Dinner Jacket or Tuxedo Jacket? Well both actually...

Dinner Jacket or Tuxedo Jacket? Well both actually...

There has always been some degree of confusion around the differences between a dinner jacket and a tuxedo jacket so we'll straighten this one up so as to nix any doubt: they are one and the same thing. That's right - they are different only in name. Quite why is a nice little anecdote you might want to store in your arsenal and refers back to the very origins of the dinner jacket. Story has it that the Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co was tasked by Edward VII in 1865 to make him a formal jacket he could dine in because he was non plussed at having to sit in tails all the time. That request spawned what we know today as the dinner jacket or DJ. The creation was spotted by another Poole customer, one James Potter of Tuxedo Park, New York. One or two other Poole customers, having seen Potter's jacket, also had some made and before you knew it they were known as the Tuxedo boys. The name stuck and so now what the British know as the dinner jacket, the Americans know as the tuxedo jacket.

Black tie in 1898

They may call it by a different name, but our cousins across the Atlantic have been integral in the perpetuation of the dinner jacket in the last 100 years, not least from the 40s and 50s onwards, when the likes of Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies popularised glamorous eveningwear.

Today, the dinner jacket is the king of menswear garments, de rigeur at most formal evening events. In its classic black and silk grosgrain lapel form, it offers the most elegant of silhouettes. It has neither bells nor whistles - just beautiful sharp lines to flatter the torso and give the impression of grandeur. Favourbrook has a number of different dinner jacket styles, but we'll stick to the traditional black styles for the purposes of this article (we'll follow up on our more avant garde styles in a later post). Our most popular style is our Black Hampton Barathea Wool dinner jacket: an elegant slim fitting single breasted dinner jacket with matching grosgrain silk peak lapels and buttons. The jacket features a welted breast pocket and slanted flapped side pockets and four-button working cuffs. Inside, the jacket is lined in Favourbrook midnight paisley with three internal pockets. 

Our most luxurious style is our Black Audley Silk and Wool dinner jacket, which is cut from a sumptuous blend of wool and silk, and is richly textured with a matte finish. Finishings include black grosgrain silk lapels, and black grosgrain buttons on the working cuffs and single button closure at the front of the jacket. Thoughtful pocket details such as a breast pocket, and three internal pockets keep the look classic.

 

The Rules of Black Tie

The rules of the dinner jacket are simple to follow and don't leave much room for subjective error. The only real decision to make concerns the style of lapels. Old Hollywood-inspired styles will often feature wide peak lapels which can look fantastic depending on your proportions, but most dinner jackets these days are more moderate when it comes to lapel with. The shawl collar is the other option, and has something of a nostalgic sophistication to it, while not coming across quite so sharp as the peak lapel. One's trousers should feature a single row of silk braid down each outside leg and should be naturally tapered. The shirt should be a classic white evening shirt with a marcella collar, bib and double cuffs. If you prefer to wear shirt studs, they should be black or decorative such as Mother of Pearl. A black hand-tied bow tie (the size of which should be proportionate to the wearer) is the natural accompaniment for almost all formal occasions, but where you might see or interpret 'Hollywood Black Tie', then a simple black tie can be substituted.

 
 
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On the feet, black Oxfords - no argument. Highly polished or patent leather are your only options, together with black silk socks. While waistcoats aren't out of the equation, they are very rarely worn with a dinner jacket and would only really be suitable for more formal events. Likewise cummerbunds, which are not considered essential but can provide an interesting swathe of colour. Note however that waistcoats and cummerbunds ne'er should mix.

The final flourish exists in that small but important piece of sartorial real estate - the breast pocket. A white handkerchief is the traditional inclusion, and while a polka dot can look fantastic, we don't recommend venturing beyond that. It would be a travesty to have pulled together a beautiful black tie ensemble only to court disaster with an ill-conceived pocket square.

 

 

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