The Dinner Jacket, A Brief History

Victorian Dinner Jacket

No doubt many of you will be reaching into the depths of your wardrobes to bring out the dinner jacket for its annual round of Christmas soirees. So here I take a look at its components and how exactly they found their way into fashion.

The cummerbund has rather exotic origins and was first adopted by British officers in colonial India as a cooler alternative to a waistcoat and are still more commonly warn to summer events. Usually paired with a single breasted dinner jacket they are often pleated. Traditionally these pleats faced upwards and were utilised to hold ticket stubs. Though these days the effect is usually purely aesthetic.

The all important bow tie, originating from Croatian mercenaries in the Prussian war who tied a scarf around their necks to hold together their shirt opening, this was soon adopted by the French middle class and became what we now know as the cravat, eventually morphing into the bow tie by the 19th century.

The brave and skilled amongst you will tie your own. However if the thought of attempting this leaves you reaching for the mulled wine, fear not there are plenty of videos to help you along, I particularly enjoyed this one! . And if all else fails a clip on bow tie and a self tie in your pocket to crack out when collars have been undone will no doubt fool everybody.