The Burma shade summer dinner jacket

Esquire, August 1936: “The old summer formal combination of blue jacket and white flannels got the gong because of its obvious incongruity with summer evening dresses.

“Hence the white dinner jacket was welcomed with open arms and although its vogue was threatened momentarily by the ridiculous mess jacket craze, it has since gained ground each season, its position being strengthened rather than weakened by the introduction of such colour touches as the use of dark green or midnight blue bow ties with matching cummerbund and hose.

“The single-breasted white shawl collar dinner jacket, however, remains entrenched as the most popular summer formal garment. There has been a tendency to go in for colour in dinner jackets, and the grey double-breasted in the background has limited fashionable acceptance. But the favourite deviation from the norm of white is the new Burma shade, shown in the foreground.”

As ever, the discussion over the dominant colour in evening wear is more interesting than the accessories. I can’t condone green bow ties or cummerbunds, but Burma or grey is genuinely interesting. Just like brown and midnight blue, mohair and silk, it adds depth and subtle interest.