It has become common custom among religious Jewish women to wear special Shabbos robes. They, of course, have long sleeves and high necks, and reach the ground. They're also embroided and trimmed with gold and sparklies and are quite festive and feminine. The idea is that the exhausted woman, after taking care of her house and family and preparing for the Sabbath, can just zip the robe on and be comfortably dressed, and in something more washable than her good suits. She just needs to pop on the matching snood or a wig, and she's even set for guests.
These robes are expensive, though. and much too elaborate for my tastes. Also, I was brought up in a way that says you don't entertain company in your bathrobe, no matter how lovely it is. You certainly don't sit on your front porch and watch the kids play in one, nor do you let your daughter run around in the streets in one. Yet, they do.
But there is something attractive about the idea of tossing on a single, modest garment between the hasty pre-Shabbat shower and lighting candles. And, sure. I don't often have guests, nor does Jonathan often bring someone home unexpectedly. But, still, l'kvod Shabbat - for the honor of Shabbat - it's nice to have something special.
So. I bought a dress. It's empire waist, which is *not* my best style, but the waist hits me low enough that I don't look pregnant. It's also a dark sage green velour. Sage green is one of my colors; velour is. Velour. And, betwee the shower and the candle lighting, I can just pop it over my head, and poof. Modestly clad, warm, comfortable. And it's extremely simple - no buttons, or embroidery or gilding or sparlies. Just a plain bodice and skirt. And it's very snuggly and pleasant to touch.
Technically, it's a *dress*. It's sold as a dress, and I could, if I wished, wear it to work. It's priced much lower than the robes, too. And if we did have Friday night guests, I'd feel like I was properly clothed, not in my bathrobe.
But I use it in the same way and I think of it in the same way. I mean, I have yet to wear anything under it. It's made Friday nights very pleasant. And I seriously can't see wearing it outside. Therefore, so far as I'm concerned, it's a robe.