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The Modern Man’s Guide to Wearing a Smoking Jacket

The Modern Man’s Guide to Wearing a Smoking Jacket


I randomly came across the smoking jacket and was intrigued by the definition and decided to do a bit of light reading on the subject matter, hence this piece.

The smoking jacket is a gentleman’s jacket typically made of velvet, formerly worn while smoking after dinner. The jacket’s classic design is a mid thigh-length jacket made from velvet, silk, or both. It’s typically designed with a shawl collar and turn-up cuffs and toggle or button fastenings, or may simply be closed with a tie belt. It may or may not have a quilted satin shawl collar.

The Classic Look

Hugh Hefner in a smoking jacket
Hugh Hefner in a classic smoking jacket

The smoking jacket evolved from a silk house robe into a shorter, mid-thigh length jacket designed to absorb smoke and to protect the gentleman’s clothing from falling ash. What was once reserved exclusively for home has evolved to become a style staple of black tie and evening wear.

The Modern Look

smoking jacket steve-harvey
Steve Harvey in a modern smoking jacket


Most smoking jackets have three pockets on the outside and usually a pocket reserved for cigars and perhaps another pocket on the inside chest. It is almost always vent-less in the back and the sides and features very little rigidity compared to a dinner jacket. The smoking jacket is cut roomier than a dinner jacket or blazer, similar to a dressing gown.

The smoking jacket is now the perfect alternative for when a tuxedo is too formal, a suit so commonplace, a sweater a bit too casual and a blazer too cliché.


Tom Ford in a velvet smoking jacket
Tom Ford in a velvet smoking jacket
smoking jacket
Design by Tom Ford

As a final word, it’s important to note that if worn for the original purpose of smoking, velvet is the best material for protecting your clothing from the smell of smoke.

Photo credit: Google images

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