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Smoking Jacket, Dinner Jacket question

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I realize there are a number of threads on this, but my questions are a bit more specific than what I've seen discussed.


If you look at doctrine, only a tuxedo (black or navy jacket with matching pants) can be used to formal events (black tie fundraisers, etc). And I realize a velvet smoking jacket cannot replace it. However:

1. The below blue/navy jacket does not come with matching pants; however it looks like a tuxedo jacket and is an appropriate fabric. What is this intended for do you think? Can it be paired with pants (what color?) to be a suitable replacement for a tuxedo in most traditional black tie events?

2. The below Borrelli black velvet tuxedo comes with matching pants. Its black and designed like a tuxedo. This is not intended to be a smoking jacket, but its velvet so... Can this replace a tuxedo in some cases? Or is this basically just a relatively boring smoking jacket that happens to come with pants?

3. Velvet burgundy smoking jackets... just curious how many of you own something like this and realistically how often you wear it. I live in a major city and go to plenty of events (including private clubs, etc - although I never plan to host a black tie event at my apartment ha) with generally well to do people and frankly cannot think of a single instance where I would have been able to wear something like this. For how many of you is this just a brick in your closet?

ralph-lauren-purple-label-2245-midnight-blue-shawl-lapel-din.jpg 128k .jpg file



dn-m-belinin-1020731-1.jpg 563k .jpg file
post #2 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgould View Post

I realize there are a number of threads on this, but my questions are a bit more specific than what I've seen discussed.


If you look at doctrine, only a tuxedo (black or navy jacket with matching pants) can be used to formal events (black tie fundraisers, etc). And I realize a velvet smoking jacket cannot replace it. However:

1. The below blue/navy jacket does not come with matching pants; however it looks like a tuxedo jacket and is an appropriate fabric. What is this intended for do you think? Can it be paired with pants (what color?) to be a suitable replacement for a tuxedo in most traditional black tie events?

2. The below Borrelli black velvet tuxedo comes with matching pants. Its black and designed like a tuxedo. This is not intended to be a smoking jacket, but its velvet so... Can this replace a tuxedo in some cases? Or is this basically just a relatively boring smoking jacket that happens to come with pants?

3. Velvet burgundy smoking jackets... just curious how many of you own something like this and realistically how often you wear it. I live in a major city and go to plenty of events (including private clubs, etc - although I never plan to host a black tie event at my apartment ha) with generally well to do people and frankly cannot think of a single instance where I would have been able to wear something like this. For how many of you is this just a brick in your closet?
 

In my opinion, the only acceptable trousers to wear with a dinner jacket are black with a satin or grosgrain stripe down the outer seam. It does not matter what color your dinner jacket is. Midnight blue, burgundy, black, or ivory...or something else. The trousers are always black. Certainly never, ever, velvet trousers. Obviously, I also think that midnight blue trousers are wrong.

 

I saw that Lauren jacket, or one very similar to it, last November in Selfridges, I think, in London. I liked it a lot and I think it would look fine with black trousers. I don't own a burgundy velvet dinner jacket, but I'm thinking of having one made. Then I should wear it on any occasion that I would wear a black dinner jacket.

 

Indeed, I saw this one in Benson & Clegg on the same trip. I'd have bought it if it had been RTW, but it was not. But it's very close to what I have in mind.

 

 

Canonical Burgundy Velvet Dinner Jacket (Click to show)

 

Why would you have to think of a place to wear this? It's a dinner jacket. Wear it to dinner.

post #3 of 30
Pretty much agree with Andy, though midnight blue trousers are perfectly acceptable if your dinner jacket is midnight blue. if anything, midnight blue dinner suits are slightly preferred to black. Windsor introduced midnight blue suits for eveningwear, and many of the best dressed men adopted it, for instance Gianni Agnelli:



I would say that rgould's two pictures are of dinner jackets, while Andy's is of a smoking jacket. If a jacket closes with a button, like rgould's, then it isn't a smoking jacket. If it closes with a link instead of a button, and is of velvet or silk, then it could be a smoking jacket. The paradigm case of smoking jackets close with frogging:

There is also a smoking jacket which is a hybrid of the smoking jacket and a house coat :



All smoking jackets are generally made of velvet weaves or of silk.

rgould, a velvet dinner jacket is perfectly acceptable, though keep in mind that it is less formal and more showy than one in barathea of the same color. It also won't be nearly as hard-wearing as barathea.
post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgould View Post

I realize there are a number of threads on this, but my questions are a bit more specific than what I've seen discussed.


