Dinner Jacket vs. Suit Jacket: What’s the Difference?

Dinner Jacket vs. Suit Jacket

At first glance, a dinner jacket and a suit jacket look super similar. But there are some important differences between these two pieces. One of the biggest differences relates to when they are appropriate to wear. Discover more about each of these jackets so you can choose the most stylish one to match the occasion.

What Is a Dinner Jacket?

Picture a tuxedo jacket, and you’ll see some similarities to a dinner jacket. This sleek jacket is best known for its satin lapels. You may see this jacket with a peak lapel design or with a shawl collar. One of the most appealing things about this timeless jacket is the variety of patterns and colors.

When you think of this jacket, you may envision someone in white with black satin lapels. This is a classic look that never goes out of style. A dinner jacket can also feature an eye-catching plaid pattern or distinctive jacquard. These patterns allow you to mix some more color into your ensemble. In addition, the patterns contribute depth and texture to the look of this piece. Sometimes, these details can make all the difference in your formal look.

The dinner jacket fabric is what makes it a garment for special occasions. Typically, dinner jackets are made of silk, velvet and other luxurious materials. A white dress shirt is the perfect go-to to wear with a dinner jacket. For a different look, you can choose a black or gray dress shirt to pair with a dark tie. A French cuff is a trendy choice for this jacket style.

Wearing a black bowtie or a narrow tie with your dinner jacket is a fashionable choice. Additionally, many dinner jackets may have a pocket square, depending on their design. If the dinner jacket has a dramatic pattern, it’s likely to have a patterned or bright pocket square that emphasizes the look.

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What Is a Suit Jacket?

Men’s suits typically have three main parts: pants, a dress shirt, and a suit jacket. So, a suit jacket is part of a set. This is different from men’s blazers. A men’s blazer is a standalone clothing piece you can mix and match with different outfits. A suit jacket is usually worn with a white dress shirt. For a fashionable look, men may choose a pastel-colored dress shirt to highlight colors in their tie and pocket square.

Similar to a dinner jacket, a suit jacket may or may not include a pocket square. It depends on the style of the suit and its color. Sometimes a man will add a pocket square to add to his creative vision for the suit. However, a side-by-side comparison of a suit jacket and a dinner jacket quickly reveals their differences.

A suit jacket typically has lapels in the same fabric as the rest of the suit. Alternatively, the body of a dinner jacket is a different type of fabric from its lapels.

Take a closer look at a suit jacket and you’ll likely see a two or three-button closure, while a dinner jacket normally has a single-button closure. Plus, suit jacket buttons are usually made with a polished finish, whereas a dinner jacket’s button may have a satin covering.

Most of the time, suit jackets have peaked lapels for a business-like appearance. Dinner jackets, on the other hand, often feature a shawl collar (rounded lapels). Of course, there are some dinner jackets with peaked lapels, so this is not a hard-and-fast difference between the two styles.

Either a skinny or normal tie is the traditional choice to pair with a suit jacket. A man wearing a dinner jacket is likely to wear a bowtie. But this rule can be broken to suit a man’s style preferences. Many skinny ties look elegant when paired with the right dinner jacket.

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When looking at the shoes to wear with either jacket, the shoes worn with a suit jacket are different from those worn with a dinner jacket. A suit jacket is usually worn with traditional brown or black lace-ups. The color you choose depends on your suit’s color. Alternatively, a pair of black patent leather shoes is a stylish choice to wear with a dinner jacket. These shoes can give your outfit an extra boost of formality. Black loafers are another fashionable option to pair with a dinner jacket.

When to Wear a Dinner Jacket

Dinner jackets are for formal occasions: weddings, elegant parties and black-tie events. When choosing the color of your dinner jacket, it’s helpful to consider the tone of the occasion.

A dinner jacket in black, navy blue or another solid color is appropriate for a formal wedding. Oftentimes, this type of wedding involves a sit-down dinner. This is a joyful yet classy occasion, so your dinner jacket should be subtle and elegant to match the tone. A white dinner jacket is suitable as well but is usually worn during the warm weather season.

A formal New Year’s Eve party or other event would be a better occasion for a dinner jacket with a colorful, playful design. A deep red or blue jacquard design or a tartan plaid pattern would attract attention and echo the lively tone of the occasion.

When To Wear a Suit Jacket

A suit jacket is usually considered business attire. Depending on the dress code at your workplace, you may wear a suit jacket every day. Suit jackets can be worn to weddings with a more casual dress code. Other occasions for a suit jacket include meetings with business clients, job interviews, conferences and funerals.

Make an Impression with a Stylish Jacket

Now that you have the facts, find a jacket that expresses your style while adhering to the dress code of the occasion. We hope this post was helpful!

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