Fashion has taken the housecoat and put it on the street. The slouchy utility coverall has been dusted off and sent outdoors for a good old-fashioned airing. And now it has seen the light, house rules no longer apply. Some are Japanese in style, others are bathrobe-inspired; some are long, silky and flowing, while others have taken on more structure. Internationally, Ralph Lauren, BCBG Max Azria, Jason Wu and Peter Som are among leading names that have sent the new-look housecoat down the runway. Locally, the coat is right at home for Miss Crabb, whose typical transcendence of time and place is seen in two roomy additions to her collection. Meanwhile, Kate Sylvester and Lonely have pushed the outerwear boundary with styles that embrace the robe. In terms of comfort factor, the slouchy nature of the coat will put you in a laissez-faire frame of mind. For first timers, there’s the risque feel of wearing traditionally indoor wear out – but surely that’s part of the fun of fashion.
One of the trends biggest followers is stylist-turned-designer Rachel Zoe. She confessed her love for the Missoni bathrobe on The Zoe Report, then stepped out in the brand’s Degrade coat. She owns the look with lashings of chunky gold jewellery. Like we say – anything goes, so throw the housecoat over shorts, leggings, pants, a dress or skirt. Wear it long and chic, cutesy short or somewhere in between. However, if you want to apply a few rules, drape a silky, mid-length coat over a form-fitting under layer for definition. The shorter judo-style wrap works well over a flowing skirt – a la BCBG Max Azria. The judo trend also extends to belts, which are tied to the side or at the centre with a generous loop. If you want to define and emphasise your waist, tie your belt at the back. While the matching PJs and robe look is advised only for the brave, pull it off if you dare with statement heels. And for winter, the housecoat will segue into a snug wrap-style coat.