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.
MID-19TH CENTURY SMOKING
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.
1857 SMOKING CAP
From Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine
Chamber 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.