While not quite the “smoking” garment of lore, this was a 1950’s dad’s answer to the “dressing gown”, made to wear before putting on any clothing which could be worn outside the house. Whether after the morning shower while preparing for his day or in the evening after work hours an elegant robe of this type could be worn, possibly while relaxing with coffee and the newspaper or a highball and, of course, his pipe.
The wide, decorative collar and cuffs were de rigueur for these garments, as well as a matching tie belt. Sometimes, the pockets were also accented with trim. Rayon and satin were common fabrics for the older versions while quality cotton, as above, became popular after WWII when wash-and-wear was the favorite for fabric care.
We’ll hang with the men for a day or two more. Though it might be odd to think of a pipe as a wardrobe accessory, it would seem to be just that when you think of so many vintage advertising photographs, not for tobacco products but showing a mid-century guy with a pipe. A pipe used to say volumes about a man – his tastes and habits and even his sense of style. What a rich clue – especially in today’s era of DNA evidence.
On top of that, this specimen still has its packaging from that iconic Chicago department store, Marshall Field & Company. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at what the suspect might have been wearing while enjoying a smoke at the end of his day. Stay tuned