The Buffalo Club


(Courtesy of The Buffalo Club)

Reader Bill Cleary from Buffalo, New York (seen on the right) is living the formal dream, as are his fellow members of The Buffalo Club.  The club is steeped in tradition having been incorporated in 1867 by a group of men that included former U.S. president Millard Fillmore.  A book published for the organization’s 125th anniversary commented on its remarkable longevity:

Perhaps the most amazing fact about the Club… is not that it survived the years, but that it survived them with essentially the same declared policies which the founders had in mind. It began merely as a group for the purpose of fostering social intercourse, and it is just that today and always has been. It was founded by the leading business and professional men [and women] of Buffalo of 1866… and it still includes and always has included the leading business and professional men of Buffalo.”

Bill is a member of The Board of Directors which means he gets to dress up regularly for their black-tie monthly meetings.  In addition, the Club has a Past Presidents Ball every December which calls for white tie and on New Year’s Day each year morning dress is worn.  For one of those New Year’s affairs Bill actually wore his grandfather’s custom-tailored morning outfit from 1933.

It doesn’t get much more formal than that, at least on this side of the Atlantic.


On a related note, Buffalo and Toronto are separated by a short two-hour drive and Torontonians like me often visit our southern neighbour for a bit of cross-boarder shopping.  On my most recent trip I made a point of staying off the highways and out of the suburbs and was consequently flabbergasted by the previously unnoticed architectural heritage of this unassuming city.  The jewel in the crown is certainly Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex which is undergoing an astonishing $50 million dollar restoration and which is expected to become the architect’s second most visited house after Fallingwater.  If you’re an architecture buff within driving distance, Buffalo is certainly worth the trip.


  1. John Van Wyk

    Many thanks for sharing this information and photo. Oh, to get to wear black tie on a regular basis! Maybe like-minded devotees in this area could form such a club.

    I wonder what other posters’ thoughts are on the correctness of wearing of non-black ties (as pictured above) with tuxedos by adults (not prom-goers) as “black tie” wear.

    1. Peter Marshall

      …keeping in mind the distinction between public events and members-only events.

  2. Cygnus

    I really don’t have a problem with people wearing differently-coloured bow ties at some black-tie events. For example, I might consider wearing a tie in the colours of the host organization to a black-tie dinner or gala at a university or club. In these cases (and in my opinion), the display of “spirit” more than makes up for it not being “proper” attire.

    That said, unless you are a member of said organization AND familiar/comfortable enough with the dress code and other attendees, black is always the safest and best bet.

    1. John Van Wyk

      Cygnus and Mr. Marshall, thank you for your posts. You both raise good points. Other thoughts on this subject?

  3. Hal

    I’d agree. Club, college or university colours are common at events that relate to those organisations.

    Personally, however, I’ve always worn plain black.


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