Bathrobes have been a wardrobe staple—as well as a catalog staple—for years. There are few people who don’t like cuddling up in a warm, soft robe after a hot shower, or coming downstairs for their morning cup of coffee wrapped in their favorite terry cloth robe.
Robes are an ever-popular gift item, evidenced by the number of holiday and gift catalogs that featured them this past winter. The Norm Thompson gift catalog, Sundance gifts, Talbots gift collection, the Lands’ End holiday catalog and the Cuddledown of Maine holiday catalog are just a few of the books that presented robes as wonderful gift ideas.
“Robes are one of the most popular gifts for older people and college kids because they spend so much time in them,” says Joan Burden Litle, president of the Catalog Connection, a creative merchandising consulting firm in Lowell, MA. “They can curl up in bed in a great big, thick robe that can take the wear and tear. And a robe is comforting, sort of like your teddy bear.”
Robes are also something that people are unlikely to buy for themselves but enjoy getting as a gift. Another bonus for merchandisers is that just about everyone needs a robe, and it is an appropriate gift for all ages.
Terry cloth has long been the preferred material, but fleece robes are gaining favor lately. Both Lands’ End and Talbots offer fleece robes in their catalogs. Overall, fleece robes have not replaced the terry cloth style, but fleece is showing up in more and more catalogs.
“I see fleece coming around, but I think terry cloth is still a basic,” says Burden Litle. “It’s like the bread and butter. It’s been in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog as long as I can remember. They have a family of white, heavy-looking terry cloth robes in their catalog.”