Witness anyone who's anything in films and TV of old, from sleuths like Hercule Poirot to simpletons like Bertie Wooster. When preparing for bed or before dressing in the morning, you'll find them in beautiful extravagant silk robes, usually with quilted cuffs and collar.
Now that we live in heated spaces, such comforts are superfluous. Today you're likely instead to find a leading man reading the paper and spilling coffee and cereal all over himself wearing the boxers and t-shirt he slept in the previous night and wore the previous day.
Derek Rose (that's Derek, not Derrick, the rehabbing Chicago Bulls point guard) still offers made in England robes for those aspiring to emulate the elan of yesteryear, as they have done for decades. Classic patterns stay in the collection permanently, joined every season by temporary new patterns. All patterns are, as they should be, busy and decorative, one of the gentleman's only opportunities to throw caution to the wind and indulge in colors and flourishes that he can enjoy in the comfort of his own presence without worry to offending the delicate sensibilities of his most Victorian companions.
These robes are generally thinner, of printed silk, and less constructed than what you'll see in the old movies. I imagine at least in part because the old thick silks with quilted collars, cuffs, and back would be too hot in the heated homes of today. Perhaps also because the one true old-style embroidered silk robe I've seen in person was a Charvet robe at BG in NYC, which had a price tag of around $6k.
Derek Rose now also courts those seeking a modern solution, yet one more elegant than the typical fraternity house fare. All this comes under the heading of “lounge wear”. It is the modern gentleman's answer to Lululemon yoga pants. It fulfills its assignment quite well. It's almost entirely cotton – 95% - with the remainder left to create stretchiness. That 5% really goes a long way in creating the softness, stretchiness and bounciness of something that you'd like to wear around the house while watching a movie or reading before bed. I also find the design of the pockets kind of “cute” in a good way. Loose, flowy pants that you're wearing around the house can easily look just sloppy. The concise back pocket and athletic-looking front pockets avoid this.
They make a cashmere outfit that reminds me of a cashmere hoodie I used to love wearing around my apartment until it finally was consumed by moth holes and wear. While it was alive, it was truly a pleasure. I do wonder how well these pants could hold up, by I was assured by the Derek Rose representative that the stuff lasts.
Underwear is another new offering. Many of the silk boxers are made of the same patterns as the robes. I have never worn silk boxers and can't say that it sounds particularly pleasurable. I will stick to good old cotton, of which they also have plenty, knit and woven.
Many an iGent waxes philosophical on his dress as a sign of respect for others, and for the occasion. But respect for others begins with respect for yourself. Show yourself some respect, and get yourself something worth wearing in your own company.