With bed jackets now making a comeback, we thought we’d briefly discuss the storied history of this convenient and cozy garment.
A bed jacket, according to dictionary definitions, is a waist–length, women’s garment worn to cover the upper body while sitting up in bed. Its shorter length and loose shape allow it to easily be donned or taken off while in bed.
In the 1800s, the term “bed jacket” (also known as a Manteau de Lit or Short Gown) referred to a piece of clothing that was loose–fitting, waist or hip length and was worn by ordinary women as an everyday working garment. It was often fastened with pins, not buttons, which allowed for fit flexibility during different stages of a woman’s life, such as pregnancy.
Later on in the early 20th century, bed jackets began to be worn more in the bedroom, and were often designed to be seductively feminine with lacy or sheer fabrics. In movies, they were often worn by the era’s glamorous stars, lounging in their romantically elegant silk or satin bedrooms. One such star was the famous (or infamous if you are to believe “Mommie Dearest”) Joan Crawford. Her award–winning performance as “Mildred Pierce” in the movie of the same name, garnered her an Oscar in 1945. She had remained at home with the “flu,” rather than attend the ceremony and risk the prospect of having to publicly be passed over. She hedged her bets, however, with her makeup and stylist crew on call, and when she did in fact win, the press was there to record her acceptance from her bed, where of course, she was wearing a fetching silk and lace bed jacket!
Convenient, warm and cozy
Whether utilitarian or glamorous, a bed jacket is a convenient and comfortable way to stay warm while sitting up in bed. Today’s heating prices have more people keeping their bedrooms cooler, and rather than struggling with a bulky robe or sweats while in bed, a comfy bed jacket allows you to pull your blankets or comforter up, and still keep your top half warm while reading, watching TV or checking email on your iPad or laptop.
What's more, bed jackets aren’t just relegated to the bedroom. Although there are some great styles made from fabrics more suited to the bedroom such as our plush bed jackets or fleece bed jacket, there are also some designed to look more like loose, comfy cardigans, suitable for wearing in bed, around the house or even for running errands.