What is a Smoking Jacket?
While tobacco has been smoked for centuries, the art of smoking a cigar really took off in the 19th century. It was during this time that established gentleman would finish their dinner and adjourn to the smoking room.
As you can imagine, it was in these rooms that these wealthy aristocrats would enjoy a cigar while discussing current events, politics, art or a slew of other topics. It was in these rooms that the smoking jacket was born.
The smoking jacket was essentially a fancy version of a robe, although it was shorter than your typical bathrobe. Generally, the smoking jacket was made of high-end fabric, such as velvet or silk and was accompanied by a tie belt.
The Modern Smoking Jacket Takes Form
It was during the 18th and 19th century where the modern version of the smoking jacket began to take form. As trade between North America, Europe, and Asia began to increase, new fabrics such as silk were becoming more readily available. It became fashionable for men of prominence to be seen wearing these new fabrics, especially in the form of robes or jackets.
The purpose of a smoking jacket was twofold. Firstly, it was there to provide protection for your actual dress clothes from the smoke and the inevitable falling ash. Secondly, it was made to resemble one’s status, so the fancier the jacket the more important or wealthy the person was.
The Smoking Jacket Today
The smoking jacket remained a part of a gentleman’s wardrobe well into the 200th century. Celebrities such as Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and even Fred Astair were well known for wearing smoking jackets at parties or around the house.
While its popularity has waned in recent years, there were still some notable examples of famous cigar smokers wearing them such as the late Hugh Hefner.
Although the smoking jacket has become a lost art, it is definitely a trend that should be reborn, if only to bring a touch of class to the modern-day cigar aficionado.