When it comes to smoking jackets, the first thing that springs to mind is probably a photo of Hugh Hefner in that iconic number, namely a silky red smoking jacket.
In reality, this category of garment has changed over the passage of time to span many different styles and details, not least of all the classic tuxedo dinner jacket that we see so often today.
As the name suggests, the original use of a smokers jacket was as something to wear over your other clothes when – you guessed it – smoking. This was essential to protect your clothes from the smell of smoking tobacco while relaxing at home in order to keep your other jackets in the best possible condition. This was a similar logic to wearing a dressing gown over your pyjamas these days in the evening at home.
As time went on, the smoking jacket evolved from a robe de chambre (bedroom gown) into the shorter, dinner jacket style that we see today. This happened due to the rise in popularity of men relaxing together in social settings, and smoker jackets were no longer reserved for the eyes of a gentleman’s family. This transition meant that men no longer needed to change after dinner, and could do away with more traditional tailcoat jackets when attending functions such as black tie events.
The Playboy association during the 1950s led to the smoking jacket becoming synonymous with comfort, elegance and seduction, all of which were desirable to thousands of men across America and the world. With musicians like Frank Sinatra regularly donning smoking jackets and bow ties to perform in, the smoking jacket became increasingly related to the glamour of Hollywood. In the world today, the popularity of the smoker jacket has lessened as men feel more comfortable dressing in shirts and jeans on most occasions and smoking cigars is far less popular, but there is always space in a man’s closet for a robe de chambre to bring out for those special moments.
Key features often include a shawl collar (sometimes in contrast colour and most notable on a quilted smoking jacket), turned up cuffs, a longer length and a tie around the waist (sometimes with tassels), but these are not always present in modern iterations. The change to wearing a smoking jacket outside the home led to an increase in button fastened styles. Colours are often dark and cold, with Navy, Burgundy, Black and Green being most common. Velvet and Silk were the original choices of the upper class due to trading routes from Asia, but cost and availability has led to a rise in Rayon, Wool and Polyester Satin being common fabrics used today.
In the search for a smoking jacket in the modern era, it really depends what kind of style you like. From velvet smoking jackets to sleek tuxedos, it’s important to know what options are available to you. If you’re delving into the international market, it’s good to know that in many countries (particularly in Europe) the smoking jacket is completely the same as a tuxedo, rather than the longline quilted style. Don’t be deterred by the fact that this is a garment with close ties to smoking and debauchery, for it is still an impeccable style of jacket that can easily fit into a modern setting.
ASOS DESIGN Slim Smoking Jacket In Green Jacquard With Belt
This shimmering smoking jacket from ASOS comes in a deep green polyester satin with jacquard design for an affordable and eye-catching version of the silk smoking jacket look. With an extended cut, single button and belt fastening below a soft shawl collar, this choice of long smoking jacket is one for those who want to push the boat out a bit more when it comes to dressing with a bit of style.
Karl Lagerfeld Slim Smoking Blazer
Some men prefer a more classic black tie smoking jacket style, and there aren’t many better options than this slim blazer from Karl Lagerfeld. Coming in a black virgin wool blend and made with a soft viscose lining, the narrow lapels of this smoke jacket is the perfect accompaniment for your classic white shirt and is sure to ooze class in a formal setting such as a dinner party, but not so suitable for wearing at home.
ASOS WHITE Co-ord Boxy Blazer In Brown With Strap Detail
The strap detailing on this boxy option from ASOS really stands out from the crowd, and we love it. In a soft woven fabric, this brown blazer gives a mid-century aesthetic that is perfect for a vintage smoking jacket appearance if velvet or silk aren’t really your thing. The classic cut will also certainly give the impression that you know a thing or two about dressing well.
Saint Laurent Double-Breasted Wool Smoking Jacket
If you’re got a bigger budget and are able to really invest in a smoking jacket for life, then this sleek dinner style from Saint Laurent is a great option to consider. Made in an Italian virgin wool, it comes double-breasted with more defined shoulders and a slightly slim cut. With satin lapels and a vent in the back, it is more closely related to a traditional suit jacket than a dressing gown so fits in more suitably with the contemporary man’s wardrobe.
ASOS DESIGN Extreme Oversized Duster In Black Teddy Borg
Next up on our list is this shaggy duster jacket from ASOS. More akin to a bathrobe than a dinner jacket, this offering is minimal in nature for the man who enjoys simplicity. The appeal of this smoking jacket lies in its teddy fabric that is perfect for keeping warm in the colder months, worn over your current outfit when out and about. When it comes to cosy smoking jackets, this takes the biscuit.
Our Legacy 70s Cub Blazer
This offering from Our Legacy provides a fantastic modern twist on the smoking jacket classic. The lightweight voile fabric ensures this jacket lends itself well to warm summer nights, with a roomy fit to wear over the rest of your outfit for the evening. While less eccentric than some of our other smoking jackets, we think it deserves a spot for those in search of a safer style.
ASOS DESIGN Skinny Velvet Double Breasted Tuxedo Blazer In Navy
If you’re after a navy smoking jacket then this velvet double breasted blazer could be for you. The small amount of stretch within the fabric is a fine example of the fact that you don’t have to be uncomfortable when it comes to dressing smart and it’s made from recycled polyester too, so there’s the added bonus of being slightly kinder to the planet.
ASOS DESIGN Skinny Belted Blazer In Khaki
If you’re looking for a clean and simple smoking jacket with the belt as the focus, look no further. Ventless in the back with a single breasted button opening in addition to the belt, the slightly stretchy woven fabric of this jacket will provide comfort alongside class. Perfect for relaxing at home due to its low maintenance construction and flexible cut, this is a great affordable option for all.
The Ultimate Smoking Jacket Edit:
- ASOS DESIGN Slim Smoking Jacket In Green Jacquard With Belt
- Karl Lagerfeld Slim Smoking Blazer
- ASOS WHITE Co-ord Boxy Blazer In Brown With Strap Detail
- Saint Laurent Double-Breasted Wool Smoking Jacket
- ASOS DESIGN Extreme Oversized Duster In Black Teddy Borg
- Our Legacy 70s Cub Blazer
- ASOS DESIGN Skinny Velvet Double Breasted Tuxedo Blazer In Navy
- ASOS DESIGN Skinny Belted Blazer in Khaki
Feature image: Oliver Brown