We have noticed that some grooms these days are opting for a dinner jacket, often without knowing all the rules. Print these out, abide by these commandments and please, do not make a fool of yourself on your wedding day. You want to look your best next to your bride, and hopefully, still appear smart and timeless years later when you look at your photos, right?
The dinner jacket was created by the Savile Row tailors, Henry Poole & Co., for the Prince of Wales in the 1860s, to be worn for dinners at his country estate. It is to be worn only after 6pm, hence the name ‘dinner jacket’, which means you need to put on something else for your day solemnisation and photoshoot.
White or cream jackets are strongly discouraged, as the dinner jacket should only be in black or perhaps midnight blue, which is making a comeback. Any other colour is forbidden. Even James Bond wouldn’t be caught dead in a maroon dinner jacket. It is considered trendy to wear a velvet dinner jacket these days, which is a slightly less formal option with a smoking jacket feel. Please remember to wear it with black trousers, not velvet pants.
Rental dinner suits are made to fit all kinds of sizes. Thus it will never fit you perfectly. If you cannot afford to get one custom made, at least get it off the rack from a renowned dinner jacket brand. The pockets on a dinner jacket should be besom pockets (without flaps). If your dinner jacket pockets have flaps, tuck them in.
Notch lapels are for your everyday business jackets. Dinner jackets should only have peak lapels, or perhaps shawl lapels, which are also acceptable as a more informal option.
Only wear a black, self-tie bow tie. There’s a saying: “If you can’t tie a bow tie, you are not man enough”. Learn how to tie a bow tie; we understand that it looks a bit intimidating but once you get it, you will realise that it is easier than tying a tie. The fabric of the bow tie, lapel and outseam of the trousers should match. That being said, a velvet bow tie is acceptable.
Go with a white dress shirt with a turned down collar, pleated or Marcella bibbed, and double cuffs (French cuffs) for the traditional Bond look. Wing collar dress shirts are for white-tie events. Shirt studs are not necessary but they do look good. When choosing the studs, make sure they are gold, silver, mother of pearl, or onyx.
Cuffs are of Anglo-American origin for the purpose of protecting the pants from wet and muddy conditions. Since it is unlikely you will run into mud at a black tie event, cuffs are not necessary. The current style is to have slightly slimmer trousers with a single braid down the side.
The trousers of a dinner suit should not have belt loops. Use the side metal adjuster to adjust the fit. If the trousers do not have a side adjuster, use braces (suspenders), either in black or white.
These are reserved for white-tie events. Stick to black, laced-up Oxford shoes, and make sure they are well polished. Also, wear only black socks, and make sure the socks are not too woolly or faded.
Under no circumstances do you match your accessories (i.e. colour of your pocket square or bow tie) to your partner’s dress. The dinner jacket is meant to look stunning on its own!
Finally, act like a gentleman. When wearing a dinner jacket, you should carry yourself in a courteous and respectable manner. In other words, you should act like James Bond. Without the guns.