Victorian Smoking Cap

by Joanne Haug



smoking cap

Many of the lady’s fashion publications of the nineteenth century devoted pages to fancy designs for at home fashions for the refined Victorian gentleman – house robes, slippers, and especially smoking caps. A smoking cap or lounging cap was popular as informal gentleman’s wear from the late 1840s through the 1880s. They were originally worn to keep the head warm in drafty rooms but continued to be in style long after improvements in heating eliminated their necessity. The smoking cap was the perfect gift for a young lady to embroider for her fiancé or for a wife to create for her husband.


smoking cap


smoking cap


This head gear for at home was brightly colored, ornate, and often bordering on gaudy. They were frequently made at home and were uncomplicated in construction, typically fashioned of wool, silk or velvet and topped with a multicolored tassel.  Notably, the Victorian smoking cap showcased a multiplicity of Victorian needlework skills and techniques.

smoking cap

From Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine




Victorian smoking capChamber Garments for the Victorian Gentleman
The street garments of the well-to-do leisure class Victorian gentleman are costly enough, but there are numerous special garments—chamber garments, so to speak—in which these gentlemen are exceeding curious and lavish.

Victorian Berlin Wool Work Men's Shoes 
This colorful pair of Berlin wool work men's shoes, or slippers, are from the mid-19th century.

Pattern for Smoking Cap  
Provided are directions and needlework pattern for making a Victorian hand embroidered cap.