A smoking jacket is an item of clothing, now relatively rare, specifically designed for the purposes of smoking tobacco, usually in the form of pipes and cigars. While naturally styles vary, the classic smoking jacket is a waist-length jacket usually made of velvet or perhaps silk, with a shawl collar and turn-up cuffs and toggle fastenings. Usually they come in rich colors such as burgundy and bottle green.
The smoking jacket became a popular accessory in Victorian times, when it was believed that the "sensitive and delicate" nostrils of ladies would be assailed by the pungent fumes of tobacco clinging to everyday clothing. Consequently it became de rigueur for every considerate gentleman to don his smoking jacket before lighting his cigar or pipe, usually after dinner. Smoking caps were also sometimes worn for the same reason. In addition to protecting the wearer from the aroma of tobacco, the removal of the smoker's suit coat and the covering of the shirt, tie and vest with the smoking jacket would protect all these garments from ash and embers.
The comparative rarity of serious and dedicated pipe and cigar smoking as well as the vagaries of fashion mean that in today's world the smoking jacket is a rare item; the relatively high cost of quality items also prevents its widespread use. Other than visiting vintage clothing stores, a quality smoking jacket (which can, and frequently does, last a lifetime) would now have to be specially tailored or found on online high end stores.
In Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Swedish and Latin American Spanish, the term smoking has been adopted as a loanword, but in reference to what in English is known as a dinner jacket or a tuxedo in North America. As such, it is a false friend.