Originally Posted by enewmen
what did men wear at home?
Everything from 3-piece suits, to boxers and t-shirts.
You have to specify which men and which home. Because what a 19 year old gas station attendant wore in his rented room in rural Alabama, could differ from what a 53 year old bank president wore in his Main Line house in suburban Philadelphia.
From what I read, they dress up in the three piece suit and hat before going out.
The three piece suit was far more common then, than it is today. True. And wearing a hat was almost mandatory in most non-casual situations. Also in many casual situations. You can easily dig up photos of the crowd at, say, Yankee stadium, from a few generations ago, which show that the vast majority of men watching the ballgame were wearing suits. And hats. And I don't mean ball caps, either.
I think I have a picture of the crowd at a NY Rangers hockey game, from 1957. Nearly everyone in the crowd was male, and most were wearing suits and ties. Some were wearing hats, although most appear to have removed their hats. (Hat-wearing was already in decline by 1957, although it'd still be a few years before it would become practically archaic. I recommend Neil Steinberg's book, "Hatless Jack," if you want to read about this sort of thing.) Anyway, this was the crowd at a hockey game. A hockey game. That's a pretty casual setting. (Yeah, found it. I'll attach the picture to this post.)
keep the waistcoat on because there was no central heating back then.
Central heating was uncommon, although that doesn't mean that all homes, offices, stores, etc., were always cold. Various forms of heating were known. Nor did most places experience freezing weather 11 months a year.
Besides, if your premise is valid - men kept on their waistcoats against the cold, due to the lack of central heating - then shouldn't symmetry also dictate that men removed their waistcoats, due to the lack of central air conditioning?
Reading the paper or listening to the radio on the couch will wrinkle the suit.
If the man removed his coat, what's to get wrinkled from sitting? His pants? Not a big deal. Besides, suits tended to be made of heavier weight material back then, which means they didn't wrinkle quite as badly as, say, today's S150 suits.
Smoking jackets where popular after dinner in a smoking room so men can protect the clothes and leave the jackets in the room so they don't smell smoky coming out.
The typical man did not put on his smoking jacket and retire to his home's smoking room after dinner. Most men didn't own smoking jackets, and the vast and overwhelming majority of homes did not feature smoking rooms. (As I've sometimes heard it phrased, "Just because the Earl of Grantham did it, doesn't mean it's an accurate portrayal of how most people lived in early 20th century England.")
My only guess is men had a special suit & tie intended for activities at home
No, typically not.
Also, this applies today, while driving a car, keep the jacket on or hang it someplace to keep the jacket form getting wrinkled?
I usually lay my jacket across the back seat of the car, or drape it over the back of the front passenger seat, but not always. Particularly if it's a short drive, I may not bother. On the rare occasion when there's a passenger in the back seat, I won't bother. Heck, if there's anyone else with me, I probably won't remove my jacket. But yeah, if I'm going to be driving for any length of time, and I'm alone in the car, I'll typically remove my jacket.
If you're genuinely curious what men wore at home 60 or 70 years ago, it's pretty easy to find actual snapshots, taken of people back then. Not posed, formal portraits, but informal family photos.