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How to Pull Off a White Dinner Jacket This Wedding Season

Black tie doesn’t limit you to a black tux. Stand out in the crowd in a surprising alternative – the white dinner jacket. This jacket is for the gentleman looking to make an impression. While some consider white jackets a warm weather option only, the look is increasingly accepted as a formal wear staple.

History of the White Dinner Jacket

The white dinner jacket began appearing in several variations in the 1930s. The jacket was a go-to vacation favorite of adventurous men at tropical resorts and warm weather gatherings. The light material and color of the jacket made high temperatures more bearable than heavier, traditional suits. The look remained in style throughout the Great Depression.

Iconically, the white dinner jacket was worn by Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. The cinematic turn emphasized the connection of the jacket with glamorous, tropical resort imagery. In the 1950s, the jacket was synonymous with the debonair flair of Havana. Travel posters and postcards often featured dapper travelers in the signature white jacket.

Sean Connery’s James Bond sported one of the film franchise’s most iconic looks. In Goldfinger, Connery’s Bond knocks the titular villain, all while wearing a classic white jacket. Daniel Craig’s Bond pays tribute to the look in Spectre, red flower pin included.

White dinner and tuxedo jackets frequently appear on the red carpet. Leading men like Matthew McConaughey, George Clooney, and Ryan Gosling have all donned the white jacket for premieres and award season.

Wearing a White Dinner Jacket for a Wedding

If you’re the groom, you don’t have to leave white for the bride. A white tux for the ceremony is a polished and sophisticated option – just clear it with your spouse-to-be first.

According to Anna Post, great-great-granddaughter of etiquette writer Emily Post, there are fewer rules about wearing white to a wedding for both male and female guests. If you’re a wedding guest, a white tux or dinner jacket is appropriate as long as other male guests are wearing lighter-colored suits as well.

How to Style a White Dinner Jacket

When choosing a white dinner jacket, fit is paramount. For a modern look, the jacket should be fitted on the waist. White dinner jackets will have slight variations in color. Stark white, off-white, and ivory are all on display. If you plan to wear a white tie or bowtie, make sure the shade pairs exactly with the shade of the jacket, or it may look off.

If choosing a white tuxedo jacket, pay attention to details. Some jackets have black piping, lapels, or other accents. While both features add interest, a plain white jacket is a clean, simple option to style.

The jacket can be single- or double-breasted and worn open or buttoned. As for material, choose an unlined, natural fabric like cotton or a heavier, but still natural white wool.

The jacket will take center stage, but make sure the rest of your pieces are playing a supportive role. Ensure that your slim, paired trousers are tailored correctly. Cummerbunds should be black and only worn with single breasted jackets. Colorful accessories may give the jacket too much of a gimmicky or satirical feel. Mr. Tailor recommends keeping the rest simple – white shirt, no vest, and a classic black bow tie.

As for confidence, that’s all you. Enjoy being center stage in white.

We can help you achieve a classic, white jacket look. Contact us and we’ll help pull together all the pieces.

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Dwight Bradley
Posted: Thu 11/08/2018 06:56 PM
I want to wear a white (ivory) dinner jacket with black tux pants and a black shirt to a holiday party with no tie/bow tie. Is this considered in good tast. I will also add a black and white silk pocket square.
David Devereux
Posted: Mon 09/16/2019 09:28 PM
As the groom, is an off-white or ivory dinner jacket okay to wear to my February daytime wedding?
Raymond Manzano
Posted: Thu 01/16/2020 09:42 PM
Now thinking white for my sons July wedding in France, want it to be subtle , he`s the center of attention