Is it too early for a White Dinner Jacket?

Discussion in 'Suits' started by GWD, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,642
    Location:
    Evergreen, Co
    I'm going to attend a Black tie event this Saturday evening and would like to wear my off-white dinner jacket in lieu of my black tuxedo jacket. Is it too early in the year? I live in Southern California so it's getting warm now.

    Also, I know black patent leather shoes are the norm, what are your feelings on black and white spectators with the white dinner jacket?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  2. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,158
    Location:
    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    If you're in Southern California, I'm pretty sure the white DJ is totally cool. But ixnay on the ectator-spays. Patent leather. And I would expect everybody will tell you to get a cummerbund. If you want to add a touch of spiffiness, a maroon or burgundy one would be nice. And a red carnation. Definitely a red carnation. The lid will make you the coolest cat at the prom, for sure.
    There also might be a discussion about the break on your trousers. They could be an inch or so shorter. The preponderance of opinion says that for formal wear, there should be no break in trousers. But I'd also say it's not a deal breaker by any means.
    Very very nice jacket!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  3. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    20,442
    Location:
    London, UK
    Nice jacket, good length on the sleeves. Is it vintage? I have a very similar one, though as it is of a more modern manufacture, I ended up having to have the sleeves shortened, as they were grazing my knuckles (a common problem with contemporary menswear, in my experience). Back in the day, in my understanding, the white DJ was considered to be for the tropics only, but gradually became acceptable to wear in the warmer months in more temperate climates. I avoid it in Winter as it looks a bit, well.... light entertainment, if you follow me. Wear one of these at New Year in the Northern Hemisphere, and next thing you know it'll be a baby blue jacket and trousers with matching frilly shirt..... urf. Anythehoo, as I was saying, it's really a matter of weather rather than specific time of the year, imo, so I would suggest that if it is getting hot, it's acceptable to break out the white. The trousers, I would agree, could do with being taken up an inch or what ever to deal with that break, though as the gentleman above notes it is unlikely that outside or rarefied circles anyone would notice that.

    The shoes, now.... ah, the shoes. I would never wear co-respondents with black tie nowadays. Full disclosure: seach hard enough on my early posts, and you'll discover I did do just that once upon a time - in fact, I originally bought my first pair specifically for black tie wear. It's up to you, really. Again, outside of FL type circles, chances are many will not even notice your shoes, much less care that they are "wrong". (BTW, are that particular pair in the photo actually yours? They are gorgeous. Colour me green with envy!)

    As to accoutrements, I believe a dark pocket square is considered to be "correct" with a white dj; I prefer a plain burgundy silk number myself, especially if not wearing a flower. A waistcoat is inappropriate with a white jacket (unless specifically going for a screen accurate Indiana Jones or Ralph Hapschatt costume) - remember, the whole point of it was to make allowance for the heat, so adding a waistcoat layer would be counter-intuitive. A cummerbund is the better option (unless wearing a db jacket, or if you never open your sb jacket all evening, I suppose you could get away without). Black silk is a classic choice, though again with a white jacket I prefer a burgundy option - a very Thirties look, I believe. I love the boater: I've never previously had the nerve to sport one, but this Summer I intend to give it a go, and certainly will with the white DJ. A Milano Homberg would be a nice option also. Alternatively, a well-shaped Panama with a black ribbon would also do in a pinch - a less formal hat, yes, but as the white jacket is a less formal option to begin with, I don't see that as inherently 'wrong'.
     
  4. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,107
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    The guys have covered the question well enough so I am just repeating their good info. Wear the jacket - yes, wear two-tone shoes - no. I agree with the comments about the burgundy "extras".
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  5. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    Yes, it is.
     
  6. JimWagner

    JimWagner Practically Family

    Messages:
    946
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    :eek:fftopic:Warning.

    I just bought a new tuxedo a month back as I'd lost enough weight that my other one was hanging off me. In the process I had to have the jacket's sleeves shortened and had a major disagreement with my tailor over how long those sleeves should be. He held that the sleeves should, in fact, reach halfway down my thumb and I wanted them shortened such that about 1/4 inch of my shirt sleeve showed while standing relaxed with arms at my sides.

    Regardless of what is "correct" that is what I was paying to have done.

    When I picked up the tux he had shortened the sleeves, but they were still too long and he insisted that he did what was "correct" as if that trumped what I was paying him to do.

    Now I'm going to have to find another tailor who will do what I'm paying for to redo the jacket sleeves. :(
     
  7. David Conwill

    David Conwill Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,810
    Location:
    Bennington, VT 05201
    One more vote for it being okay this time of year in SoCal. Not in Michigan, however. Here the May 15 to September 15 guideline works quite well.

    I too would avoid the spectators with the white dinner jacket and boater. I try to keep my eccentricities to a maximum of two per outfit.

    -Dave
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  8. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,107
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    A very good distinction to make.


    The bum owes you half your money back for doing half the job!
     
  9. David Conwill

    David Conwill Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,810
    Location:
    Bennington, VT 05201
    Agreed! He wouldn't be "my tailor" after that.

    -Dave
     
  10. GWD

    GWD One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,642
    Location:
    Evergreen, Co
    Thanks guys, I didn't think the spectators were going to be a good idea, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    The Jacket is a Vintage Lord & Taylor, probably mid to late 50's.

    I'll see if I can find the burgundy tie and cummerbund.
     
  11. AntonAAK

    AntonAAK Practically Family

    Messages:
    628
    Location:
    London, UK
    shakeshead
     
  12. JimWagner

    JimWagner Practically Family

    Messages:
    946
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Apologies for the near hijacking.

    I agree with what people said regarding the shoes and cummerbund. If you really do want a vest and temperature is a consideration then I might suggest a backless vest without lapels.
     
  13. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,686
    Location:
    Seattle
    Had to laugh at that one! In my case, I already have one eccentricity in the wearer, so that leaves only one left for the apparel.
     
  14. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,158
    Location:
    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    Burgundy cummerbund, yes, burgundy tie, no. With black tie, always wear a black tie.
    BTW, is that little cutie in the picture an offspring? Lucky man!
    Oh, another subtlety. There have been posted hereabouts some vintage images from Esquire magazine from the 30's. They show the full array of acceptable evening attire all in one place, ranging from white tie, to the standard white DJ, to the short military mess jacket, to navy blazer and white trousers. And the picture shows one of the chaps in a white DJ sporting some pretty jazzy socks. Basically black, but with little maroon zig zags, or something. If you want to be real sporty, you might try that.
    Maybe a bartender could dig that pic up and post it. It's a great reference.
    And let me reiterate my red carnation suggestion.
     
  15. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,107
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    Naysayers beware! I dig this look (from Black Tie Guide)-
    [​IMG]
     
  16. AntonAAK

    AntonAAK Practically Family

    Messages:
    628
    Location:
    London, UK
    Elegant evening wear, certainly. But not Black Tie.

    :)
     
  17. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,107
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    How formal/informal a black tie event is this?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  18. To be honest, I'm in Florida, and it's never too early to be wearing white. That's just one of those rules I disregard due to weather.
     
  19. dhermann1

    dhermann1 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,158
    Location:
    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    Feraud, you little devil.
    Re: "How formal". It's Southern California, there will probably be people with fancy dress sweats. (Please excuse snide pot shot from died in the wool New Yorker ;) )
    I'll bet any amount of money GWD will be the sharpest looking gent at the affair.
     
  20. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,107
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    At your service...
    [​IMG]

    I agree with your comment and this is why I think GWD can stray from strict black tie and incorporate some color into his outfit. Unless the event is calling for Black Tie Only..[huh]
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.