Smoking Jacket vs Dinner Jacket

A Stylish Blend of History, Cultural Significance, and Modern Interpretations

History and Cultural Significance of Smoking Jackets

  • Smoking jackets have a rich history dating back to the early 19th century in Britain.
  • They emerged as a response to the growing popularity of cigar smoking among gentlemen.
  • These jackets served a practical purpose by protecting clothing from the smell and stains associated with smoking.
  • Over time, smoking jackets evolved into symbols of sophistication, elegance, and social status.
  • Wearing a smoking jacket was seen as a sign of membership in exclusive clubs, lounges, or private residences where cigar smoking was prevalent.
  • The jackets often featured personalized details like monograms or family crests, emphasizing the wearer's social standing.
  • Smoking jackets have also left their mark in literature, film, and art, perpetuating their image as timeless symbols of refinement and indulgence.

Smoking Jacket Styles Back in the Day:

Early smoking jackets boasted distinguished features that added to their allure:

    • Shawl Collars: These elegant collars exuded sophistication and indicated the wearer's social status.
    • Quilted Patterns and Intricate Embroidery: These details enhanced the visual appeal of smoking jackets, making them true works of art.
    • Tie Belts: The tie belt fastening provided a relaxed yet refined look, allowing for easy adjustment.
    • Contrasting Lapels: The use of contrasting fabrics or colours on the lapels added a touch of visual interest to the jackets.

Smoking Jacket vs a Dinner Jacket. What is the Difference?

Smoking jackets have seen a resurgence in modern times, blending traditional elements taking on a modern day form and style. The modern form of a smoking jacket is referred to as dinner jacket. They have the following synergies and differences:

  • Materials: Luxurious fabrics like silk, brocade, cashmere, and wool are commonly used in crafting present day dinner jackets, each lending its unique touch. Very much the same materials were used for old school dinner jackets.
  • Fastening: Modern dinner jackets come in various styles to cater to individual preferences, such as single-breasted or double-breasted designs - fastened with buttons. Old school smoking jackets had a belt and were wrapped around the mid section.
  • Lapels: Modern dinner jackets have options like shawl collars, peak lapels, or notched lapels offer versatility. Old school dinner jackets tended to have a shawl lapel.
  • Modern Cuts. Modern dinner jackets are cut to the same length as a business suit jacket would, rather than being knee length or ankle length like smoking jackets in the past.
  • Prints: just as old school smoking jackets modern dinner jackets can have bold prints, or unexpected fabric combinations, making them perfect for special occasions, black tie events in particular.
  • Accessories: Old school smoking jackets had accessories such as smoking caps or hats, smoking slippers, and stylish pipes or cigar cases further enhance the ensemble and add a touch of personality. Present day dinner jackets are worn with a white dinner shirt, white pocket square, bow ties. A waistcoat is often worn underneath.

Practicality and Social Significance

Smoking jackets have transitioned from functional garments that protected your clothes from the smoke to ornamental pieces that are called dinner jackets today.

Today's dinner jackets possess social significance. Wearing a dinner jacket today evokes a sense of refined elegance and distinguishes the wearer in various settings, including:

  • Private Gatherings: Display your style and enjoy the comfort of a dinner jacket among friends or in the comfort of your own home.
  • Cocktail Parties: Make a statement at sophisticated events, where a dinner jacket adds an air of timeless sophistication.
  • Black-Tie Events: Stand out from the crowd by opting for a dinner jacket as an alternative to the traditional tuxedo.
  • Exclusive Lounges: When visiting members' clubs or exclusive establishments, wearing a dinner jacket pays homage to the heritage and status associated with these places.
Justin Timberlake shows us in the Super Bowl promotion how to wear a smoking jacket.

Bespoke Jackets

At Artefact London we create dozens of bespoke dinner jackets every year and here are some of the popular modern-day designs.

Smoking jackets have a captivating history, starting as practical garments and evolving into symbols of elegance and social status. With a blend of traditional features and modern interpretations, smoking jackets continue to captivate fashion enthusiasts in their modern form as dinner jackets. Their practicality, refined style, and cultural significance make them a timeless addition to any wardrobe, allowing individuals to embody sophistication and stand out in various settings. Whether relishing in the nostalgia of bygone eras or embracing contemporary twists, a smoking/dinner jacket adds a touch of luxury and charm to any occasion. So, why not invest in one and elevate your style?

Get in touch to create a bespoke dinner jacket with personality.


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