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About the Curators Cabinet - The Museum is giving its members a peek into the collection of artifacts that have been donated to us over the years. Each month, Museum Curator Eileen McCormack will select one or more items of interest to be viewed on our website.


1930's Lounging Robe

Curator’s Monthly Pick:

· Woman’s Lounging Outfit circa 1930

· Man’s Smoking Jacket circa 1950

Provenance

Lounging outfit donated in 2000 by Eileen & John McCormack of Wanamassa

Smoking Jacket donated in 2002 by Eileen & John McCormack of Wanamassa 

Background

Loungewear is defined as loose-fitting, casual clothing suitable for relaxing at home. Styles have radically changed from ultra-chic to ultra-comfort in what American men and women are choosing to “hang out” in.

Description

The fuchsia lounging outfit was handmade for Valia Cornell in the 1930s.  The pajamas and robe are made from satin backed moiré with self-cover buttons.  The fuchsia robe is made of the moiré side of the fabric and the pajamas with the satin side of the fabric.

The Smoking Jacket is a red, black, green, and yellow plaid corduroy garment lined with black satin and a black satin shawl collar, cuffs, and pocket trim.  It was owned by John McCormack, Sr.

1950's Men's Smoking Jacket
Men’s Loungewear

The smoking jacket was an informal style of men's loungewear popularized in the 1850s. It was intended to be worn when smoking pipes or cigars at home.  A classic-styled smoking jacket sported a shawl collar, turned-up cuffs, toggle or button fastenings, or it simply closed with a tie belt. It was usually made from velvet, silk, cashmere, or flannel and lined with bright colors, and often featured large buttons. Would we find this item of apparel hanging in today’s man’s closet next to his jeans and tee shirts?
1930's Lounging Robe
Women’s Loungewear

The 1930s saw the emergence of bold, and often androgynous, women’s fashions. Loose-fitting pajamas with matching robes became popular with women of means, to be worn in the comfort of their homes.  The garments were distinctive and often constructed of brightly-colored silk or rayon patterned material, trimmed with ribbons, beads, or lace. The relatively new concept of wearing expensive and elaborate lounging outfits was publicized by movies of the era. These ensembles were considered appropriate for specific times of the day, including informal dinner parties. Now let’s fast forward to the styles of 2021. Oversized sweatshirts and cotton pajama bottoms have become the “loungewear” of choice for many of today’s women who are working or relaxing at home.