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Best dressing gowns 2021: Bathrobes, kimonos and nightgowns for men and women from £18

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Wrap up all your loungewear needs with a stylish new dressing gown

Dressing gowns aren't the most obvious wardrobe investment pieces, but a well-chosen bathrobe or nightgown is your friend for life. It'll be there for you when you fall out of bed, step out of the shower and snuggle on the sofa – and it's your wardrobe's best trick for making you look the bee's knees in seconds flat.

There's a whole range of dressing gown types, from big fleece body-huggers to barely-there satin wraps. In between are the all-rounders: smooth cotton kimonos, waffle bathrobes, and jersey wraps that feel cosy without weighing you down.

For this review we've chosen our top eight dressing gowns you can buy today, considering factors including practical fabrics, design features (yes, we're talking pockets), price and flattering shapes. First, here's a guide to wrapping yourself in the right fabric.

How to choose the best dressing gown for you

What's the best material for dressing gowns?

High-quality cotton is many people's automatic go-to when checking fabric labels, especially when buying nightwear and loungewear. But it's not that simple. Here's why.

Flat-woven cotton feels lovely against your skin when you're dry, but it doesn't absorb moisture, so it doesn't wick sweat away from your body on hot days or when you're just out of the shower. Result: clammy skin. Manufacturers have therefore devised ways to improve the absorbency of cotton: add synthetic fibre (such as polyester or nylon), then weave it in a waffle or towelling structure to help trap air and moisture. Which brings us to...

Terry towelling is a frankly ingenious way of turning flat, non-absorbent fibre into a fluffy, cost-effective, highly absorbent and fast-drying fabric. The manufacturer takes natural or synthetic fibre or a mix of both, and weaves it into thousands of little loops. The result is a lightweight textured fabric that's perfect for bathrobes and towels.

Waffle weave is currently supremely popular among fans and manufacturers of dressing gowns, for good reason. Like towelling, waffle is a cost-effective weave that creates texture without weight, and can be woven from all manner of fibres to boost absorbency and drying powers. The number one dressing gown in our list is a 100% cotton waffle bathrobe.

Flannel is double-brushed cotton or viscose (aka rayon, a semi-synthetic fibre derived from cellulose). The classic high-end material for tartan nightgowns and pyjamas, flannel is supremely warm and luxurious and holds its shape well for years on end. But it's pricey and heavy, so it's not ideal for a quick poolside throw-on.

Jersey is effectively T-shirt material, usually made from absorbent synthetic fibres or a cotton-polyester mix. A softer, thicker version of the jersey is ideal for loungewear and pops up in everything from sweat pants to thermal long johns. It's affordable, comfy and machine-washable, but it doesn't hold its shape so it's not particularly durable.

Satin is a way of weaving natural or synthetic fibres to create a glossy, smooth surface. Pricey satin (made from silk, for example) tends to be dry-clean-only, while the cheap stuff (usually polyester) isn't very durable, so proceed with caution.

Fleece is woven for warmth without weight, usually from polyester. It's affordable, soft and incredibly warm, but the cheap stuff bobbles after a few washes. It dries quickly but doesn't absorb moisture like terry or waffle.

Velour aka plush is like fleece's posh cousin. It, too, is woven for warmth and comfort, usually from polyester - but is even warmer and cosier than fleece, with a softer velvety feel. It washes and dries well. Perfect for winter dressing gowns that you wear over your PJs.

READ NEXT: Best pyjamas for men and women

The best dressing gowns to buy

1. The White Company Unisex Cotton Waffle Double Faced Robe: The best dressing gown for men and women

Price: £65 | Buy now from The White Company

White waffle cotton bathrobes are everywhere. We considered several for our line-up, including lovely robes from Selfridges and John Lewis, but this number from The White Company came out on top. Not only does it beat other waffle robes hands down (deep down in its all-important pockets), but we reckon it's currently the best unisex dressing-gown of them all.

Its stylish waffle pattern makes the most of its soft, sturdy, high-quality cotton, to produce a highly absorbent and fast-drying robe that's ideal for the bathroom. It's not only light enough for summer, but far less flimsy than other waffle robes we tried, so it'll keep you warm as well as dry. And it has the feel of a garment that will last for years, with superb stitching right down to the hook loop.

The shawl collar, patch pockets, long belt tie and tailored shoulders give it a classy look, and it's a nice length, too, so it won't drag on the floor or risk your modesty. It comes in a range of sizes that put other retailers to shame, going from Extra Small all the way up to Extra Large.

Key specs – Material: 100% cotton; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 5 (XS-XL)

Buy now from The White Company


2. Boss Cotton Dressing Gown with Contrast Piping: The best dressing gown for men

Price: £99 | Buy now from Hugo Boss

This soft Hugo Boss dressing gown manages to turn the ultimate in informal loungey-sporty fabrics – jersey – into a luxurious garment that you'd be very proud (nay, smug) to throw on at the gym or hang from your bedroom door.

