A birthday (dinner) suit?

Celebrated my birthday recently, this time with a black tie optional cocktail party theme. It seemed to be a fair hit with everyone!

I did get a few gifts despite saying they were not necessary. (One should not solicit gifts for their birthday party, it is unladylike/ungentlemanly.) Along with a couple of gift cards to restaurants, I received a pair of touchscreen-compatible leather gloves for winter (that don't look like it, which is great for someone with traditional clothing tastes who is in tune with technology) and a cashmere herringbone scarf. I shall be giving them all handwritten thank you notes at the soonest convenience.

Though I was the only one in real black tie (every other gentleman was in a suit), they said the idea of "dressing up" more often appealed to them. By that they merely mean a suit or sheath dress, but finding opportunities to look good is always a worthwhile endeavour whether it's informal or semi-formal.

Regardless, it's a proven fact (okay more like personal opinion) that dress codes bring out the best in one's appearance. I have never seen my female friends look more glamourous or my male friends look as handsome as they did that night. Next week we've planned for happy hour cocktails at one of the nicest bars and restaurants in town. In a three piece suit because... well, why not? Though often known as a "yuppie hangout" here, I can assure you that Vintage 423 is well worth going to if you're looking for fine dining and drinks in Albuquerque.

The complete ensemble. I must let out these trousers a bit more, as wearing braces tends to hike them up.

Only wish it had a lapel hole.

Proper black tie waistcoat, low cut with three buttons.

Only one sleeve button, a rather unusual detail even on dinner jackets.

I really must find more appropriate black tie shoes than Allen Edmonds Park Avenue. Shame, shame, shame on me for letting this slip yet again.


  1. Well I don't mean this as any disrespect to you but any place that has "happy hour" can't possibly qualify as fine dining. At least in my book. Places like that are trying to be too many things to too many people (including the yuppies you mention who hang out there). Now I'm not saying you can't have fine cuisine at a restaurant, but that sort of atmosphere doesn't qualify it as fine dining per se. Again, just my take.

    I like the rig you put together, but the pants are a bit short as you say (easily fixed) and I find the choice of all-satin vest a little off. Also your sleeve is rumpling which is weird since the shoulders look okay in width. Why would you want a lapel hole though? Those interrupt the clean lines of a tuxedo lapel. They never put them on tuxedos.

    Enjoy the blog, hope I'm not being too critical, thanks for the posts.

    1. I'll politely disagree with you, as the noise level is never too high there and the waitstaff are professional. It makes sense for places like that to have happy hour and lunch that isn't too expensive, as it gets them more business besides the well-off on a daily basis. Another place that does such a thing here is Marcello's Chophouse. It also retains a good, quiet atmosphere. I don't think these things make them any less nice and they don't have loud televisions with sports on them or anything. Just my opinion of course.

      Thanks for the compliment and for reading my blog. Unfortunately it's hard to find a proper waistcoat that is low cut with three or four buttons and matches the fabric of a separate dinner suit. This dinner suit was found at a thrift store without a matching waistcoat. So I compromised a bit and found a secondhand backless waistcoat for pretty cheap.

      A lapel hole is another thing I must disagree on. It looks good and is not completely uncommon today. High end manufacturers like Kiton as well as bespoke tailors put them on all the time. IMO, those who won't put them on peak or notch lapel tuxedos are simply cheaping out, as it's not very cost prohibitive and adds some visual interest there. Black tie isn't always about having the cleanest lines. If it were, we'd wear featureless waistcoats and cummerbunds! It just comes down to vestiges that look visually appealing and still differentiate it enough from a business suit. See my article here about lapel holes and how they relate to black tie: http://nouveauvintage.blogspot.com/2013/11/floral-arrangements.html

      Eventually I'll replace this with a MTM shawl collar dinner suit (worn with cummerbund, naturally), so the problem with the sleeve pitch which is causing the rumpling may not be worth altering. Trouser alterations are pretty simple though.


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