Reader Role Models: Vancouver Verve


It is always rewarding to hear from readers who say that The Black Tie Guide has been instrumental in assembling their proper formal outfit.  Even more satisfying is seeing pictures of the final results.  I want to start sharing some of these real-life stories as an inspiration to others.  They are irrefutable proof that a man does not require professional stylists or unlimited income to successfully execute black tie.  All he needs is the commitment to learn – and follow – the basic rules.

For the premiere installment I am delighted to present an anonymous reader from Vancouver who used the Guide as a shopping list for his impeccable ensemble.  The tuxedo is tailored from John Cooper worsted with grosgrain lapels, the shirt is marcella and the faille bow tie is from Thomas Pink.  The classically styled waistcoat is also custom tailored based on a description and illustration from the Guide.


  1. John Van Wyk

    Thanks to the poster for this picture. Outstanding looking ensemble! My one criticism is of the shoes–they could use an upgrade. Overall, though, superb effort!

  2. Serpens Albus

    So can anyone send you pictures and the story (in which case -where to)?
    My brother is an amateur photographer so I had him snap a couple of shots of me when I got mu dinner suit. Some of them turned out pretty good too.

    1. Peter Marshall

      I can be reached at peter_at_blacktieguide_dot_com. I look forward to hearing from you!

  3. Anon

    As the submitter – thanks, John! I’m limited in the shoe department by being vegetarian, and I hadn’t shined them for a while when I took those pictures. The shoes are , which are actually pretty decent dress shoes, but they don’t show their best from straight front on like that, and Vege Shoes’ ‘patent’ selection isn’t great.

    If anyone’s interested, the suit and shirt ran approx. $1300 U.S., including the vest. Would have been about $1200 with the tailor’s ‘regular’ fabric (I went up to the John Cooper). From a Hong Kong tailor I’ve been using for a while, he has my pattern from personal fittings in HK. If you have a bit of time to wait for a bow tie I highly recommend ‘Sam’ Hober – he does custom-made bow ties in a range of fabrics for $65, which is actually $5 less than I had to pay in a store for the Thomas Pink one.

    I had to buy the Pink one as I couldn’t wait for my Hober to arrive before the first time I needed to wear the outfit, but if I could’ve skipped it I would. If you absolutely need a ‘proper’ bow tie in Vancouver on short notice, the Pink ones from Holt Renfrew are the best option I could find. Other stores tend to have either nothing or a single self-tie model, invariably in black satin and fairly ‘blah’ (including even Harry Rosen…when I asked them for a formal bow tie they asked me ‘what color?’. Sigh.) Holts at least has a few to pick from, in a few different materials and widths.

    1. Anonymous

      I’m a little late to the party, but I’m also vegetarian and I’ve been considering a pair of those shoes for a little while. Are they a worthwhile purchase?

      All in all, a very nicely executed ensemble.

      1. Anon

        Even later to the reply, but in case you’re following along – they’re decent enough shoes for the price you pay, and you honestly don’t have any better options unless you give up the fight and go leather. (I’ve yet to give up the fight for shoes, but sometimes I do for hats; I try and buy vintage/second hand so I can tell myself at least that one was dead already anyway). They’re solid, made-in-England Oxfords, not much verve, but they hold together and they take a shine. I think they look a bit bad in these pictures because you can see the colour of the sole at the toes; it looks like the side of the soles is just painted black, and that’s worn away somewhat over time. Would probably be easy to fix with a bit of black paint, or a marker in a pinch.

        Anyway, yeah, they’re fine, and a decent deal for the price. But they’re not in the same league as the high-end designer/bespoke shoes you’ll find people at SF etc going nuts about, and I’ve never found a vegetarian shoe that is, so if you want something real nice, you’re stuck with dead animals.

        1. Anon

          Coming back to this later, just in case anyone catches the archives: I’ve since found the Brave Gentleman collaboration between Joshua Katcher and Novacas an interesting source of shoes – . Their “Executive” looks like something of an upgrade on the Vegetarian Shoes “Cambridge”, as it doesn’t have a cap toe. Still can’t find a decent ‘wholecut’ vegetarian oxford anywhere, though.

          The Executive is sold out in most sizes right now, but I expect they’ll do a restock or a new version at some point. I can’t really justify swapping out my “Cambridge”, but if I hadn’t bought a pair yet at all I’d be inclined to go with the “Executive”.

          They do much lighter/more casual stuff, but Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather – – also have some v. nice vegan options, and ship internationally. I’ve also found a couple of retailers who carry GGDWL, Novacas, Brave Gentleman, Vegetarian Shoes and a few other brands in the US and Canada: Moo Shoes ( ) of New York, and Nice Shoes ( ) of Vancouver.

          1. Anon

            Hah, and look at that, just found a wholecut:


            Haven’t seen one in person, but sure looks nice.

    2. Duncan

      Since acquiring it, where and when do you find occasions to wear your tuxedo in Vancouver? I am in the midst of assembling my ensemble for my wedding, and afterward my fiancée, and I want to find every opportunity possible to attend formal events. We would prefer to find some with reasonable ticket prices, as most I’ve come across are charitable balls requiring hefty contributions. When we are able, we will start attending these, but that will likely be some years.

  4. A. R

    Nothing but strong approval of this dinner jacket here!

  5. Duncan

    For any other Vancouver readers, I would like to point out that the city has several vintage clothing stores with fairly good selections of dinner suits. Cummerbunds are easily found, but waistcoats are a different story. I purchased my waistcoat from an online vintage site. Stores to check out are

    Deluxe Junk on Cordova, near Abbot.
    Lines on Main, just north of 22nd.
    Woo Vintage on Main, near 28th.

    There are a couple of others but the names escape me at the moment. Things that are difficult to track down in this city, either vintage or new, are bow ties (as mentioned above – and ,yes ,even Harry Rosen’s offering is disappointing; I tried it on two days ago), vests/waistcoats, formal shirts, and shoes. Harry Rosen does carry some beautiful Ferragamo patent oxfords and opera pumps, coming in at a paltry $800. They were, however, a lot of fun to try on. It was the first time I’d put the whole outfit together since buying my dinner suit (vintage from Lines), albeit using an, old, ordinary white shirt as a stand in until I can get my hands on the marcella shirt I’m after.


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