Dressing Down in Dressing Gowns

To go along with my previous post on sleepwear, here’s one on the dressing gown (or robe/housecoat, if you prefer)!

There are numerous examples of this clothing item in cinematic classics. The one that immediately sprang to my mind is that worn by Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. Her “you know how to whistle, don’t you” scene is undeniably well known, but the attire perhaps less so:


Bacall was just 19 when this film was made, and a brand-new ingenue at that. She and Bogart, who was more than twice her age, struck up their famous romance during filmmaking, and the sparks are palpable in this scene:

Another old movie with memorable dressing-gowns is Red Dust, starring Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. Apparently Harlow was deliberately costumed in robes with no fastenings, so that they would constantly be on the verge of falling open:


And here’s another cheeky scene:

A modern take on this retro phenomenon is Australia, where Nicole Kidman wears a dressing gown in the memorable shower scene:


And as before, there’s a saucy scene to go along with it! Here’s an excerpt:

But lest you come to the conclusion that all such attire betokens steamy stares and double-entendres, here is something entirely different…. Perhaps this one ought to be called a “robe” instead!


That’s Bilbo in his wonderfully patterned and textured patchwork robe from The Hobbit. Quite a departure from the others, but a gorgeous piece of costuming!

P.S. On yet another different note: I highly doubt these robes from The Other Boleyn Girl are historically authentic (the Tudor era is not my area of expertise, but still….); nonetheless, they are rather glorious from a purely costume-y point of view, so I’ve added them as an afterthought:



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