From Robes to Bathrobes
To understand the history of bathrobes, one must start with the robe. Defined as a loose-fitting outer garment, the English word robe was taken from the French word meaning "a woman's dress." The robe was differentiated from other similar garments, such as capes or cloaks, because of its sleeves. One of the most noted robes in history is the seamless robe worn by Jesus Christ at the time of his crucifixion. This actual seamless robe is currently kept at an altar by the Roman Catholic Church, and was last publicly viewed in the year 1996.
The Chinese are well known for their use of robes. Chinese robes were made from fine fabrics such as silk, and worn as outer garments. These robes were also adorned with intricate embroidery. These robes were worn as far back as the 1800s, throughout a large part of the Chinese dynasties.
A style of robe that is an inspiration to the design of bath robes, is the Japanese kimono style robe. These styles of robes also date back to the early 1800s. The kimono style robes were considered pieces of art by the Japanese. These garments were usually created from silk fabric, or even gold foil, and also had elaborate embroidery. The Chinese and Japanese robes of ancient times are still currently used as traditional apparel in these countries.
As history has progressed, the robe has gradually transformed into the bathrobe. Bathrobes can be defined as robes worn after bathing, or similar activities such as swimming. In European countries, baths were commonly taken in bath houses where several other people would be bathing. Bath robes were commonly used in these countries to cover the body for warmth, as well as, providing privacy. Bath robes of modern times are used for in this very way, and for similar purposes. Both men's and women's bathrobes of today are inspired by the robes of the past, and are available in a wide array of fabrics, colors, and styles.