My White Dinner Jacket: Take II

(The Black Tie Guide)

Before and after alterations.

Well it took quite a while but I finally got my Jos. A. Bank white dinner jacket back from the tailors.  As I mentioned in  a previous post, it fitted so poorly that it had to be completely taken apart and reconstructed.  The shoulders are now more natural, the waist is tapered, the sleeves have been taken in, the length has been shortened and the centre vent closed.  I also had the ends of the shawl collar tapered to look more refined, flattering and typical of other shawl collars.  I still have a few more modifications to get done – removing the pocket flaps, shortening the sleeves further, among others – but you can see how much better the jacket looks now.  While I’m happy with the results I’m obviously disappointed that I had to  spend more on alterations that I did on the purchase.

This being my first white dinner jacket I have learned that there are some special considerations unique to jackets made translucent by their light colour and  light weight.  Not only is the tone of dark underlying garments going to be partially visible (thus the need for white suspenders) but so will the inner construction of the jacket.  The primary examples of this are the edges of the shoulder pads and the overlapping fabric at the jacket’s various seams.  Such are the trade-offs for a jacket designed to provide maximum comfort in tropical climes.

I have also discovered the importance of a trim-fit shirt with such jackets.  The folds of excess  fabric from regular shirts that would normally be pressed flat when worn underneath standard-weight jackets instead create corresponding folds in the thinner material of lightweight jackets.  Furthermore, the shadows created by these folds that are practically unnoticeable in dark jackets become highly visible in off-white models.  This is evident in the photos above where  I wore a cheap, baggy formal shirt: you can  see how the jacket sleeves’ ability to hang properly are disrupted by the bulky shirt sleeves bunched up underneath.

After all this time, effort and money I’m anxious for an opportunity to debut the finished jacket.   While my Caribbean cruise next February is a perfect occasion to do so, I hope I can find an excuse much sooner than that!

All dressed up and rarin’ to go.

8 Comments

  1. omschiefslr

    Great work, Peter! Yes the shoulders look fantastic altered and it fits you very well. Have fun with it!

    Reply
  2. jovantheun1337

    Why not just tuck in the pocket flaps?

    Reply
    1. omschiefslr

      As Peter has stated, the inferior portion of the bessom pockets tend to sag over time. It looks smarter to have them removed and sewn closed. Yes, you can tuck them in. I had mine removed and sewn closed on my Ivory Dinner Jacket.

      Reply
    2. Peter Marshall

      Also, they would still be adding unnecessary bulk.

      Reply
  3. JP

    Peter, can you tell me what you asked for when you got this jacket tailored? I have a similar predicament with my white dinner jacket which I inherited, with the shoulders being less than half an inch too wide, and the chest and waist and sleeves being too full. As well as the jacket being too long. I want to invest on mine to make it fit better as well.

    Reply
    1. omschiefslr

      Unfortunately JP, I have had the same problem with Jos. A. Bank jackets. The shoulders are bulky and usually too wide for the stated size. My Jos. A. Bank Ivory DJ shoulders do not fit well. It was a minor investment in my formal kit. My tailor has changed the pockets and removed the back vent, but he was not willing to deconstruct the shoulders. I plan to upgrade the jacket in the future.

      Reply
    2. Peter Marshall

      The foolproof method is to bring a jacket with a fit and a cut that you like. That way you can simply show the tailor the precise results you’re after rather than struggling to describe the alterations verbally. And if he doesn’t get it right the first time (which is quite possible with such major alterations) don’t hesitate to request further alterations.
      P.S. I wore my jacket for the first time on a recent cruise and it was worth all the effort!

      Reply
      1. JP

        Thanks for the advice Peter, I hope my current tailor is skilled enough to make the adjustments I want based on my best fitting coat.

        Reply

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