How to Wear a Dinner Jacket in Style

There’ll come many times in your life where you need to wear a dinner jacket in style, including weddings, formal parties, and even graduation ceremonies. But lots of guys haven’t worn a dinner jacket yet or don’t know how to make sure they look slick when they show up.

Not to worry, we’ll break down how you can wear a dinner jacket in style now.

When is a Dinner Jacket Right for the Occasion?

A dinner jacket is not the same thing as a tuxedo jacket. Tuxedos are much more formal, only come in black and white, and feature lapels made of the same material as the garment’s body. In contrast, dinner jackets are more flexible and are appropriate for a variety of occasions, including:

  • Black-tie dinners
  • Graduation ceremonies
  • Important business meetings
  • Weddings
  • Other serious parties

Before spending tons of time and effort getting your dinner jacket just right, make sure it actually fits the situation. If not, you may need to rent a tuxedo so you don’t look out of place!

Choosing a Material

If wearing a dinner jacket is the way to go, you’ll need to choose the right material, particularly if you are selecting or customizing a dinner jacket from scratch. Two of the most common materials include wool and linen.

Wool dinner jackets are thick and warm, making them great for winter festivities, especially outdoor weddings that take place in the fall. However, wool dinner jackets are also heavier, so keep this in mind.

In contrast, linen dinner jackets are lighter and cooler and are perfect for summertime weddings outside or if you are concerned about overheating during an indoor event. These lighter dinner jackets are also easier to wear for several hours due to their lower weight.

In time, you may wish to get a dinner jacket of both types so you always have a great jacket for any occasion.

Get Rid of Wrinkles

No matter what material your dinner jacket is made of, you'll want to make sure it's totally free of wrinkles before you show up to the event in question. As a form of outerwear, your dinner jacket should be totally wrinkle-free; fail to do this and you might ruin the look.

Unfortunately, you can't just take a steamer to your dinner jacket. You'll instead need to take it to a trusted dry cleaning company. A local dry-cleaning business should be able to do this for you within a few days, so plan accordingly.

Choosing a Dress Shirt and Trousers

Next, make sure your dinner jacket can be paired with the right dress shirt and trousers. Both of these articles should be tailored, especially perfectly tailored pants.

The right dress shirt should be clean and the appropriate color to match your jacket. Make sure it's comfortable as well, and try to get rid of wrinkles before your event by taking it to the same place as your jacket dry cleaner as well.

In terms of pants, there are lots of different choices. For example, Berle’s Wool Flannel Flat Front Regular Rise pants are a great choice for combining with a wool dinner jacket, especially since they come in many classically masculine or neutral colors.

Alternatively, you might want to go with something like the Super 100’s Gabardine Flat Front Regular Rise Pants, which also come in several colors but which offer a distinct, crisp look that’s perfect for the well-dressed man.

Considering Color

Color coordination is key if you want to look your best in your dinner jacket. Generally, if your dinner jacket is black, wear a white or colored dress shirt to create contrast between the garments (black on black doesn’t usually look good).

If your jacket is a different color, wear a shirt that coordinates well with the color of your tailored slacks and your outer jacket. For example, a blue dinner jacket pairs well with white shirts and matching blue trousers.

Remember a Tie

Last but not least, always wear your dinner jacket with a tie and a good watch to round out your accessories. A tie is absolutely necessary as it helps to elevate the ensemble to a more formal look.

Choose a tie that goes well with your jacket (ideally, the tie will be the same color as your jacket and trousers).

There you have it – a few good tips to help you wear a dinner jacket with style. Good luck and have fun!