Smoking, If You’ve Got Them

New Year’s Eve may be the last bastion of “formality” left. A dinner jacket, or “tuxedo”, is almost ubiquitous on the last night of the year. But if you’re entertaining at home, you have another option: the smoking jacket. Traditional options on the smoking jacket include quilted lapels and turnback cuffs on the sleeves, “frogged” closures or a self-belt meant to be tied to close the front of the jacket. This last innovation allows you to wear the smoking jacket for more than formal entertaining as it makes a wonderful shorter robe to throw over your pajamas. Bottle green, burgundy, navy blue or black velvet are all acceptable and very luxurious choices. Consider having a matching bowtie made, too. The quilted lapels are most often seen in black velvet, but matching the color of the body of the jacket is also very smart looking.

Wearing your smoking jacket as part of your formal wear requires that you wear a softer shirt with a turndown collar and your tuxedo trousers, or a pair of odd formal trousers made up as part of a whole smoking suit, particularly useful if you enjoy a good Maduro now and again. (The smoke won’t linger in your other clothing, which is exactly why the smoking suit was invented.)

Ian Fleming and his best creation, James Bond favored heavy silk shirts with their dinner jackets. In that vein, Leviner-Wood recommends a soft, heavy shirt to accessorize your smoking jacket, perhaps a tone-on-tone pattern cotton like herringbone or diamond weave. Choose white or off-white and style it with a French placket, mother-of-pearl buttons or the traditional button holes for three studs. Whether or not you choose to use a fused collar is all a matter of comfort and personal preference.

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