With a fine line between fancy and fancy-dress, we’d like to offer up some do’s and don’ts when it comes to choosing your Dinner Suit. Black Tie no longer means black is your only suit colour option.
I recently went to an open air rock concert, attended by rich and famous and mere mortals like me, the dress code was black tie and I pretty much saw every take on this classic theme. Whilst I encourage individuality and expressing yourself the fine line of good taste was crossed far too many times, Eddy Jordan please call us you need our help! We will try to guide you through some colours, fabrics, texture and patterns!
OK, so you only wear a dinner suit a handful of times a year but do you really want to turn up in a not great fitting hire suit and look very average? Invest in a well-made roomten dinner suit that fits you properly, using great fabrics you’ll always look good”.
With a dinner jacket, it’s the small details that make the difference: the facing material on the lapels should match the braiding on the trousers and ideally the button fabric.
Grosgrain silk, rather than satin, looks more considered and elegant. “The fabric is important because it’s got to last; traditionally it’ll be wool barathea, medium to heavy weight or you can go for mohair – at roomten we’ve introduced a wool and mohair mix. The beauty of mohair is it plays on the light – you get a luminescence you don’t get from wool.
Choosing the right lapel for you.
“Ideally, you should have a peak or shawl lapel. A notch lapel looks rather ordinary and as a rule we don’t recommend it. A peak lapel looks a bit more special and if you’re not the most naturally athletic person, it will draw the eyes out to the shoulders and will accentuate that V-shape you want from a well-fitting suit.”
Double-breasted dinner suit
Throwing back to the glory days of Forties Hollywood, a double-breasted jacket comes with four to six silk-covered buttons instead of the regular one or two. In line with the rise of the DB suit in recent seasons we’ve seen the return of the DB dinner jacket (in both black and off-white). The one golden rule? Keep the top button fastened and the bottom unfastened at all times when standing up.
Patterned dinner suit
For eveningwear aficionados looking for something a little bolder, try out a patterned dinner suit. This could be a full on tartan or check style fabric however we have some much more subtle options for you to consider from two of our favourite mills, Ariston and Holland & Sherry. Whether you use a patterned fabric just for the jacket or for the whole suit will depend largely on the design, we will help and advise accordingly. Just remember to limit all your accessories to straightforward black and white to make the jacket stand out for all the right reasons.
Three-piece dinner suit
Another style we’ve seen re-emerge on red carpets over the past two or three seasons is the rebirth of the three-piece evening suit. Adding a matching waistcoat into the mix makes this quite possibly the most gentlemanly black tie option out there, we recommend a 4 button low scooped waistcoat design which will be seen when the jacket is undone only. The other benefit of wearing a waistcoat with your dinner suit is it replaces the need for a cummerbund.
Midnight blue Dinner Suit
One of the most common questions we get asked is, ‘can you wear a blue suit to a black tie event?’ And our answer is, of course you can – in fact it is arguably more traditional to do so than by wearing black. Originating in 1865 when the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, commissioned his tailor to make a more laid-back tailcoat for his downtime at Sandringham, the craze for midnight blue dinner suits was re-ignited with James Bond’s shawl-collared tuxedo in Skyfall and it’s still going strong.
Apart from standing out in a sea of black and white, one of the big advantages of going for a midnight blue dinner suit is that under artificial light (whether of the flashbulb or overhead variety) this material reads more black than black.
We are also seeing a trend towards a brighter shade of Navy rather than the classic midnight blue (which is very dark), you might be thinking that navy is navy? But trust us there are many shades of navy and add in textures and patterns and you options increase. Whichever shade you choose we recommend keeping the silk lapels, pockets and buttons in black, this creates a stylish but subtle contrast.
The roomten Velvet Jacket
This is a roomten favourite and we try to have a few samples in store made up for you to look at. Velvet jackets have long been monopolised by Hugh Heffner and James Bond. Luckily for mere mortals, they’re finally being reclaimed as a party piece by the real man.
We’re not alone in our admiration for soft, tufted cotton, as almost all the top designer brands are offering velvet jackets this season. Velvet has long had a louche image, redolent of relaxing with a glass of brandy and a cigar after a formal dinner, or Bond-esque nights out in expensive clubs.
We recommend you choose shades of burgundy of which Lord Byron himself would have approved, while bottle green and chocolate brown line up alongside more sober black and navy. Although black and navy blue are the easiest colours to wear there’s a strong logic to going for bolder hues, this is an opportunity to expand the sartorial repertoire. We have over 50 colours and shades to show you so you will be spoilt for choice.
Whatever colour you go for, a velvet jacket is extremely versatile. Dressed down with jeans and a T-shirt it’s right for a weekend lunch, while, at the other end of the spectrum, it can be a stunning dinner suit jacket worn over a crisp white shirt, black bow tie and black wool (or velvet) dinner suit trousers.
Shoes – Patent or High Shine
Our recommendation is to go for a simple design high shine shoe rather than a patent shoe. Whilst a patent shoes are OK it limits when and where you can wear it, its pretty much designed to be worn with a dinner suit! We really like the Barker Winsford shoe, classic design and available in black or dark burgundy! Don’t make the mistake of wearing an old pair of work shoes because they will probably look like your cutting corners and wearing an old pair of work shoes!