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How to Pick the Best Dinner Suits

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A dinner suit or dinner jacket is the British version of the ubiquitous tuxedo. Like a tuxedo, a dinner suit is distinguished by a glossy satin or silk covering on its shawl-style lapels and buttons and a satin stripe along the trousers’ outseam. While a dinner suit is not something you wear every time you go out, when you do wear one, you'll look and feel like a million dollars!

Dinner suit or dinner jacket?

The dinner suit or dinner jacket (a.k.a. tuxedo) is typically black or midnight blue and is traditionally worn with a formal white shirt, polished shoes, and other accessories.

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Dinner suits are worn in the form prescribed by "Black Tie" dress code. The pants of a dinner suit may be secured with braces or suspenders. Cuffs on a dinner suit's trousers are inappropriate. The single-breasted dinner suit is considered more formal than a double-breasted one.

Here's some things to consider when buying your next dinner suit or dinner jacket:

The Event: The most important consideration is the event's dress code. Is it "Black Tie" or the more formal "White Tie and Tails"? White Tie is the most formal evening dress code in Western fashion and is almost exclusively worn to events such as balls, operas, and gala banquets. "Black Tie" is more commonly worn and is epitomised as the dressing as James Bond look.

Shawl Lapels: Unlike the peak or notched lapel, the shawl lapel is a continuous curve lapel with no angles. It is almost always used solely for formal clothes such as dinner suits (tuxedos) – and often features a satin finish over the lapel. Choosing the appropriate lapelcan make or break the look of your whole outfit, so choose carefully.

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While the lapels are often matched in colour to the rest of the dinner jacket, a stylish contrast of a black lapel on a white dinner jacket or a white lapel on a black dinner jacket adds flair and individuality.

Cummerbund: This is the sash worn around the waist and is an alternative to wearing a vest (waistcoat). Cummerbunds are usually made from satin or silk material and match the colour and fabric of your bow tie and/or your lady's dress.

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Dinner Shirt: These shirts have pleats on each side of the buttons down the middle of the shirt. While not essential, they may also feature wing-tip collars so you can wear bow ties.

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Handkerchief: A handkerchief is often worn in the jacket's breast pocket. White or red are good colour choices, but don't go overboard.

Shoes: Your shoes should be polished to a mirror shine. Nothing looks worse than a dinner suit worn with shoes with a matte finish. Never wear sneakers or anything other than leather dress shoes with a dinner suit.

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Hats and Gloves: If you're a hat man (but few men are these days,) wear a black fedora or homburg with your dinner suit, but leave it in the coat check room. A top hat is considered inappropriate with a dinner suit, as are gloves - that is, unless you're there to steal the show!

Tails: Tails are not necessarily a given on a dinner suit. A dinner jacket can have tails, but you must follow the special fashion rules that come with them. Tails are considered classy, but the "fashion gods" have declared they can only be worn with a white bow tie. Do not wear a black tie with a dinner jacket that has tails.

White, black or midnight blue? This is a good question. Black or midnight blue dinner suits are the standard, but white dinner suits will stand out and look classy. A white dinner jacket with a black bow tie will make you look very James Bond-ish, which is a good thing. The white dinner jacket is something you could bring out in the spring or use for a great look at a summer wedding.

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At Montagio, it's part of our job to stay on top of the current trends and fashion dress codes so we are always giving you cutting edge advice about your wardrobe requirements. We take this responsibility seriously, and our master tailors are always at the top of their game. You can pop into our showroom any time or schedule a one-on-one personal session to discuss your needs and get your fashion questions answered.

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