There comes a time in a man’s life when he needs to wear more than a t-shirt and sweat pants to bed or upon returning from an evening out. Pyjamas fit the bill very nicely and I imagine that most of you have a pair of oxford cloth or the like. But that still leaves you padding about the penthouse in next to nothing. And it certainly does nothing if you are only partially dressed after your evening, having doffed your suit coat, shirt and tie and the door bell rings because she’s thought better about your invitation.
Enter the dressing gown. As Robert Sacheli writes on dandyism.net in his post on Noel Coward:
The dressing gown was the perfect camouflage. Luxurious, sensual, and slightly louche, it’s a garment made for activities no more strenuous than arching an eyebrow, no more serious than a seduction, no more practical than mixing a cocktail.
Mrs. E. and I have good friends with whom we have shared many an evening. When the city shuts down because of snow, we have been known to make the trudge to the other couple’s home carrying champagne, slippers and dressing gowns in a backpack. Likewise, our friends feel more than comfortable showing up the same way. Especially if it snows. Off come the wellies and quilted jackets, on go the dressing gowns and sippers. His, by the way, comes courtesy of Mrs. E. and me. Many a very good deal on 100% silk dressing gowns made from the 1930’s to the 1940’s can be found at the local vintage store… Here in Richmond, check out Halcyon
Don’t think you can pull it off? Make like Mr. Coward, throw a dressing gown over your formal shirt and tie when entertaining. Or like Hef, conduct business in a little more than your pyjamas and silk robe. Come to think of it, I may adopt the dressing gown as my blogging wear. I have a beauty that my Father had made in Korea or Hong Kong (pictured above.) It is black silk, shawl collared, lined in red silk and embroidered with copper characters; which I hope say something flattering.
9 thoughts on “At Your Leisure”
I agree- dressing gowns are easy and elegant! Yours, by the way, is very attractive!
PS- You should read “The Letters of Noel Coward”. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m sure you will too (that is unless you have already read it!).
Fabulous gift idea for someone’s up and coming birthday.
This is a “smokin” good idea. Quel difference between a dressing gown and a smoking one?
The dressing gown is longer, essentially a fancy bathrobe, and will cover your trousers. The smoking jacket is shorter, some say the dinner jacket derives from it. It was meant to absorb the smoke from the after dinner cigar, so as to leave the formal coat/DJ less offensive to the gentleman’s companion.
I’ll do a post this week and illustrate with my smoking jacket. Thanks for the question.
Found a posh velvet smoking in dark green with wonderful frog closures!
Look forward to your post!
Hello Elegant! I loved your comment on my blog today and your dressing gown is brilliant–you really must adopt it as your new blogging attire 🙂
I believe I shall. And thanks for the Robbie Burns post. The ploy-ethnic Mrs. E. has lots of Scots blood. My father-in-law has played the pipes since he was a child.
Me… I just have lots of scotch in my blood of an evening.
Glad you found the opening of my Coward piece to be of interest. Thanks for the link to Dandyism.net.
Yes, dressing gowns and smoking jackets can be delightful alternatives to more traditional formal or at-home wear. For a significant birthday, I had a midnight-blue smoking jacket made (apropriately frogged, of course), and I wear it as an alternative to a dinner jacket. I always feel I need a martini glass or Gertrude Lawrence as proper accessories.
Happy to have found your site. I’ll be back. And that’s a handsome dressing gown you inherited.
Thank you Mr. Sacheli,
I enjoyed the whole article. Nicely written. After years of writing copy, I’m afraid that my command of prose has atrophied. I’ll look forward to reading more of your pieces to remind me how it should be done.
Your smoking jacket sounds wonderful. I’m hoping to have mine tailored a bit more and to have the sash replaced by frogs. And thank you. The dressing gown is perfect. It actually makes me look taller and slimmer than I am. And certainly makes me feel far more elegant than I have a right to claim to be.