As a chronic fence-sitter, Donald Trump’s presidency has up until now been met with my most forceful shrug. Yet things have now changed. The White House has provoked me into full-throated anger and, indeed, upset at the new man in Washington DC by announcing that the President has eschewed the ‘bathrobe’.
Old images of Mr Trump in a robe have flooded Twitter since Melissa McC…, sorry, Sean Spicer insisted his boss currently doesn’t own one. As we all know, Spicer is a man obsessed with facts, so I’ll take him at his word. I’m not a snob and I am not going to begrudge a man for not owning something, but my job as editor of The Rake magazine requires promoting goods such as the ‘bathrobe’ – or dressing gown to give it its proper name – so if the leader of the free world demonstrates all the sartorial nuance of a coach driver, then it is incumbent on me to set him straight.
The dressing gown is about colour, comfort, design and dash. Mr Trump claims to be an Anglophile but rejects the great British institutions that defined the styles of dressing gown enthusiasts like Noel Coward, James Bond (post-coital) and Cary Grant. Wearing a dressing gown is meant to signify home and all the comforts therein.
To be at that point in the day where you can wear a dressing gown is to intonate that your day is done, and what’s left of it does not involve email notifications, team-building exercises or any other workplace peccadillo. They are worn in the privacy of ones home, a strictly self-contained expression of ones self and one that isn’t screaming at the world to pay attention to the wearer. Rejecting the dressing gown is an indication of pure self-aggrandisement and attention seeking that is beneath high office.
So I implore Mr Trump, when he makes his visit to Britain, to take the opportunity to address his dressing gown deficit and buy himself one of from one of London’s esteemed outfitters. To keep it simple for him and for security purposes it just so happens that the best places to go are 20 metres from each other on Jermyn Street. And, if the Speaker’s ban is to hold, the president will certainly have an hour or two to spare for a spot of shopping.
Turnbull and Asser is the most modern old-fashioned brand. Proud bearer of Prince Charles’ royal warrant, designer Dean Gomilsek-Cole has produced a roster of everything from paisley, jacquard, navy cashmere, silk, cotton, it’s all there and has a wide enough collection that surely something catches Potus’s fancy.
Then there is the absolutely wonderful Emma Willis. Emma MBE is a fabulous shirtmaker but stands out for her cashmerello (cotton cashmere) dressing downs that are as comfortable as they sound. She also uses proceeds from her clothes for a pretty amazing charity that makes bespoke shirts for wounded soldiers. Finally there is New & Lingwood, which inject an acid trip of colour into their gowns. Night turns to day when wearing their silk floral jacquard, peacock, or ecclesiastical gowns.
Find your inner dandy Mr President, take the energy required to pull off such a garment without the need to show the world, and you’ll find me returned to my usual shrug-heavy stance that Gowngate has dragged me away from.
Tom Chamberlin is editor of The Rake magazine