Alternative Eveningwear

If a traditional tux feels like a uniform, well, that’s pretty much the point—to put the men in uniform so the ladies can strut their stuff. But not every dressy affair requires a guy to stifle his inner peacock. Here is one man’s case for why your formal wardrobe should extend beyond the black.


Nothing is worse than an ill-fitting dinner jacket. You know, the type favored by waiters in bad, pretentious restaurants, banquet halls and function rooms. Nothing is wrong, of course, with a properly fitting, understated, classic proper black tuxedo. It is something every gentleman should have, to slip on for evenings when best behavior is expected. Sometimes, however, you need to impress ex-girlfriends. Or future girlfriends. Or young Brazilian models. On those occasions, I like to wear something with a bit more flair.

Your alternative eveningwear might perhaps be more fitted, more tailored, more fashionable. Debonair, debauched, disheveled: all fine. With a hint of punk attitude? Maybe bottle green suede or a printed silk jacquard in the darkest of dark blue, with a steely gray. I favor shorter jacket sleeves, to show some shirtsleeve.

These days I like to wear a white dinner jacket, whether it’s winter or summer. I have a d’Avenza fitted white cashmere jacket from New York’s most debonair tailor: Fabrizio Volterra at David Chu Bespoke. I wear it practically everywhere. I went to my Cambridge University 20th reunion last month. Jem Fawcus, my friend who just married Clare Cameron, the Prime Minister’s sister, has strong opinions about these things. He informed me sternly that “One never wears a white dinner jacket in England.” I thanked him for this sartorial advice but thought to myself “screw it – the girls don’t seem to mind.”

A regular contributor to Gilt MANual, Euan Rellie is a New York based investment banker and bon vivant who holds the distinction, among many others, of being the first man to mention the words “Thom Browne” in print.

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