Ivory Dinner Jackets and When to Wear Them

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Zachary, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Zachary

    Zachary One of the Regulars

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    Good evening, Gents,

    I just found an offer for an Ivory dinner jacket for a reasonable price. As far as I know, it can (or must) be worn with black pants, white shirt, and black bow tie.

    However, I’m unsure about when to wear it. Both light and dark jackets are worn with a black bow tie, so I believe dress code “Black Tie” applies for both of them.

    I’m humbly asking for your appreciated hints on what are the exact circumstances in which to wear the light jacket instead of the black standard tuxedo.

    Have a good week,
    Zach
     
  2. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

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    Events in warm, tropical settings, I would assume. I probably wouldn't sport one anywhere else.
     
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  3. Canadian

    Canadian One of the Regulars

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    I have one SB in ivory and a nice DB peak lapel jacket which is I suppose a variant on the DJ. I wear both for a few situations:

    Christmas parties. Vacations to hot places, concerts where I am performing where a black jacket is not appropriate, Lodge meeting when the temperature is warm, parties which call for "creative black tie" and definitely in the summer months when you are asked to dress up.

    I had an ivory tailcoat, but I tossed it years ago, I had no place to wear it.

    However, I do think there are lots of places to wear a white DJ, but what is it replacing? Why not save a few hundred bucks and buy a really nice used black tie rig?

    C.
     
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  4. LuvMyMan

    LuvMyMan I’ll Lock Up.

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    I agree and also an ivory dinner jacket is very versatile as you can wear it as it is intended as a more warm weather attire, weddings and such and anything you want to be well dressed for. It also can be worn as a regular jacket with dark blue pants, pocket square and normal tie to hide the factor it is actually a dinner jacket of a more formal line. When I married my Husband, he wore his Ivory Jacket with black tie attire, and I wore a close matching ivory dress that was vintage, not necessarily a wedding gown, but worked just as well,full length in the back but was shorter in the front of the bottom hem.
     
  5. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    Out of interest, what sort of lapels does the jacket have? As others have said, traditionally an off-white dinner jacket is only appropriate for black tie events in hot (typically topical climates), but there's no reason you can't use it for other occasions. If it has peaked or notched lapels is would function fairly well for day wear, but if it has a shawl collar I would restrict it to evening use given how much shawl lapels are associated with black tie or smoking jackets.
     
    Edward likes this.
  6. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

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    Yeah, I considered the previously mentioned idea of wearing an ivory jacket for day wear. However, my mind went straight to Rick Blaine's shawl lapel jacket, which I would think twice about wearing casually, since, though people couldn't care less about fashion rules now, people would still recognize the Bogart resemblance and call foul on me wearing a dinner jacket to the store.
     
    Edward likes this.
  7. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    At one time the ivory jacket was considered 'reserved' for the Tropics only. Some of the purists also sneer at them owing to be associated with Roger Moore-era Bond. Personally, I enjoy them and am happy to wear during Summer even here in the UK. I'm particularly fond of a SB shawl collar version with burgundy pocket square and cummerbund (always black bow tie, though) and a straw boater with a black band. Great thirties-Summer black tie look.
     
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  8. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Quite so, but that means there are those who toss away their ivory tux. I picked up an absolute corker at Twinwood a few years ago, a real 40's looking gem for just twenty quid.
     
    Edward likes this.
  9. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

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    I remember Sean Connery had a nice white SB one is Goldfinger and it fitted quite well... My main trouble with the ivory/cream dinner jacket is really of more practical nature: it can get stained very easily at a buffet or party! Otherwise, I am quite fond of it, and had one DB once, that I sold because of a closet space problem, and too cold a climate for it...
     
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  10. F. J.

    F. J. One of the Regulars

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    The ‘white’ dinner jacket is a cooler alternative for wear in the tropics or in the summer in not-so-tropical places. (It should be noted that the normal, black dinner jacket is always appropriate no matter the climate, although it might not be as comfortable in the heat.) In the United States, white jackets are traditionally worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Another tradition that even James Bond seems to follow is that they are to never be worn in the British Isles (with the notable exception of the Last Night of the Proms).

