Smoking Cap

smoking cap victorian gentleman

Soft cap for protecting hair from cigarette smoke

Smoking Caps were Victorian headwear worn by men while smoking to stop their hair picking up the smell of tobacco. Smoking Caps are soft caps, shaped like a squat cylinder or sometimes similar to a close fitting knit cap, and usually heavily embroidered with a tassel on top.

Originally worn for warmth, but changed to their new use after improvements in Victorian heating. They were popular in the period 1840-1880, and usually used by gentlemen in the privacy of their homes.

Smoking Caps and smoking wear came about with the social more of not smoking in front of women, and not smelling of smoke when returning to their presence.

Smoking Caps were often handmade gifts by young ladies to embroider for her fiancé or for a wife to make for her husband. They would be worn with a smoking jacket, both items could also be worn by non smokers for lounging, hence the alternative name of Lounging Cap.

Decoration was often very ornate and colourful with Oriental influenced designs, especially designs from the Near and Middle East – a common Victorian influence in many other areas.

Smoking Caps are now becoming more popular with hipsters and as a fashion accessory after being featured on period dramas such as Downton Abbey.

Other names for Smoking Cap

  • Lounging Cap

Famous wearers of the Smoking Cap

  • Victorians