A good dressing gown or onesie can swiftly become the most worn and most useful item in a child’s wardrobe, called upon after bath time, on lazy days around the house and for camping trips and sleepovers.

We’ve featured onesies as well as gowns in our roundup as a onesie can be more practical for the littlest children, who often just won’t keep dressing gowns on.

What you really need out of such an item depends slightly on the age of your child, but we have looked for items that are hard-wearing and washable (please always check the label).

Because we know all too well about the arguments that persuading a child to wrap up warm can generate, we’ve also hunted for choices, at a range of price points, that little people will actually want to wear.

We’d advise erring on the side of generous when you’re choosing a size – nobody ever minded their dressing gown or onesie being slightly too big – it fits better over PJs that way and you’ll get use out of it for longer. 

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

JoJo Maman Bebe fox dressing gown: £18, JoJo Maman Bebe

Call us boring parents– our children do – but our absolute favourite feature of this dressing gown is not the cheeky fox face or the bright orange colour but the little popper at the top which prevents that bear-chested gape that you often see on kids’ dressing gowns. The cotton towelling-style fabric is pleasingly absorbent too. Less practically, the fox face is pretty cute. Surprisingly good value from high end JoJo Maman Bebe. Available up to size 4-5 years.

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Sparks & Daughters angel onesie: £29.95, Sparks & Daughter

This gift-worthy hooded onesie, made by a mother and daughter company based in Somerset, arrives packaged in a ribbon-tied box and wrapped in tissue. It has thoughtful details such tapered ankles to avoid the legs riding up, and a kangaroo pouch pocket for stuffing little hands into, as well as a stylish angel wings design on the back and the recipient’s name on the front. The sizing is generous and the interior of the fabric soft and fleecy; this is the sort of thing that rainy weekends were made for, and we only wish they made them in adult sizes.

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Frugi panda snuggle suit: £34, Frugi

This is the sort of toddler clothing that makes us ponder the merits of having another baby. It is completely adorable with its bamboo-munching panda design, and environmentally friendly thanks to its heavy-duty organic cotton fabric and cut for cloth nappies fit. Most importantly, it is thick and warm enough to keep a little one warm after bath time or while playing at home. It could easily be used in place of PJs, and we love clever details like the popper-fastening zip guard below the chin, which prevents the wearer’s skin from getting snagged. Available only up to 24 months, sadly.

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Joules Mark character dressing gown: From £29.95, Joules

Is it a dragon, a crocodile or a dinosaur’s toothy face on the hood of this high quality robe? The somewhat cryptic name on Joules’ website doesn’t give a lot away, and the real thing could conceivably be any one of the three. No matter; our tester decided that she was a “dino-croco-don” and was very pleased at the notion. The gown is extremely soft, dries quickly and cleverly has its belt sewn firmly on at the back to avoid it getting lost. The comedy tail stuck onto the gown’s rear end is, by contrast, detachable. Available in sizes up to large, which should cater for children of up to about 12.

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Next unicorn dressing gown: From £15, Next

Ah, the inevitable unicorn. For some reason kids can’t get enough of these mythical beasts and therefore, inevitably, there are myriad unicorn-based dressing gowns on the market. This is the nicest one we have seen, with super soft white fabric and rolled cuffs as well as a sparkly horn and ears on a wide, draping hood that our tester loved wearing. Available in sizes from nine months to 16 years.

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M&S fleece cat ears dressing gown: From £15, M&S

This mint green, ribbed gown has a fleecy interior that is almost obscenely cosy. It also has cat ears (animal-based cuteness seems to be almost obligatory on kids’ dressing gowns at the moment) on a generously draping hood. Available in sizes up to 16 and perfect for snuggling up on the sofa, if a little too chunky to make it easily packable for nights away.

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Polarn O Pyret merino wool onesie: £40, Polarn O Pyret

Perhaps Swedish children are all giants, but the sizing on this high class onesie is certainly generous. So is the fabric quality: in a market replete with polyester versions, this understated little number is 100 per cent merino wool, making it soft and warm despite the relatively thin fabric (which is washable at 30C). It’s designed to be wearable under outer layers for outdoor as well as indoor use, but would also work well in bed on cold nights or while lazing around at home. Available in understated purple, grey or black and in sizes up to ages six (though the biggest versions would probably fit many slightly older children), this is a classy option for deep-pocketed families who eschew all talk of novelty ears and sparkles.

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George Marvel Avengers dressing gown: From £11, George

This is a great value dressing gown with a frenetic Avengers design that will appeal to young superhero fans. Not the most absorbent, but certainly snuggly, with a hood, pocket and a belt that it attached at the back. A no nonsense crowd-pleaser. Available to fit children up to the age of 12.

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Harry Potter quidditch dressing gown: £20, Character

Harry Potter has a remarkable ability to attract new young fans as quickly as his older ones grow up, and this polyester dressing gown is liable to be a smash hit with anyone who has a penchant for the boy wizard. With a pointed, cape-like hood, gryffindor logo on the breast and “H. Potter” on the back, wearers can pretend they’re an off-duty quidditch player while reading Harry Potter books or watching the films. Available in sizes up to 12/13 years.

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Boden cosy fleece all-in-one: From £30, Boden

Sadly, this brightly striped polyester onesie is one of relatively few on the kids’ market that could genuinely be called unisex, and even then it appears under boys section on the Boden website. More pleasingly, it has elasticated wrist and ankle cuffs, to stop it riding up while the wearer is trying to chill out or get warm after a bath, and features an enjoyably jaunty monster’s face and teeth on the hood. Available up to size 15-16 years, and also in a khaki/ animal print mash up fabric that we don’t like as much.

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The verdict: Kids’ dressing gowns and onesies

For age five and under, the JoJo Maman Bebe is our best buy because of its cuteness, absorbency and good value. For older children and for special gifts, we love the Sparks & Daughters onesie.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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