The History of The Smoking Jacket
An iconic symbol of men’s fashion from past eras, the smoking jacket represents a pinnacle of traditional dress combined with ultimate luxury. We dive into the history of the smoking jacket and its influence on modern designs.
The smoking jacket, also known as a dinner jacket or a lounge jacket, was originally designed to be worn while smoking tobacco. The history of the smoking jacket can trace back to the 19th century when smoking became a popular pastime among the aristocracy in Europe.
During this time, men would retire to a separate room after dinner to enjoy their cigars and brandy away from women. The smoking jacket was designed to be both a comfortable and stylish garment which men could wear during these informal gatherings.
An illustration of 1800s smoking jackets. Source: costumesociety.org.uk
The earliest smoking jackets were made from velvet or silk, and featured a shawl collar, cuffs, and a single button closure. They were often decorated with intricate embroideries and came in a variety of colours, including deep reds, greens, and blues.
As smoking became more widespread, so did the popularity of the smoking jacket. It was soon adopted by men of all classes and became a symbol of luxury and sophistication. It was also featured in many works of literature and art.
In the 20th century, smoking jackets continued to evolve. They became less formal and were often made from lighter fabrics such as cotton or wool. They also featured more modern designs, such as patterns and prints.
Man depicted in robe du chambre, early 20th century. Source: onthesunnyside.com
The history of the smoking jacket is closely tied to the history of smoking itself, it started as a practical garment for gentlemen to wear while enjoying their tobacco and evolved into a symbol of luxury and sophistication. Although its popularity has waned over time, the smoking jacket remains an iconic piece of men's fashion and a testament to the elegance of a bygone era.