Could it be the end of May already? With Memorial Day just around the corner, it’s time to put away the winter wardrobe and break out the lighter, cooler and more colorful summer clothing.
We at Leviner Wood Custom Tailors and Shirtmakers recommend switching out of your midnight blue or black dinner jackets for the traditional white DJ, which isn’t really white, but more of a cream. At one time, in the South and at warm weather resorts worldwide, the white dinner jacket could be seen alongside of tan, plaid, red and light blue coats, too. They are only appropriate in the Caribbean, onboard cruises to hot weather destinations, at Rick’s Café in Casablanca and outside here in the South, in season. “Outside” meaning that there may be a chance that you will step outside sometime during the evening. When it’s hot, it’s hot. “In season” ends on Labor Day.
When choosing a style, there are all the standard options for collar and buttoning. The best seller is the shawl collar, one button, single-breasted, although we think that Bogie’s double-breasted shawl collar is by far the coolest look and doesn’t require a cummerbund or vest. The collars will be “self-faced”, that is made in the same fabric as the body of the coat, although a notch lapel could take a satin facing to make sure that it isn’t mistaken for a sportcoat. Pockets are besom, with or without flaps as you like and an unvented back looks more streamlined and elegant than the single or side vents. But that’s your call, too. Put one to two buttons on the sleeves.
Your options for fabric are the traditional linen, silk and linen, gabardine or lightweight wool. A minimum of lining is preferred to keep things light and airy. Quarter lining the coat will make it easier to slip over your shirt.
Wearing a single-breasted white dinner jacket calls for a cummerbund, which is far cooler to wear than a vest. The cummerbund comes from India, another place that knows hot weather very well. Choose one in dark blue, black, dark green, summery madras or the traditional maroon. You can match the color of your socks to it, too. We generally stick to a bit of color in the pocketsquare and always wear the black bow tie.
Finish things off by wearing your tuxedo trousers and slip on patent leathers.