In fashion, trends that were big in earlier years almost always seem to reemerge years down the road, somehow newer and fresher with a modern twist. Occasionally, these trends are brought to the forefront of the fashion world and become modern-day classics. Here is what you need to know about a trend that is well on its way to becoming a mainstay in today’s world- smoking slippers.
What are smoking slippers? Smoking slippers are a type of footwear that first gained popularity in the 1800s as at-home entertaining slippers for the affluent. Although they are a distinct type of slipper, they bear a close resemblance to loafers thanks to the similar structure.
Smoking slippers saw a resurgence in popularity in the 90s as evening shoes that were prevalently worn by men. Later on, smoking slippers became even more popular with women as designers began incorporating different styles, colors, and prints. Smoking slippers are comfortable to wear, which not only makes them great to wear as home slippers but also for a day out in town. They can be dressed down or up, worn to official meetings or to a wedding, and can vastly improve your outfit. Smoking slippers are generally easy to slip on and off, with some of them having soft linings which allow you to put them on without socks, and others with flexible socks that make them easy to break in. They are often associated with rich materials such as soft velvet and even textured or dimpled leather in some cases.
Smoking slippers have been around for quite some time, with their popularity varying over the years. Currently, they are trendy, and you may have even come across a couple whether knowingly or unknowingly.
A brief history of smoking slippers
There is a bit of a debate concerning the origin of the term “smoking slipper”. Some believe that it is as a result of Yves St Laurent creating a women’s tuxedo referred to as “Le Smoking”, which in turn inspired androgynous loafers that were modeled after the classic menswear. Others believe that they were given this name due to being hard soled slippers that allowed wearers to step out for a smoke with ease.
Smoking slippers first gained traction in the 1800s where they were worn by the rich and affluent as at-home entertaining shoes. As the years went by, their popularity waned, only to see a resurgence in the 90s when Tom Ford, who was then the creative director of Gucci, popularized it as men’s evening shoes. Hugh Hefner, the famous lothario, also played a major role in making the smoking slippers more mainstream as he was often photographed wearing them on numerous occasions. However, as the new millennium kicked off, they were no longer sought after once again.
In recent years, smoking slippers have managed to make their grand return, this time with designs that also catered to women. Designers today have incorporated their own twists to this historic style of slipper, with playful prints, bright colors, a variety of textures, and beautiful embroidery to create unique new styles. For some, smoking slippers have become statement shoes which they can wear to exhibit their personal sense of style. For others, these unique slippers have become a brilliant mix of modern and classic styling, making them the go-to footwear for work as well as play.
Considerations before purchasing smoking slippers
Before heading out and buying yourself a pair of smoking slippers, there are several considerations to keep in mind so as to make the most suitable choice.
- Versatility – Smoking slippers are no longer limited to being worn to fancy dinners of the upper-class. They can be worn as casual or business attire, and they make great additions for when you want a pop of color to an otherwise dull outfit. This sophisticated yet relaxed style of footwear is accessible to virtually anyone, with or without cigars. Whether you are stepping out for a night out with friends or attending a work-related function, there is a design of the smoking slipper that will suit you.
- Use – Another important factor to consider when choosing smoking slippers is functionality. If you intend to buy a pair that can be worn both indoors as well as outdoors, go for smoking slippers that feature water resistant and wear resistant outsoles. A water-resistant outsole will allow you to step out on a muggy evening without having to worry about damaging your smoking slippers. A wear resistant outsole, on the other hand, will hold up well to consistent use, hence allowing you to take advantage of the slippers for an extended period of time.
- Style – Smoking slippers come in a variety of styles, and their diversity is perhaps one of the things that makes them so appealing. However, since there are so many options to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out which will suit you best. If you have an extravagant yet elegant taste, there are smoking slippers that are adorned with crystal detail to help you stand out from the crowd.
For a more toned down but still stylish look, there are smoking slippers that feature unique sequined detail- there are even varieties that have the sequins laid in a snake line pattern for a subtle but sophisticated look. If you are keen on the quality of style, a handmade pair may be just what you need. These varieties are typically crafted with care and keen attention to detail, and since they are not mass produced, you are almost always assured that they will be inventive and stylish.
- Materials – It is not enough to look at how glamorous the smoking slippers you intend to buy is. Smoking slippers that feature high-quality construction and well-selected materials are the ideal. From tough outsoles to striking uppers, you want a smoking slipper that will serve you well. For slippers that are to be worn both indoors and outdoors, a rubber sole is the most suitable since it will hold up better than other softer options. For the upper, one of the most common materials used for smoking shoes is soft velvet which is rich and luxurious. Other common materials and fabrics you might come across include brocade style textures and textured or dimpled leather.
- Fit – Finding the perfect pair of slippers that you not only love but also fit comfortably and snugly can be hard. While some factors such as brand name, year of make, and design will give you an idea as to whether the fit is appropriate, large, or small, consider going through the reviews posted by customers who have actually made a purchase to determine if your chosen slippers run big or small. Additionally, you can also take the time to go through the sizing guide so as to determine what will fit.
- Comfort – Comfort is paramount for any type of shoe, including smoking slippers. Almost all the styles of this slipper feature a heel. The height of the heel is an important consideration since it will determine how comfortable you will be once you have the slipper on. You will want a smoking slipper that features a slight heel so as to provide you with arch support. This way, there is a lower chance of experiencing foot and leg strain after wearing them for extended periods.
Another aspect of comfort to consider is the insole of the slipper. An insole that has adequate padding will make it feel like you are wearing a bedroom slipper. The lining of the shoe should also be breathable so as to prevent heat from building up and keep your feet cool. A leather lining will keep your feet dry and comfortable with or without socks.
- Ease of wearing – A good pair of slippers should be easy to wear and remove, especially if you plan to wear them indoors as well. If ease of wearing is a top priority for you, consider smoking slippers that have a collapsible back. Slippers with this feature allow you to slip them on and off without degrading the structure of the shoe.
- Ease of cleaning – With regular wear, your smoking slippers will inevitably become dirty. You want to go for a type that does not have complicated maintenance, allowing you to clean it with ease once they become dirty. Velvet is conveniently easy to clean. Here are a few tips on how to clean velvet smoking slippers:
- For mud stains and dirt, let the slippers dry out completely before attempting to clean it. Once they are completely dry, use an old toothbrush or a soft brush to scrub off the dirt.
- For other spills and marks, begin by blotting out the excess moisture. Use a soft cloth to apply a cleaning solution that is suitable for use on the velvet material.
- Cost and value – In most cases, the quality of construction, as well as the materials, will determine the price of the smoking slippers. Therefore, if you are looking for quality, you are most likely to pay a higher price.
Smoking slippers are a classic style of shoes that are unlikely to be forgotten any time soon. Even as the fashion world changes, this comfortable and carefree shoe design persists. If you are looking for a pair of slippers that you can lounge around the house in as well as wear to the office or a night out with friends, smoking slippers might be what you are looking for.