White Before Memorial Day or After Labor Day?

Can I Wear A White before Memorial Day or After Labor Day?

Question:

I recently purchased a white dinner jacket to wear to a few fundraisers. I realize wearing white before Memorial day is strictly taboo in most circles. However, I frequently smash the rules of proper etiquette. Anyway my question is, “what is more appropriate to wear with a dinner jacket a low cut vest or cummerbund?”

Andy’s Answer

Wearing a white dinner jacket out of season, as you know, projects an image of ignorance. If that’s what you’re going for fine, but review this first:

Clothes Do Make The Man

This is from the Formalwear Chapter of The Encyclopedia of Men’s Clothes:

Waist Cover: The waistband of formal trousers must always be covered! This is dictated from the practice of wearing the jacket of tailcoat (White Tie) open.
The formal shirt will have a pleated front (to the waist only, so that it doesn’t buckle when you sit down) – that’s the other reason (as we discussed in shirts above) the waist is always covered with either a cummerbund or waistcoat.

The choices are cummerbund (has nothing to do with holding up your pants), a vest or a double breasted dinner jacket which is never unbuttoned in public!

· Waistcoat (vest) goes well with peaked lapel jackets since the points of both present a coordinated look. A vest was the original accessory before the cummerbund to cover the waist of the trousers.

Care should be taken when wearing the tailcoat and vest that the points of the vest be shorter than the front points of the jacket.

· Cummerbunds look best with shawl collar diner jackets since the curve of the cummerbund accentuates the curve of the shawl collar.

The cummerbund is a waist sash, brought to England from India by the British officers serving there. It was originally a long, brightly colored sash that was tied outside a tunic and called a “Kamarband “ (Hindustani for “loin band”).

Andy