My husband recently asked why I never wear the robe he bought me. It’s a lovely one, made of plush bamboo terry cloth, and it garnered so many online raves that he spent what we both consider to be a ridiculous sum for something you wear after a bath. But for two years it’s hung unused on our shower-room door, and I figured I just wasn’t a robe person. Turns out I am—but only if it’s made of fleece and doesn’t actually look like a robe.
What converted me? The Kari Traa Røthe hoodie ($100), an extra-long zip-up made of high-pile polyester. From above the waist, it looks like a typical casual midlayer. There’s a drawstring hood, a zippered chest pocket that’s big enough for my phone, and the stretchy, striped cuffs of a track jacket. It just so happens to extend down to my knees, like a snuggly lap blanket. That presentable aesthetic is key. I can wear the Røthe for various Zoom meetings and online work appearances, and no one on the other side of the screen has any idea that my jacket is actually the length of a bathrobe—and just as comfortable. It allows me to feel cozy without looking like a full-time loafer.
(Photo: Courtesy Kari Traa)
No surprise, I’ve been wearing the Kari Traa Røthe nonstop since November, when temperatures in my hometown of Steamboat, Colorado, dipped into the teens. Its extended coverage makes me feel like I’m still snuggled in blankets when I zip it up over my pajamas to go about my morning chores. Later, when I come home from skiing, I slip it over my base layers and settle down at the computer to resume my workday. That’s the Røthe’s genius: it behaves like a robe, but it doesn’t look like one.
On trips to backwoods cabins and huts, I’ve appreciated the modesty the Rothe’s unusually long cut provides. I’m not particularly comfortable wearing nothing more than base layers as I lounge with groups of people, so the Røthe delivers the coverage I crave. Meanwhile, I welcomed its warmth on trips to the outhouse and while shoveling snow off the deck.
To be clear, this is not a supremely technical piece of apparel. The old-school polyester fluff is warm but bulky, with no DWR finish to repel precipitation, and no moisture-wicking grid or lining to battle sweat. But it’s positively brilliant for mountain living. Just don’t call it a robe.