Smoking Jacket, Dinner Jacket question

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by rgould, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. Andy57

    Andy57 Well-Known Member

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    Mmm, yes. No.

    The WSJ article, what I could see of it, is not correct. The short dinner jacket was developed in the UK as an alternative to the tail coat. As such it would be worn with the same trousers as would otherwise be worn with a tail coat. A short dinner jacket was purchased (or rather commissioned) as a separate item, not as part of an ensemble, at least in it's very earliest incarnation. The first recorded such dinner jacket was apparently made by Poole in the early 1880s, at least a couple of years before it made an appearance at the Tuxedo Club in New York.

    But I really don't have a dog in this hunt. If you want to commission, purchase, or rent a dinner jacket and matching trousers go right ahead. My prom-going days are well behind me.
     
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  2. brax

    brax Well-Known Member

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    The article refers to the Poole commission. It is the Edward VII commission of which I wrote. Those original Poole commission papers still exist and they show evening formal dress without tails. So that provides no evidence for your claim either. If fact, it supports my position that what we call tuxedos were and still are suits (formal evening wear sans tails).
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  3. Andy57

    Andy57 Well-Known Member

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    This is tiresome. You seem heavily invested in being right. You're one of those people. So here you are: you're absolutely right. If you want to obtain a dinner jacket with matching trousers, go right ahead. I care about as much as you might imagine.
     
  4. brax

    brax Well-Known Member

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    I already own my tuxedo so this discussion really affects my decisions not a bit. My real interest is to help others avoid making huge mistakes based on someone's faulty "knowledge" of historical events.
     
  5. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    Henry Poole's famous first dinner jacket for Edward VII was in an electric Blue fabric, so it was not just a tailcoat with cut out tails ( that would be a mess jacket btw).

    Some recent example of Velvet Dinner Jackets at the BAFTA ceremony in London, this past Sunday:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] (I know, shame for the two buttons...)
     
  6. brax

    brax Well-Known Member

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    Marco, this article claims that a review of the Poole archives show that the Prince commissioned an "avant-garde dinner tailless dinner jacket." All of the other literature I have seen also claims that the first tuxedo was a tailless dinner jacket. Is that wrong?

    But of greater importance to me (as the above was just an explanation) is whether a tuxedo (not a smoking jacket) was a suit. I have not seen any ads or Apparel Arts diagrams showing a tuxedo to be anything but a suit. I acknowledge your deep pool (no pun intended) of knowledge. So I sincerely ask, is there any respected authority for having a tuxedo (not a smoking jacket) with clashing trousers?
     
  7. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Well-Known Member

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  8. Testudo_Aubreii

    Testudo_Aubreii Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I understand what's at stake in this debate. A dinner jacket is a dinner jacket. A dinner suit is a dinner suit. A tuxedo is generally thought of as the same thing as a dinner suit. But not all suits are made of the same fabric: a suit made all in the same fabric is, strictly speaking "a suit of dittoes," So it is conceptually possible to have a dinner suit, even a tuxedo, that is not all in the same fabric. When we speak of "suits," we mean a suit of clothes, a set of garments that are made with the intention of being worn together indoors. We could mean by "suit" a suit of dittoes, but we don't have to. I think it is too strong to say that all dinner suits must be dinner suits of dittoes. I don't see anything odd in calling a black velvet lounge jacket with peak lapels worn with black barathea trousers with a satin stripe down the leg "a dinner suit," or even "a tuxedo." Is it the paradigm case of a tuxedo? No. Is it close enough to be reasonably called one? I think so.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  9. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    I think I still have the article somewhere of a recent interview with Henry Poole where they went through the order ledger and found the order for that very first Dinner Jacket, with specification of electric blue fabric. The smoking jacket is something completely different but somehow related, as it is meant to be an house and/or after dinner jacket, wrapping around (double breasted, designed to absorb the smoke smell, and with features like padded lapels and cuffs, braided link closures etc.
    The relation is demonstrated by the fact that in Italy and other Central European countries, the dinner suit/tuxedo is still known as "smoking".

    If I find the H Poole article, I will post it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  10. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Well-Known Member

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    Found this on a quick search online:

    "The story of Henry Poole cutting the prototype dinner jacket for the Prince of Wales to wear at private dinners at Sandringham in 1865 is well-documented. The short smoking jacket in blue silk – an informal alternative to the white tie tailcoat – was indeed the first mention of such a garment in the company’s records and the first dinner jacket tailored on Savile Row."

    Source : Henry Poole official website https://henrypoole.com/hall_of_fame/hm-king-edward-vii/
     

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