up dark mornings. It's towelling on one side and velour on the other so is very cosy. It's on offer at a reduced price - down from 120 - until the end of the year.

9 The White Company 35

Pretend that you're staying in a five-star hotel every day by buying a bright, white waffle robe from- where else - The White Company. One thing to bear in mind when buying is that they shrink a little on the first wash, so go up a size when ordering.

10 Toast 165

Made from silk and velvet, this robe is available in deep blue (pictured) or a dark chocolate brown. It's incredibly warm and tactile but be warned, it's dry clean only so dribble breakfast on it at your peril.

The Ten Best is edited by Rebecca Armstrong

Copyright c 2007 Independent Newspapers UK Limited. All rights owned or operated by The Independent.
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

What Are Dressing Gowns? - 29 September 2009

Originally worn only by men, dressing gowns are now a garment that can be worn by men or women. Its evolution has been influenced by many different types of robes from many different cultures.

Perhaps the earliest precursor to dressing gowns was the banyan. The banyan refers to many different styles of robes worn by men from the late 17th to early 19th century. The banyan was generally an un-tailored robe with loose sleeves. It was worn indoors during the day for lounging, or before bed over the nightgown.

Towards the mid 19th century, banyans began to take on Turkish, East Indian, Persian or Japanese influence, sometimes more closely resembling the Kimono. The banyan eventually transitioned into different types of lounge-wear, such as the bathrobe, a terry-cloth robe worn before or after showering, or the bedjacket, which is a jacket worn in bed over pajamas. During this time, dressing gowns emerged as a more tailored type of robe with fitted sleeves, sometimes including a sash-like tie around the waist.

Early American dressing gowns still exhibited this strong Japanese influence. They were typically made of a quilted silk fabric with patterns similar to those used on Japanese bedspreads, with a high neckline crossing over one side of the robe, resembling a Kimono. Some American dressing gowns are still made in this style.

Today, both men and women wear dressing gowns. The word is now used to refer to a robe that is worn in the morning before dressing or while lounging at home. Modern men's dressing gowns usually resemble bathrobes, and are made of a heavier material such as flannel or fleece. Dressing gowns made for women frequently fall more in the category of lingerie or night-wear. Different types of women's robes include the peignoir, which is a loose-fitting gown, or the negligee, a dressing gown made of a soft, sometimes sheer fabric.

Not Our Type Of Smoking Jacket - 27 October 2009

Not Our Type Of Smoking Jacket - 27 October 2009

Smoking jackets are an essential part of a gentlemen's wardrobe, whether they smoke or not.

Fiona Carswell has developed a smoking jacket that is not intended for a gentleman's wardrobe but is part of a series of similar ideas involving visceral, absurd information displays.

The Smoking Jacket has a built-in pair of lungs on the front that act as an iconographic "warning system". The polite smoker can blow the smoke into a "container" at the collar, in order to avoid blowing it in the faces of people around them. The smoke then filters into a set of see-through lungs at the front of the jacket. Over time the lungs, which have an air-filter back, should darken from cigarette smoke.

Fiona to explains how it works: "When wearing the jacket, the smoker exhales cigarette smoke into a one-way air valve in the collar, trapping it in. The smoke is then channelled through some tubing to a pair of plastic lungs on the front of the jacket. Inside the lungs is air-filter material which darkens to a brownish stain after repeated exposure to smoke.

The lungs aren't completely airtight, so the smoke will eventually seep out, allowing it to be used many times."

So how did she get the idea? "My inspiration was not to change people, but to see if visceral, comic information displays could cause self-awareness and reflection in a way that literal, numerical displays can't.

As it turned out, some smokers loved wearing the jacket, and wanted to wear it even when not smoking. However, as soon as it started to darken, that was the point at which there was a disconnect and they couldn't reconcile feeling pride in something that other people thought was 'gross'."

I doubt we will be stocking this item, but we'd love to just for the novelty. In the meantime we'll just have to make do with smoking jackets made from the finest materials and best patterns.