The Smoking Jacket
Most vices extend beyond the physical act required to perform them. The enjoyment of an indulgent bourbon, scotch, or rum, for example, is about more than just the handcrafted spirit; it’s about the glass into which that spirit is poured and the quality of the ice that is added to keep it properly chilled. The same can be said for the enjoyment of fine tobaccos. An artisan pipe is augmented by an elegant tobacco blend, while the enjoyment of a fine tobacco upgrades the use of an already alluring pipe. Of course, when it comes to smoking, there’s a fashion element that can come into play. And while they’re far from common, bespoke smoking jackets still exist and can inject a dose of luxury into an otherwise lazy day of lounging . . . even when smoking isn’t involved.
“To some extent, I think it’s a misnomer,” says Jake Mueser, a cofounder of the custom-tailoring firm Doyle Mueser, about the term smoking jacket. “In this day and age, it’s tougher and tougher to smoke cigars indoors . . . for most married men, at least. And not everybody smokes, so this is more about lounging. People might wear this to have a good scotch or bourbon and to relax in at home.”
Mueser’s “this” is his own take on the smoking jacket, which he says is finished in Italy and costs anywhere from $800 to $1,200. Plenty of options are available, though Mueser’s preferred version is double breasted, boasts roped, smooth satin lapels, and is finished in either a dark burgundy or a midnight blue. “It has an elegant and iconic smoking-jacket look to it,” he says. “People want to wear it in a library of leather-bound books, [while reclining] on a Chesterfield couch. It has an old-world feel to it.”
That being said, Mueser acknowledges that he’s tailored some smoking jackets in bolder colors and with more outré details, such as skull-and-crossbones-printed silk lining. “When you buy bespoke clothing, you do it partially because you want to present yourself in a certain way,” he says, “but there are some details and aspects of the fit that are there just for you. It’s taking pride in these things and enjoying the process of it. It’s something that you do more for yourself than anyone else.”