Ah, the smoking jacket post created a flurry of emails. Men and women alike responded “Women wear glamorous pajama-style outfits for at-home entertaining, why not men?” How delightful to see so many so interested in acquiring smoking jackets!
However, many of you had questions or made comments which show that I needed to provide more practical information…
Without embarrassing anyone, I must remind you all that a smoking jacket is not to be confused with a ‘short robe’. While some styles, especially those of silk &/or satin, may look similar there are a few important differences. The main thing to consider is the construction. A satin or silk smoking jacket will be fully lined (not just have the lining at the neck or simply have a different pattern on the collar & cuffs) and have far superior construction — this provides weight, drape and shape that a shortie robe will not have.
Smoking jackets are jackets and do not, especially when worn, look limp and sloppy.
Look at the Paul Stuart velvet smoking jacket or the “DeLuxe” silk smoking jacket by Hillesø & Company Designs, and see what I mean? The lines are crisp; it’s sophisticated but not as restricting as a more formal suit or tuxedo jacket.
Now, let’s say you found a stunning smoking jacket; what are you to wear with it?
The most obvious way to wear it is as though it were a dinner jacket — with evening or dress slacks, a dress shirt, and a bow tie or ascot. Shoe options are plain leather or patent-leather black oxfords or slip-on dress shoes.
For entertaining of a more casual or intimate nature, say guests gathering at your home, or that special lady is due to arrive… One can make the smoking jacket a bit less formal simply by wearing less formal accessories. Skip the bow tie and pair with flannel trousers (grey is a wonderful color that goes with most anything and is less formal than black or navy). A dress shirt with or without a scarf is fine. Traditional house-slippers in velvet or tweed, or any fine leather thin-soled slipper completes the look.
For those men who are confident, secure and love the smoking jacket, but are not overly fond of dress shirts and more formal attire, you can wear the smoking jacket with jeans and tees — impeccably clean, crisp jeans and tees. The house-slipper will be enough to complete the look of elegance. This is a great look for lounging about. Far more impressive than sweats or Scooby Doo boxer shorts. Be warned: We women will expect you to continue this! But the payoff is HUGE. *wink*
For a high-fashion look with a low-key attitude — a look that screams of the charm and seduction of Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Sinatra and yes, Hefner, do try a smoking jacket.