Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Comeback of Smoking Jackets and Ascots

Being a minimalist I very rarely spoil myself.  This is not only because of limited funds, but because I have achieved an economic "nirvana" of sorts where I no longer desire fancy items.  I no longer "envy" people's fancy cars, and I have the vision and economic understanding that me sleeping in till 11AM is the better deal than the "successful" executive slaving away 60 hours a week and suffering a commute.

However, as an incentive to work on AND FINISH various projects and goals I set for myself, I do reward myself with the rare and occasional luxury.  This time, it was to get a high end smoking jacket and ascot upon finishing Bachelor Pad Economics:

While normally used as a stereo-type in media or a parody of Hugh Hefner, I have to admit the smoking jacket and ascot is absolutely, 100% worth the money.  Not just because of the fashion or "shock value" should you wear it in public, but it is incredibly comfortable and cozy.  You can wear it out, but you can also wear it indoors.  But understand it also makes three (potentially four) very clear statements:

1.  I am successful.  Maybe not financially successful, but happy as to where I am in life.
2.  I am a bachelor.  There is no wife telling me I can or cannot wear this thing.  I am in command and do what I want.
3.  I am classy. 

and should you choose to wear it out:

4.  I am ballsy enough to wear this in public.

Because of this I believe a smoking jacket with matching ascot IS A MUST FOR ALL MEN. Bachelor or not.  You not only deserve the fine silk threads and the class it conveys upon you, but you cannot leave this planet without at least experiencing your very own smoking jacket and ascot.

But before you decide on a get up, you need to know your options.

First, there are "two types" of smoking jacket.  The one above is technically not a smoking jacket.  It is a bathrobe that Hugh Hefner has popularized and made acceptable to be worn in public.  The other type is a felt or velvet smoking jacket that is designed for actual smoking:

Second, you need to choose an ascot that matches the jacket.  This is no different than choosing a tie and they are tied in a similar fashion to a regular tie.

Third, you need some kind of tobacco.  I prefer cigars, but you may also want to go uber classy and get a pipe. If you don't smoke, a martini glass or a snifter of scotch will suffice.

Finally, a hat.  I wanted desperately to get a fez, but fez's are VERY hard to come by.  I went to the most exclusive men's clothing store in the midwest to get my jacket (Heimie's Haberdashery) and they informed me that while they used to sell them, the last distributor in the US closed down.  You now need to go to London to get an authentic fez.

All in all you can expect to drop $1,000-$1,200 on a decent get up.

While the price is steep, I am convinced this is a mandatory purchase for most men.  Certainly, college students may not be able to afford such a purchase, but the sooner you get this into your inventory the better.


Anonymous said...

I have been wearing Ascots for years. They look great and have that Thurston Howell III look. Plus they are much easier to tie than a conventional tie and don't choke you. Glad to see someone else picking up the habit.

Jane the Grad Student said...

Lookin' good, Cap!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Cap, but my taste run in the direction of Gibson Reissue Les Paul's, Marshall tube amps and matching 4x12 A&B cabinets. Total cost=$7,000.00.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to search for "smoking hat", not "fez", which is related but different.

Anonymous said...

6. My clothes smell less like stale cigar smoke after I take off my smoking jacket.

Which is pretty much the whole point of smoking jackets.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Do "fancy items" now include razors for your face?

Please shave. Unless, like the Brooklyn hipsters, you intend to grow a full beard.

In which case go for it!

Viking style.

Faithless Cynic said...

A grand for a freaking hat? Get a Canadian Tilley Hat Captain. Elegant enough for formal wear and tough enough to survive anything. Cost about 85 bucks.

Anonymous said...

Quality over quantity. And the shunning of luxury in general except in special circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Don't Shriners wear fezes? Find out where they get theirs.

blow Hookah said...

I really think that vaporizers are the real substitute for leaving tobacco habit.

Anonymous said...

To pull off that look, you require a hot woman clinging to each of your arms; otherwise, you just look gay.

Matt said...

You look like you accidentally grabbed Martha Stewart's coat after having drinks at a house party. I do agree with much of your isolationist economic advice, though.

Cogitans Iuvenis said...

Ok, so now that you got a smoking jacket there is only one thing I can think of that would make the whole thing swankier. Have you ever considered getting a pipe?

mina smith said...

My favorite person on this planet (aside from my husband, of course) is my now 95yo Hungarian mentor. He is from the old world and for parties we throw in his honor at his home "there will be no plastic cutlery! when it is your birthday we can have plastic cutlery but for my birthday we will use nothing but the silver!" I visit him regularly, 3-4 times per year (he lives 400 miles away) and dinner is a big event with all of the good china, the doilies, the fancy table cloth, the silver and many home-made courses. He sits at the head of the table (in his fine dark red velvet smoking jacket of course and an ascot) and regales us all with stories from the old days and the horses he has known. It feels so good to be in his presence and all of the accoutrements are just part of the atmosphere. It's nice in our crass world to find some corners (and people) with class.

Anonymous said...

Very nice sir, i would like to see the shoes that you use with this piece

Anonymous said...

Next thing ya know, Cappy's going to start rockin' that New Dick Cavett look ...

Anonymous said...

Well done!
A man should do and have what he wants in life. Some spend all of their money on casual sports clothing, tattoos,and smart phone aps, while others wish to embrace more traditional attire and accessories. A man's experience on earth can be common or enhanced by his choices. I found this blog by accident looking at smoking jackets, as I wish to purchase a new jacket. Usually I would not comment.
This is not a personal attack on anyone, but I think people are way too influenced by what other people think of them.One person mentions that the attire would look gay without a woman on ones arm. Is it not a great shame of our time, that to pick traditional, vintage, and classic clothing is considered sodomite attire. What is more gay? That men tend to wear shorts to the knee (like a little boy), sandals, a tank top (as women tend to do), "Oh" and maybe a Chinese symbol tattoo "or" Nike swish (like millions of other people), but would look down on another mans sartorial expression. Better yet are the men whom wear pants sagging, which came out of prison culture, a symbol that one was open to a homosexual relationship. Then contrast it with a man whom wears whatever the hell he wants to wear. It is kind of gay to really spend a lot of time noticing or even giving a damn what other men wear.
I have personally worn cravats(ascots)and smoking jackets for thirty years, mostly at home, not for anyones entertainment, but my own enjoyment. My Ben Silver cravats are worn at times with a blue blazer, when I attend functions, whereby I can go less formal then wearing a tie. It is not a costume unless one purchases costume grade clothing or wears these items as a costume.
Locke Hatters of England makes Victorian-Edwardian smoking caps-hats, that are appropriate and traditional. One would usually wear monogramed velvet slippers at home, otherwise the shoes they were wearing when they went out to the men's dining club, restaurant, bar, or smoking lounge (now cigar bar or Hookah house) was what they would have on. A Fez would be more toward the costume end of things.
I wear what reflects my influences, environment, and my own sense of self and style. If I look foolish because of what I have chosen to put on, why would anyone care ?
If you are man, do and wear whatever the hell you wish. Want to look like everyone else, well that is your choice.