The White Dinner Jacket


Sean Connery’s white dinner jacket in Goldfinger is just as iconic as the black dinner suit that introduced Bond in Dr. No, and there’s no better choice of clothing for an evening in the tropics. Just like the dinner suit in Dr. No is actually midnight blue and not black, this dinner jacket isn’t exactly white but rather an off white or ivory. Wool can never be a perfect white and tends to yellow over time. This dinner jacket is most likely made in a tropical wool; it doesn’t make sense to make a white dinner jacket in anything heavier. The quintessential white dinner jacket has a shawl collar but in Goldfinger Bond’s dinner jacket has the equally acceptable peak lapels. The lapels are self-faced; a white dinner jacket should not have silk facings like on a black dinner jacket. The jacket closes at the front with 1-button and has 4 buttons on each cuff, all in shiny white mother of pearl. The lower pockets are jetted without flaps and the back is without vents. The trousers are midnight blue with double forward pleats and Daks tops. Like in Dr. No, Bond foregoes the cummerbund.

A really unique part of this outfit is the shirt fabric, a white with a white satin stripe (close-up below). The shirt has a pleated front, spread collar and double cuffs. Bond wears an identical shirt later in the movie with a black dinner suit. The batwing-shaped bow tie is black satin silk.

And don’t forget the red carnation in the lapel. The stem sits in the buttonhole in the lapel and is held in place by a loop sewn behind the lapel.

38 thoughts on “The White Dinner Jacket

  1. Will there be any discussion of Mr. Bond's footwear? Besides the aforementioned brown suede chukkas, of course.

  2. Anon 2, I can't be certain if there is a stripe down the side, which is why I didn't write it. The shots of the trousers aren't very clear, but I would guess that there is a stripe. So I can't tell you for sure.

  3. Interesting, the white dinner jacket. Connery wears one again for some Las Vegas night scenes in Diamonds are Forever and Roger Moore follows on with a double breasted version in Man With the Golden Gun (in keeping with a numbwer of other double breasted suits and blazer he wears in this movie). It returns again and back to the single breasted number in Octopussy (with peak lapels) and A View to A Kill (with notch lapels). Since then it has never been seen.

    I am surprised Brosnan didn't manage it but maybe it's just seen as a bit unfashionable now?? I wore one on my honeymoon last year and got some favourable comments.

    Would be interested to hear other fan's opinions on this one.

  4. I'll be posting more white dinner jackets by the time summer comes around. So far, whenever Brosnan or Craig has worn a dinner jacket it has been in a temperate climate so they never had the occasion to wear a white dinner jacket. Brosnan might have been able to pull it off in Monte Carlo in GoldenEye, but I don't know how the British feel about wearing white dinner jackets there. Perhaps later on I'll post some of Brosnan's white dinner jackets from Remington Steele, he looked great in them. Mexico in LTK might count as a missed opportunity, but the whole movie was a missed opportunity.

  5. A black low-cut waistcoat is great with a white dinner jacket. Pierce Brosnan did it occasionally on Remington Steele. The cummerbund is the other alternative.

    • I don’t believe so. A white waistcoat (and the stiff collar that accompanies it) is too formal for a white dinner jacket. You can wear a black low-cut waistcoat or a cummerbund. And the shirt should have a soft turn-down collar.

  6. Talking about shoes, is it acceptable to wear, either Oxford or Wing Tipped laced black shoes with Ivory One button Dinner Jacket and Black slacks with a satin strip running down the sides?

    • Wing-tip shoes should never be worn with black tie. Black patent leather plain-toe oxfords or pumps are ideal, but regular black cap-toe oxfords can work as well.

  7. How would you compare this to the Indiana Jones look in the opening scenes of Temple of Doom? Indy’s outfit is strongly influenced by this (down to the red carnation), but the dinner jacket seems whiter.

    • It might be a little whiter. Indiana Jones’ dinner jacket has the peak lapels and red carnation in common, but everything else is much different. The carnation is a nice tribute, but the similarities end there. The outfit overall is more inspired by the 1930s than it is by James Bond. It’s true to it’s time, with the more formal shirt borrowed from white tie, a waistcoat and wide lapels.

  8. Man this jacket is a true beauty and a staple for every man! how much do these jackets cost? and midnight navy trousers, i always thought they were black. i guess you could go either way. would a white dinner jacket like this be appropriate for a wedding and its reception?

  9. Isn’t the button stance even lower as Connery’s two-button jackets’ ones ? Or is it just the high gorge that create this impression ?