If you look at doctrine, only a tuxedo (black or navy jacket with matching pants) can be used to formal events (black tie fundraisers, etc). And I realize a velvet smoking jacket cannot replace it. However:

1. The below blue/navy jacket does not come with matching pants; however it looks like a tuxedo jacket and is an appropriate fabric. What is this intended for do you think? Can it be paired with pants (what color?) to be a suitable replacement for a tuxedo in most traditional black tie events?

Tartan. Cream would be alright for warm weather events. It would be impossible to match blue to blue, so don't even bother trying. I wouldn't do black either because if the black and blue are too close in shade, it'll look like you borrowed pieces of clothing from different people.

2. The below Borrelli black velvet tuxedo comes with matching pants. Its black and designed like a tuxedo. This is not intended to be a smoking jacket, but its velvet so... Can this replace a tuxedo in some cases? Or is this basically just a relatively boring smoking jacket that happens to come with pants?

In more fashion-forward crowds, this would be a hit. It's not a tux replacement in more conservative crowds.

3. Velvet burgundy smoking jackets... just curious how many of you own something like this and realistically how often you wear it. I live in a major city and go to plenty of events (including private clubs, etc - although I never plan to host a black tie event at my apartment ha) with generally well to do people and frankly cannot think of a single instance where I would have been able to wear something like this. For how many of you is this just a brick in your closet?

I don't own burgundy, but at this point a precedent has been set that would allow velvet dinner jackets at all but the most conservative events.

ralph-lauren-purple-label-2245-midnight-blue-shawl-lapel-din.jpg 128k .jpg file



dn-m-belinin-1020731-1.jpg 563k .jpg file

See bolded comments. It's more important to consider who you are and the event you're dressing for than the old "rules." For example, if you're a young lawyer eager to impress the partners at a party, don't show up in the all-velvet Borrelli--it'll be much more impressive to show restraint and dress in classically-correct tux.
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the very thoughtful comments.

Two followups, 330CK, I agree with your assessment of the color pants to go with the navy DJ- but does this essentially mean that there isn't a case where it can be used as a more classic choice (unless at a warm weather event) as tartan would certainly be more showy?

Is it agreed that the smoking jacket can be worn outside of the case where it is at ones own home or club (and just excluding particularly conservative events)? I make the distinction between non-conservative and wrong- ie I don't want to be wrong even if it is a less conservative/fashiony event. Or am I being too pedantic and no one cares?
post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgould View Post

Thank you all for the very thoughtful comments.

Two followups, 330CK, I agree with your assessment of the color pants to go with the navy DJ- but does this essentially mean that there isn't a case where it can be used as a more classic choice (unless at a warm weather event) as tartan would certainly be more showy?

Is it agreed that the smoking jacket can be worn outside of the case where it is at ones own home or club (and just excluding particularly conservative events)? I make the distinction between non-conservative and wrong- ie I don't want to be wrong even if it is a less conservative/fashiony event. Or am I being too pedantic and no one cares?

Sorry - should have been more clear. If it's a navy tux--as opposed to an odd jacket as above--it's just as correct as a black tux.

You'll find plenty of pedants here who will insist only a classic tux should be worn to any black tie or even black tie optional event, but on average no one will care. Wear what you like and what you're confident in.
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks- indeed my question was specifically due to its oddness. If it came with matching pants, no doubt it would be ok. But since it's odd and sold that way new, what kind of pants would I need to get to make it classic friendly? Or is that dead on arrival?

Normally I would just abandon something like that, but I've seen it in person and it is spectacular.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgould View Post

Thanks- indeed my question was specifically due to its oddness. If it came with matching pants, no doubt it would be ok. But since it's odd and sold that way new, what kind of pants would I need to get to make it classic friendly? Or is that dead on arrival?

Normally I would just abandon something like that, but I've seen it in person and it is spectacular.

I'm sure it is stunning, but I'd search for a complete set in blue to be more practical. That way you have something classic & correct, with a coat that can be paired with cream if you travel somewhere tropical, or paired with tartan trousers if you attend a fall wedding. RL for many seasons made a blackwatch trouser with a silk stripe down the side. After TF's dressing Bond in a navy tux, there was a sudden spike in designers producing navy tuxes, so with a little searching, I'm sure eBay or B&S can turn something up.
post #9 of 30
Smoking jacket - I've only been to a few homes were the host entertained in a classic smoking jacket.

