A Guide to the Smoking Jacket

Once upon a time, smoking jackets were worn every night after a dinner while enjoying a puff on a quality stogie. While such jackets are rarely used nowadays, we take a look at the history behind these iconic garments, and why they were so popular in the past.


What is a smoking jacket?

For those unaware of what a smoking jacket even is, this garment is designed to be worn over your clothes whilst you smoke a tobacco-based item, such as a cigar or pipe. Typically, the jacket falls to the mid-thigh in length, and features a shawl collar and upturned cuffs, and is fastened using either a button or a tie belt. Soft and luxurious fabrics are used to make the jacket, such as velvet, silk and cashmere.


Why were smoking jackets worn?

With Turkish tobacco gaining popularity in England during the 1800s, smoking, and the culture surrounding it took off. Smoking rooms and dens opened up for gentlemen, and with it came the tradition of wearing a smoking jacket to protect the clothes from the ash falling from the cigars or pipes. As well as protecting the clothes from damage or stains from the ash, the jacket also lessens the smell of smoke lingering on your clothing.


When can smoking jackets be worn?

While technically you could wear a smoking jacket all times of the day and night if you so wished, it should only be worn when enjoying a cigar! The luxurious fabrics and tuxedo-style lapels make it far too fancy for daily wear, yet the resemblance to a robe or dressing gown (particularly with ones featuring belted closure), make it a little too casual and comfortable for a formal event. However, jackets which fasten with a button or clip can be worn in place of a dinner jacket in some settings.


Who has worn a smoking jacket?

Smoking jackets became a staple wardrobe item for the classiest of gentlemen after Edward VII commissioned a special blue silk smoking jacket for himself in 1865. This jacket, which he wore to almost every public event thereafter, caused the garment’s popularity to skyrocket. Popularity remained throughout the 20th century, with iconic figures such as Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Hugh Hefner and Fred Astaire (who is said to have been buried in his smoking jacket) sporting the apparel. While smoking jackets may be seen merely as more of a novelty item than the epitome of male style and class these days, here’s to hoping they one day make a comeback!


Would you love to wear a stunning smoking jacket while you enjoy a quality Montecristo cigar and a dram with your smoking buddies? Let us know your thoughts on these jackets, and whether you’d love for them to make a comeback!


Image credit: dukedigham | Instagram

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