Imperial Lounging-Cap, 1864 / NYPL Digital Collection, Call Number: PC COSTU-Lou
You don't feel quite so much like a couch potato if you are wearing one of these!
Lounging or smoking caps were popular informal wear for gentleman from the late 1840s through the 1880s. They were frequently hand-made of wool, silk, or velvet, and often topped by a tassel (read the description after the jump).
"The imperial lounging-cap possesses a very Oriental appearance when seen complete. Its composed of six portions of velvet in two alternate colors, a rich violet and dark crimson. The scroll, which appears black in the illustrations, is formed of narrow black ribbon velvet, with a gold thread at each edge. The design may be braided in narrow gold braid, or two silk braids of different colors. A violet braid on the crimson velvet, and a crimson braid on the violet velvet, has very rich effect. A long silk tassel made of the two colors, interspersed with gold, is fastened at the top, and hangs down the side of the cap. This would make a very pretty Christmas, New-Year's, or birthday gift for a gentleman."
-- Text from the image
"Well--well--well!" cried old Mr. King, lifting his head in its velvet lounging cap from the sofa where he had been napping. "Are you really here, Joe!"
-- From Five Little Peppers all Grown Up by Margaret Sidney