The calf-length kimono wrap has a couple of slash pockets (you can't see them in the photo, but believe me, it wouldn't have ranked this high without them) and proper cuffs finished with white piping to create a modern, sophisticated look. The gown also comes in three colours with piping, but we think the dark blue version just edges it on style.

Jersey doesn't dry off quite as efficiently as towelling or waffle in our experience, but this robe is still fairly quick-drying and certainly won't leave you feeling clammy.

Key specs – Material: 100% cotton; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 2; Sizes available: 3 (S-XL)

Buy now from Hugo Boss


3. Vero Moda satin night robe in blush floral: Best satin dressing gown

Price: £27.20 | Buy now from ASOS

It won't keep you warm or dry you off after a shower, but sometimes you just want a gown to make you look and feel a million dollars. This gorgeous satin robe fulfils that brief with ease.

We love the peach floral print, which also adorns matching cami and pyjama sets from ASOS. The gown's billowy feminine silhouette creates flattering gathers when you tie the long ribbon belt, but it's well-cut and substantial enough to feel tailored and protective, and the hems are finished to a higher standard than we found in several similarly-priced high-street kimonos. The polyester satin material will endure many machine washes, although we advise keeping it cool (30˚C will do).

Key specs – Material: 100% polyester; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 6 (UK 4-18)

Buy now from ASOS


4. Cyberjammies Rachel Floral Print Long Dressing Gown: Best bold print cotton dressing gown

Price: £45 | Buy now from John Lewis

This cool, lightweight, cotton-modal number is super-soft but won't roast you on a warm day, even when you're wearing PJs underneath. The robe is beautifully tailored, as you'd hope from nightwear specialists Cyberjammies. It's wide enough to wrap around you comfortably and tie with the long belt; the cuffs and lapels are secure and flattering; and the pockets are deep. The large, bold print is confident and chic, and the fabric is voluminous - perhaps a little too voluminous if you're on the small side. But this is a well-cut, well-made garment that will stand many machine washes and can also be tumble-dried.

Key specs – Material: 60% cotton, 40% modal; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 6 (UK 8-18)

Buy now from John Lewis


5. John Lewis Pure Cotton Waffle Robe: The best towelling bathrobe for men

Price: £65 | Buy now from John Lewis

Say no to boring neutrals and wrap yourself in with this classic navy blue pure cotton waffle robe from John Lewis. The colour and texture are just glorious. The thick terry cotton is perfect for drying off after a bath, but we'd recommend running your robe through the machine before wearing it, or you may get dark-coloured bits all over you.

Finished with a piped trim, this stylish robe is made up of quick-drying materials, making it an ideal thing to wear soon after your shower or bath. There's nothing not to like with its wide shawl collar, deep patch front pockets and adjustable belt for a comfortable yet snug fit.

Key specs – Material: 100% cotton; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 1; Sizes available: 4 (S-XL)

Buy now from John Lewis


6. Berry Satin Piped Rose: The best value for money dressing gown

Price: £11 | Buy now from PrettyLittleThing

If you're on a budget and are looking for a dressing gown that will do its basic job of covering you and keeping you comfortable as well, then this Berry Satin Piped Robe from online retailer PrettyLittleThing will tick all your boxes and more. Don't expect it to keep your dry or warm, but this is a great way to stay snug and cosy all night, especially on warm summer nights.

It's a perfect and affordable upgrade to your nightwear collection with its long sleeves, tie waist and easy wraparound belt. The 5'7 model in the photo is wearing a size S, so it's a good idea to check the online size guide before purchasing. Luckily, the website also has a generous returns policy in case you need to get another size.

Key Specs - Material: 100% Polyester; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 2; Sizes available: 3 (S, M, L)

Buy now from PrettyLittleThing


7. Somax Men's Cotton Dressing Gown: The best silk dressing gown for men

Price: £47 | Buy now from Amazon

This fabulous shirt-style gown is a steal for its price. It's light enough to throw on over your clothes, and in summer it could be your clothes. As well as the snazzy striped number in the pic, it comes in blue polka dot, wine diamond pattern, navy dolphin print, turquoise blue paisley pattern and about a dozen more. One of the very few negative reviews on Amazon says simply: "The colours are too bright". Sounds good to us!

The cotton finish is gorgeously smooth, the details are top-notch (pocket included), but the shoulders are rather wide – probably too wide for women to wear comfortably. Frustratingly, Somax doesn't do a women's range.

Key specs – Material: 100% cotton; Machine washable: Yes; Colours available: 10; Sizes available: 4 (M-XXL)

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