Nowadays, chances are the only time you’ll see someone wearing a smoking jacket is on Halloween when guys dress up in cheap Hugh Hefner knockoffs. Other than that, the once popular garment has seemingly met its fate. There was a time, however, when gentlemen donned one for good reason. Here is a look back at the iconic smoking jacket.

Image: Cigar Emperor Ltd


1600s Earliest Inspiration

The earliest inspiration for the classic smoking jacket popped up at this time. As fine silks began coming into Europe from India, China, and the Americas, it became increasingly popular for the wealthy to want to be depicted in paintings wearing a silk robe de chambre or banyan. These fine and leisurely garments would be the inspiration for the smoking jacket a few centuries later.


1850 Defining The Smoking Jacket

Gentleman’s Magazine of London put out the earliest description of what a classic smoking jacket would look like, saying it was “a kind of short robe de chambre, of velvet, cashmere, plush, merino or printed flannel, lined with bright colours, ornamented with brandenbourgs, olives or large buttons.”


1853 The Spread of Turkish Tobacco

The Crimean War popularised Turkish tobacco in England during the 1850s. Men began to retreat after a meal to enjoy a pipe or cigar with some brandy. The smoking jacket had evolved from the longer robes of the 1600s into a mid-thigh length jacket that served two purposes: to keep ash off the clothes, and so the man wearing one wouldn’t smell like smoke when returning to the women. Men would remove their formal tailcoat before going into the smoking room, put on their smoking jacket, and change once more before heading back to the table.


1860 The Smoking Cap

It was common for men at this time to not only wear a smoking jacket, but also a smoking cap. The cap protected the man from even more of the odor. An embroidered smoking cap was a common gift from a fiance.


1865 No Longer Just For Smoking

The man who really made the smoking jacket popular for more than just an after dinner cigarette was Edward VII (Prince of Wales at the time). He commissioned Henry Poole & Co. (Savile Row) to craft him a blue silk one that he would often wear to meals. This ushered in a new wave of acceptance for the piece of loungewear as a sort of comfortable yet formal article of clothing.



Late 1800s The Dining Jacket

While the ornate design and luxurious velvet would remain in the construction of some smoking jackets, others started to become something much plainer. This plain version would slowly morph into a simple, loose-fitting dining jacket.


1926 The Derek Rose Smoking Jacket

The Derek Rose smoking jacket (no relation to the NBA star) combined the classic design with an even more relaxed feel. Their version did away with the frogging and the flair. The tartan pieces resemble a modern pajama top for guys.


1940s The Rat Pack

The smoking jacket received another bump in popularity thanks to the likes of Cary Grant, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra. The Rat Pack and others ushered in a new wave of popularity that would last for a couple of decades.


1960s Hugh Hefner

While the smoking jacket was no longer a staple of the average man’s wardrobe, there was still one bastion of hope: Hugh Hefner. After starting Playboy Magazine in the 1950s, Hefner adopted his trademark silk smoking jacket look. He owns over 200 different smoking jackets/pajama tops that are custom-made for him.


1987 Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire is buried in his favorite smoking jacket.


1999 The Return of the Smoking Jacket

Cigar Aficionado published a piece on the return of the smoking jacket. While it never returned in full force, designers like Tom Ford and brands like Louis Vuitton would reintroduce it as a piece of high fashion.

Proof Rover

Yes, you read that correctly, and no, we don’t invoke the Land Rover without absolute certainty our claims will be delivered on. Whether you opt for the straight or slim option, each pair of pants in the Proof Rover Collection calls upon the name of a certain all-terrain vehicle for a reason–they’re durable, comfortable and capable of handling any obstacle in their way–all while looking damn good in the process. They feel like sweats, they age like raw denim and they’re as durable as the most classic work pants. When you want to check all the boxes–with all of the color options–you need to buy Proof Rover Pants today.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information