I would recommend as a fun and far more versatile alternative to get a purple, navy, black or other dark colored peak lapel blazer or jacket. I have one and wore it for in-home entertaining, out to parties and restaurants. Its fun and can be elegant with flannels or casual with jeans, Over the last 35 years I've owned a couple of them and wearing them is a bit like champagne, they make an event a little more special.

I wouldn't wear a velvet blazer in place of black tie. But, I'm not a rock star or eccentric artist type. And, if I was, velvet might even be a bit subtle.

It really comes down to who you are and where are you going. But, it is hard to beat a well tailored classic tuxedo for true formal events. You might want to go this route first and then decide on your next formal sartorial step.
post #10 of 30

There is a misconception that what we refer to as a tuxedo is always (or even usually) a suit. It is not. It is perfectly okay to pair different jackets with black trousers and accessories. I guess midnight blue trousers worn with a midnight blue jacket is acceptable, but only with a midnight blue jacket. Black trousers are always correct. A black jacket is most correct, but midnight blue, ivory, burgundy velvet, other shades of velvet, are also fine. I'd be really, really careful with tartan of any sort.

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy57 View Post

There is a misconception that what we refer to as a tuxedo is always (or even usually) a suit. It is not. It is perfectly okay to pair different jackets with black trousers and accessories. I guess midnight blue trousers worn with a midnight blue jacket is acceptable, but only with a midnight blue jacket. Black trousers are always correct. A black jacket is most correct, but midnight blue, ivory, burgundy velvet, other shades of velvet, are also fine. I'd be really, really careful with tartan of any sort.

I don't think that this is correct. Other than the exception of a white diner jacket in warm climates, tuxedos are suits with matching fabrics. The tuxedo's precursor was the formal evening dress which had matching fabrics not formal day dress which had contrasting fabric.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by brax View Post


I don't think that this is correct. Other than the exception of a white diner jacket in warm climates, tuxedos are suits with matching fabrics. The tuxedo's precursor was the formal evening dress which had matching fabrics not formal day dress which had contrasting fabric.


Then we can just agree to disagree. The short dinner jacket was made as in informal alternative to be worn with the trousers and accessories one already possessed. They were not originally made as suits. In fact, the clue lies in the name.

post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by brax View Post

I don't think that this is correct. Other than the exception of a white diner jacket in warm climates, tuxedos are suits with matching fabrics. The tuxedo's precursor was the formal evening dress which had matching fabrics not formal day dress which had contrasting fabric.

It is correct. Dinner jackets are not suits. Even in times not too long ago, if you were to refer to them as such on the Row or in upper class/aristocratic circles you would be considered a rube. Prince Michael of Kent frequently wears odd dinner/smoking jackets. He knows what he's doing.

There was a period where the vast majority would wear matching fabrics and I agree that it is still best to wear a standard barathea rig matching. But a dinner jacket is not a suit. Perhaps a tuxedo is, if a transatlantic distinction is to be made.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by 330CK View Post


Sorry - should have been more clear. If it's a navy tux--as opposed to an odd jacket as above--it's just as correct as a black tux.

You'll find plenty of pedants here who will insist only a classic tux should be worn to any black tie or even black tie optional event, but on average no one will care. Wear what you like and what you're confident in.

Please dont do this ^, or at least be very judicious. If you are invited to a black tie event, then you are being asked to be appropriately dressed. While there is some room for variance, there is a generally accepted guide as to what is appropriate. Wearing what you like or your version of black tie might be fun for you but could also be a social faux pas or worse, disrespectful to your host.

 

Now, if you are just going to the symphony or ballet or other black tie optional event, knock yourself out. There will probably be people there in shorts and Crocs, so thanks for making even a little bit of effort.

post #15 of 30
"Doctrine", utter nonsense, there is no such thing.

A midnight blue evening dress has
  • matching trousers and coat.
  • A white coat in more tropical climes would be paired with black evening dress trousers.
  • "Smoking Jackets" are not a substitute for evening dress and for all but those who live in castles, large country houses are an affectation of the worst order in the twenty first century.

Anyone turning up at a function would look entirely out of place and should disabuse themselves of the idea,.
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