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The Rule of Style

SamuelsohnMenswear has always been about the rule of style. Since some early Egyptian pharaoh draped his linen across his shoulders just so, men have followed the lead of the rich and powerful.

Those who dared to dress differently were often ridiculed, unless they knew the rules and broke the ones deemed archaic or rigid. Beau Brummel, Fred Astaire, the Duke of Windsor, and Gianni Agnelli knew the rules of fine men’s dress, but chose to create their own.

To this end, we would like to promote the midnight blue dinner jacket. Radical since the 1930’s, midnight blue imparts a richness and depth not witnessed in the more mundane black. We are not speaking of royal or navy, but of a shade of a starless sky, cool and crisp, and darker than black. The cloth should have the subtlest sheen, or none at all, in order to contrast with
the lapels.

Our favorite lapel facing is grosgrain, a ribbed silk fabric, a little more subtle than the more common satin, and done in either of the two most formal lapel shapes, peak or shawl. With a proliferation of peak lapels in both single and double breasted suit jackets, the shawl lapel remains the only lapel exclusively seen in the more formal dinner jacket, but to each his own.

Formal or ceremonial dress brings with it it’s own set of rules, but that is set left for another lengthy dissertation.

Smoking or dinner jackets with a contrasting trouser? That too would be another story, of which we shall soon speak.

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