Summer's white dinner jacket is, like formal day wear, another of those rarely worn things whose place in the closet can be hard to justify. Good as it looks when it can be trotted out, the thing just does not have many opportunities unless one is some kind of hospitality director for a cruise ship. But, also like the stroller of yesterday's post, having one to wear is a great deal easier if it can do double duty. And, with credit to Luciano Barbera from whom I stole the idea, I have but two words for you dear reader: linen and suit.
The classic white or cream dinner jacket has a shawl lapel, but there is nothing that says a peak is not equally appropriate. And since those lapels are rarely if ever silk (the late paragon A. J. Drexel Biddle had two jackets in cream gabardine and both sets of lapels were self-faced), a conventional double breasted jacket can do double duty. Which leads me inexorably to the cream linen suit, a garment that has only somewhat more utility than the cream or white dinner jacket to anyone who is not spending his summer on the Amalfi coast. But pair the jacket with black semi-formal trousers as Ms. Fran Liebowitz has done in the photograph and it more than suffices for summer evenings. No-one but one's closest friends need know the difference.
Photo: Jonathan Becker