Don Draper’s White Dinner Jacket
Don Draper’s approach to a white dinner jacket, typically reserved for summer, defines the attitude of a lighthearted and classy celebration. Take heed for any New Year’s Eve celebrations this week.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Madison Avenue ad man with a dark past
New York City, July 1962
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “The Gold Violin” (Episode 2.07)
Air Date: September 7, 2008
Director: Andrew Bernstein
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
We’ve seen Don Draper at work and at play. But when he’s invited to a soiree at the Stork Club one warm Monday night, Draper channels James Bond and pulls out his summer dinner jacket.
By “The Gold Violin”, the seventh episode of the second season, Draper has engaged in a full affair with the wife of entertainer Jimmy Barrett. His professional life is on the rise and, as evidenced by his Cadillac, he’s “arrived”.
However, the party at the Stork Club proves to be a bad decision and marks the beginning of the end for Don and trophy wife Betty.
What’d He Wear?
Don proudly struts into the Stork Club, Betty on his arm, wearing a ventless single-breasted dinner jacket. He looks like a strong and proud man of the ’60s, with sleek thin shawl lapels faced in the same material as the white jacket, save for satin-faced edges.
The jacket closes in the front with one button, just underneath the gentle rolls where the lapels meet. The open breast pocket is sans pocketsquare for the evening and the two hip pockets feature straight flaps. Each cuff is detailed with two buttons.
Underneath his jacket, Don wears a white formal shirt with turndown collars and extremely thin pleats. The placket features a series of round gold studs that match the cuff links in Don’s double/French cuffs.
The thin black bow tie, height of ’60s American formalwear, recalls a passage from Chapter 8 of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, the book that introduced the world to James Bond:
As he tied his thin, double-ended black satin tie, he paused for a moment and examined himself levelly in the mirror.
It’s not hard to imagine Draper imagining himself in the same scenario.
Don’s black trousers are not seen too clearly, but they appear to have open side pockets and cuffed bottoms. Although formal trousers with a side stripe would be correct here, the side stripe isn’t visible in one of the few shots we get of Don’s pants.
His waist covering isn’t seen clearly, but – based on other episodes – he likely wears a black cummerbund.
Don completes his formal summer ensemble with black leather laced shoes and thin black dress socks.
Finally, Don wears his typical Season 2 wristwatch, a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique with a brown alligator leather strap, white rectangular face, and a rose gold case and buckle.
Go Big or Go Home
For an evening out at the Stork Club, Don takes advantage of lenient ’60s mores to look cool with a lit Lucky Strike in one hand and a cycle of Old Fashioneds in the other.
How to Get the Look
It’s a very distinctive ’60s look. If you can make it work, kudos and let us know; when it’s done right, it’s done very right:
- White single-breasted single-button dinner jacket with narrow self-faced shawl lapels, open breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Black formal trousers with side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms
- White tuxedo shirt with point collar, narrow pleats, and double/French cuffs
- Gold shirt studs
- Gold cuff links
- Black thin bowtie
- Black leather oxford shoes
- Black thin dress socks
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique wristwatch with a rectangular rose gold case and brown alligator leather strap
How to Be Don
The lesson here is to remain unfazed. In the face of his domineering mistress in a crowd including her husband and his own wife, he smiles and takes a drink. After being confronted by a little schmuck he’s been cuckolding, Don stands firm and puts the man in his place with a simple “Excuse me?”
(Okay, so cuckolding sucks – especially if you’re already married – but we’re on Team Draper at BAMF Style.)
On the other end, want to shake up a guy like Don? Spontaneously vomit in his car… he’ll flip out by slowly moving his head to the right.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the second season.
I don’t know what you think happened.
A non-denial denial. Classic Draper.