A black tie event does not mean you must wear a black tuxedo. With the ever-growing trend of non-traditional formal wear, wearing a white dinner jacket to a formal occasion is a great way to stand out from the crowd. A fan favorite of everyone’s favorite spy, James Bond, wearing a white dinner jacket is a great way to make a statement but still look as dapper as ever.
At Jaxson Maximus, we get a lot of requests to make this classic garment. Our team of custom clothiers has put together this complete guide on everything you need to know about the do’s and don’t of wearing a white dinner jacket.
History of The White Dinner Jacket
The white dinner jacket began to appear in mainstream society in the late 1930s. This jacket was a go-to vacation favorite of wealthy men on their tropical vacations. The light color and material of the jacket made high temperatures more bearable than the traditional black tuxedo. The look remained popular with the upper class throughout the Great Depression.
The trend began in the 50s after Humphrey Bogart wore the iconic jacket in Casablanca. The cinematic turn connected the white dinner jacket with Havana, Cuba’s glamorous, tropical reposts and debonair flair. In addition, travel posters often featured the signature white jacket in their advertisements.
In Goldfinger, Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond sported the iconic look. This moment catapulted the white dinner jacket as a classic staple in every gentleman’s wardrobe.
When Should A White Dinner Jacket Be Worn
Fall is when the leaves start to change, and the temperate gets colder for most of the world anyways! So the biggest question we get at Jaxson Maximus is if a white dinner jacket can be worn in the cooler months. The short answer is, yes, it can be.
Being located in Miami, we have the advantage of the climate being warm all year long. In other parts of the country, a white dinner jacket is still appropriate to wear, however, you do want to consider the weight of the cloth. Since white dinner jackets are more traditionally worn in warmer months, most fabrics will be lighter in weight.
No matter what time of year it is, rocking a white dinner jacket is a great way to look elegant at any formal event.
Does a White Dinner Jacket Always Mean White
The term white dinner jacket loosely encompasses the shades of bright white, ivory, and eggshell white. Instead of using other shades of white to describe the jacket, they are umbrellaed into the term “white dinner jacket.” Over time, white wool and other natural fabrics will appear yellowish.
Since bright white does not look good on all skin types (especially those with fairer skin), your clothier might recommend another shade of white that will better compliment your skin tone.
When To Wear a White Dinner Jacket
The most acceptable time to wear a white dinner jacket is when the invitation says it will be a black-tie dress code. You only want to wear a white dinner jacket on formal occasions such as a gala or wedding (granted, the wedding party is not wearing the same outfit).
At Jaxson Maximus, the most popular occasion we make a white dinner jacket for is a groom’s wedding. A white dinner jacket for your wedding is a polished and sophisticated option for any wedding theme.
When To Wear a White Dinner Jacket
Making our fair share of white dinner jackets at Jaxson Maximus, we have learned what to do and what not to do when making the perfect white dinner jacket. When deciding what jacket to purchase, you want to avoid synthetic fabrics since they do not breathe well. Not to mention they can make the jacket look cheap instead of classy. Instead, you want to look for natural fabrics that are lightweight to the standard worsted wool.
When designing a white dinner jacket, you do not want to purchase a garment with any patterned or dark-colored lining on the interior. The reason is that the patterns will show directly through the jacket the second you put it on. So instead, the only lining you want to use is either solid white or an off-white solid that matches the color of the jacket’s exterior.
White dinner jackets will follow the same rules as traditional black tuxedos would when it comes to bottoms. Your bottoms should only be solid in color, black being the most traditional color, with the color matching any additional trims you have on the jacket. For example, if you have a black lapel, you should wear solid black pants.
Since a white dinner jacket is typically worn in warmer clients, the same rules on fabric composition would apply to your bottoms.
When choosing your white dinner jacket, the fit is everything. Your jacket should be tailored to fit you for a modern classic look. Your jacket will take center stage. If you wear a white dinner jacket that is too big on you, you risk it looking like a costume.
Pairing colorful accessories might give the jacket too much of a gimmicky feel. So instead, keep it simple with a classic white shirt, white pocket square, lapel flower, and a black or white bowtie (must match the exact color of your jacket).
We recommend keeping it simple with a velvet or patent leather black loafer to match for shoes. Tennis shoes or other informal shoe options should never be worn with a white dinner jacket.