The Dinner Suit has evolved over the years as a more casual form of dressing for dinner. Originally the wearer would dine in Formal Tails – think Downtown Abbey.
The design of the Dinner Jacket is merely a shorter version of the Tails. The shorter jacket is easier to sit in. A dinner suit has only one button on a single breasted jacket.
The first Dinner Suits and Dinner Jackets were made from velvet for smoking in. It was perceived that the velvet absorbed the smoke instead of it penetrating the opulent furnishings which were popular of the time. Smoking Jackets were often embellished with frogging and fancy trimming which showed off your level of wealth.
These days contemporary Dinner Suits are made from Wool or Mohair (a Wool & Goat hair mix), silk, jacquard and of course, velvet. They will often have a contrast satin lapel and covered buttons and the trousers traditionally will have a stripe down the side of the leg.
There is no difference between Black Tie, a Dinner Suit and a Tuxedo, they are all the same thing. Americans call them Tuxedos.
Recently Black Tie, doesn’t have to be black. Midnight blue, burgundy, ivory, plum and even bottle green are all acceptable as long as it’s dark in appearance. That being said, you do not have to follow tradition and as a bespoke tailors we can create a dinner suit in any colour you wish.
Mixing a black lapel and a different colour for the rest of the suit will make you stand out from the crowd.
A Dinner Suit should have a contrasting fabric to the main cloth of the suit, so opt for a satin or velvet or something really fancy if the base cloth is plain.
James Bond opts for a mohair Dinner Suit in a classic black to midnight blue with black contrast lapels.
James Bond has his suits made and tailored and doesn’t hire them in a last min dash the day before his event.