    You are correct that this is simply a variation of black tie and white jackets are worn with the same accompaniments* as normal black tie, with the only difference being the jacket. As the point is to keep the wearer cooler, it is also recommended to wear a cummerbund or backless waistcoat instead of the normal evening waistcoat.


    *At one time it was popular to wear burgundy accessories, including tie, handkerchief, studs, links, and cummerbund, but if you’re not careful you might look as if you are in a jazz band. I would think a burgundy cummerbund and handkerchief would be perfectly acceptable, but I would keep the tie black.
     
  11. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

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    What about a black tie and a burgundy pocket square in the same ensemble? Or is it just standard convention that your tie matches your hankie?
     
  12. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    Black tie and burgundy pocket square would be absolutely fine (assuming you're fine with none-white pocket squares - depends how strict you are). The convention of ties and pocket squares matching is very much associated in the modern era with rented attire - just think of the black tie and morning dress outfits rented out with ties, squares and waistcoats all made of exactly the same material. As such, absolute matching has a habit of ending up looking very cheap and tacky, and something to be avoided.
     
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  13. Anthony_Eden

    Anthony_Eden New in Town

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    Hi, and in that case should always the tie and cummerbund match? For instance is black bow tie, off white linen hanky, and dark burgundy cummerbund possible for a normal black tie outfit ? (just out of curiosity because I like the burgundy colour)...
     
  14. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    The traditional rules dictate that the tie should ALWAYS be black. Matching that black tie with a burgundy cummerbund works fine. Essentially, as long as an accessory is surrounded by black (i.e. the pocket square, cummerbund or waistcoat), you can get away with varying the colour (and I think burgundy is certainly the best colour to go with, although I have owned a bottle green evening waistcoat in the past). The bow tie, surrounded by white shirt, stays black. The one traditional exception to the rule with the black is actually in the case of off-white jackets, in which case you can match a burgundy bow tie with a burgundy cummerbund.
     
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  15. Wolf99

    Wolf99 New in Town

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    In fact, it is generally considered better for it not to match (unless of course both bow tie and cummerbund are black.) Matching bow ties and cummberbunds is generally considered a trifle gauche, in the same way having a pocket square that matches your tie or shirt too closely does. As Zoukatron correctly says, the bow tie in black tie gernerally stays black but introducing some colour in either a pocket square or a cummberbund or waistcoat (of the proper eveningwear variety) is a nice way to break up the solidly black and white look.

    As ever, in these circumstances it is worth checking out The Black Tie Guide - a great internet resource (if sadly no longer updated) with lots about the etiquette and history of eveningwear.
     
  16. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    The Black Tie Guide is a great resource - I don't think it's sad that it doesn't get updated anymore - black tie is still black tie, any updates are mainly just in the blog or pictures of people doing black tie badly. ;)
     
  17. Wolf99

    Wolf99 New in Town

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    True, but it also means that the section on historical/vintage black tie will never be fully completed.
     
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  18. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    There was a vogue in the US in the 30s for wearing burgundy accessories with an ivory DJ, but only a burgundy pocket square and cummerbund, never the bow as well. It's called black tie for a reason, as I always say! I've tried a white cotton square as I'd wear with white tie or a black DJ in the past, but I don't like how it looks against an ivory jacket. Black looks a bit costumey, like one is trying to do the reverse of a black DJ with a white square - I'd almost expect to see it worn with a black shirt and a white bow....

    I'd not head of the 'rule' against wearing a white DJ in the 'British Isles' before, though it does have the ring of truth that the sort who care about U/non-U type distinctions.
     
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  19. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    I agree with regards to trying to wear a black pocket square with an ivory DJ its constuminess. I had read the rule about not wearing ivory DJs in the UK outside of the Last Night of the Proms. It feels appropriate to me - even if I had one, I would save it for warmer climates.
     
  20. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    It's all relative. This will be my twentieth Summer in London, and I still find it too damn hot for most of July and August! ;)
     

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