When I finally moved out of my parent’s house and into my first apartment, it took multiple trips back and forth to finally get settled. But it wasn’t because I had too many things or got too sentimental to leave, rather, it everything to do with not having a fancy robe. I’ll explain.
“Firsts” have always held a special importance to me, particularly through the lens of fashion. The first outfit I vividly remember wearing was a pink tie-dyed skirt, knee-high white boots, and a shirt with two bedazzled “drama” pins on the sleeves. It was the first day of middle school. I can’t recall much else from that time, but I know exactly what I wore for every first after that—the blue tank top I wore for my first kiss, the boots I wore for my college graduation, the leopard pants I wore on the first day of my first real job. Some people have scent memories, I have my wardrobe.
Moving out of my family home was another big milestone. I had finally accomplished my goal of owning a tiny part of the city I grew up in after dreaming about it and saving for it for years. I wanted the next chapter of my life to begin with something dramatic. I wanted to walk into my new apartment for the first time wearing something I would be able to wear years later and be reminded of the first Big Adult Thing I did. The reality, of course, was much less glamorous. On that first trip, I opened the door wearing pajamas; the next time, sweats; the following, I can’t even recall. Nothing I owned felt right.
My parents were starting to get annoyed. On the day of the real, final move-in, they sat me down. “This time, it’s for real,” they told me. If I wanted to be wearing something else, why hadn’t I changed out of my sweats? I didn’t want to admit that I kept putting off the real, final move-in because I hadn’t put on the right outfit, the one I had always envisioned myself wearing. I wanted—nay, I needed a fancy robe.
In my mind, nothing says “I’m a real-ass adult” like a fancy robe. It’s something you only wear for yourself—you can’t really take it out of the house, given that the luxurious fabric clings to your body and is held together by nothing but a single knot. The very fact that it isn’t a necessity is what makes it so desirable, in my eyes. It’s comfortable and it looks nice, but no one’s seeing you in it. You wrap yourself in one when you need “me time,” to unwind from being a Real Person out in the Real World. But because I didn’t have one, this big milestone didn’t feel real.
I spent the first week in my new apartment feeling like an imposter. I wore T-shirts and boxer shorts, I slept on a mattress on the floor, and I pulled together outfits from a mountain of clothes piled up behind my bedroom door. When I couldn’t find a solution to this funk, I went out and bought a silk robe. I was still sleeping without a proper bed frame, still picking out whatever clothing I could make out from the pile—but putting on the robe made me feel like this work-in-progress was still a move forward, a step towards growing on my own. It’ll take time, but I’ll get there. The robe reminded me that I had done it: I had a space that was my own, where I could do things I wanted, where I could wear something just for myself.
It’s been a while since that moment, but that feeling still persists every time I cloak myself in a new robe—whether it’s smooth silk, plush cotton, or a whisper of lace the result is always the same. Do yourself a favor and add one to your at-home wardrobe. I promise you won’t regret it.