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The Good Life

The White Dinner Jacket

By Jack Bettridge | From The Bond Legacy, July/August 2020
The White Dinner Jacket
Photo/PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy Stock Photo

The opening scenes in Goldfinger managed to elevate the white dinner jacket from something that Harry Highschool rents for the prom to the coolest piece of warm-weather apparel out there. Wearing a scuba suit, James Bond swims to a drug factory, blows it up and casually unzips to reveal a tuxedo with white jacket. His work done, he’s ready for a night on the town.

Your evenings mightn’t be as thrill-packed as the man with a license to kill, but you can surely affect suave assurance in your game just by adding an ivory coat to your evening ensemble. It also doubles as a flexible garment for less formal occasions, according to custom clothing purveyor Jack Simpson. For that reason, he suggests following Bond’s lead and going with peaked lapels and not the traditional shawl collar, which is strictly formal and a bit fogeyish. (Avoid notched lapels altogether or risk being confused with the busboy.) Besides, says the style maven, peaked lapels are more flattering for most men as they are slimming.

Simpson also counsels to be like Bond and ditch the cummerbund, an accessory he considers antiquated and awkward to sit in. You might, however, consider a vest in the same shade, but in a contrasting fabric to the jacket’s, which should be lightweight wool or cashmere. A four-in-hand tie is acceptable and sometimes even preferable to a bowtie as the latter emphasizes facial width.

For added flexibility, Simpson will provide an extra set of buttons (covered in the same cloth as the jacket) to be switched out on occasion for the classic oyster pearl type. However, he doesn’t make them with cameras or explosives.

Visit jacksimpsoncouture.com

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