    • It looks about the same. You’re right about the lapels, though it’s the peak lapel that really extends the line. When you compare the button stance to Roger Moore’s white dinner jackets in Octopussy and A View to a Kill, Connery’s is noticeably higher.

  10. Thank you for this website. I do enjoy it.

    With Goldfinger, though, I would be interested in your advice on the correct way to wear a duck on one’s head, as Connery does in the pretitle sequence.

    Regards

  11. Matt, you didn’t precise, but I guess natural shoulders as usual ? Their width looks certainly impressive !…

  12. I’ve always been skeptical about white dinner jackets and when I read of wearing waistcoats with them I’m left wondering about practicality given that the premise for the white is (apparently) tropical heat.
    Outstanding website and wonderful enthusiastic posters

  13. Matt, since you once posted an article about the first (TV) adaptation of Casino Royale, in the 1950’s, I presume you have the dvd.
    Isn’t Peter Lorre wearing a white double-breasted jacket with silk facings (!) on the lapels in this movie ? Have you any idea why ? It’s quite strange, since in the 1950’s people were taking clothing a little more seriously than today.

    I can also post a link if you don’t have the dvd, of course.

  14. Interesting site – thank you. On ‘white’ dinner jackets. There is a scene early on in ‘The World of Suzy Wong’ when several gentlemen in Hong Kong are wearing more of a beige color. Are these still worn today? Are they only for the sub-tropics?

    • Few enough people wear white dinner jackets that you’ll hardly find anyone who wears a beige dinner jacket. Beige dinner jackets are treated the same way as white.

  15. I’d love to buy a close-as-possible replica of this beautiful suit for my wedding, but I’m having a hard time finding anything really even close. I should keep the whole outfit under $1,00o. Actually I should keep a lot under that since although I’d like to THINK of myself as the kind of man who would have occasion to ever wear it again, in reality it’s sadly unlikely. Still I don’t want to rent because that seems so phony somehow. My budget may be unrealistic.

    Can you suggest sources?

    • To get something close to this outfit the clothes will need to be custom-made. You might find a similar dinner jacket (the lapels will probably be wider), but few shops sell the black dinner suit trousers without the dinner jacket. And you’ll have an even harder time just finding trousers in this style, with a proper rise and forward pleats. The rise is important because Connery doesn’t wear a cummerbund. If you wear modern low-rise trousers your shirt will show below your jacket button, and that looks very sloppy. You’ll also never find a shirt in this kind of pattern ready-to-wear. A rental shop wouldn’t have clothes just like these anyway. To get this same look and do it right will cost well over $1,000 because the clothes need to be made for you. You can search eBay for a similar jacket and trousers.

    • Thanks for the quick, thorough reply. I was afraid it might be more expensive, and I’d want to do it right. I don’t even know how to go about finding someone who could do this. I can just google it, but what’s a good search phrase? Custom clothing? I really should just forget about it because of the cost, but maybe I’ll press on and at least find out just what the cost would be.

    • It has to be someone who can measure you in person. Online made-to-measure almost never comes out well. Mytailor.com travels and has a good reputation, though I’ve only used them for shirts. They can surely make you the shirt if they have a satin stripe material, but I suspect it will be expensive, around $200.

    • You say the trousers are midnight blue. Do you have any evidence of this, or are you guessing? I mean no offense in that perhaps poorly worded question. They appear black to me, both in your photos and in an HD copy of Goldfinger. What makes you say they’re midnight blue? I’m really just curious as to your evidence. I actually have an appointment with mytailer.com tomorrow to have this outfit made. Turns out it’ll cost between $1,100 and $1,700 for the jacket, shirt, and trousers, which, while it’s probably worth it given the generally favorable reviews I’ve read of mytailor, is a ridiculous sum for a poor working stiff like myself. ;-) Still, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for my wedding, and if you compare it to what some women pay for wedding dresses, it hardly seems excessive (got to rationalize it somehow). I’ve thought about doing the Temple of Doom Indiana Jones white tuxedo instead because the rest of the outfit aside from the jacket could be reasonably duplicated off-the-rack. I really love the Goldfinger tuxedo, though. Love your site, by the way.

  16. Hmm. Maybe that’s just the Blu? ;-) Okay, your Blu-ray trumps my iTunes Store HD, at least I think it does.

    • Since midnight blue is effectively a blue-tinted black it can be difficult to tell unless the lighting is bright. So when you chose a midnight blue cloth, it should look black.

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