Reader Role Models: Posh in Pennsylvania

(courtesy of Stephen Sader)

Steve Sader is one of the very few Americans who attends white-tie occasions on a regular basis.  He likes to attend both the The Philadelphia Assembly – a highly prestigious and aristocratic ball dating all the way back to 1748 – and the Academy of Music Anniversary Concert and Ball, this year celebrating the Academy’s 156th anniversary.

His current dress suit consists of a Ralph Lauren tailcoat and bespoke trousers tailored from virtually identical fabric adorned with a double stripe of actual military braid.  His waistcoat is a ready-to-wear backless model with functional pockets added by a tailor.  His detachable-collar shirt and collar is from British haberdasher Darcy Clothing and the shoes are calf leather cap-toe oxfords.  Says Steve of his choice of footwear, “I don’t like the high gloss shine of patent and think it detracts from the whole look of the full dress.  My reasoning is also grounded in the fact that traditional military dress, from whence full dress is derived, did not have military officers wearing patent leather Wellingtons!”

Academy of Music [156th] Anniversary Concert and Ball (courtesy of Stephen Sader)

Academy of Music 156th Anniversary Concert and Ball (courtesy of Stephen Sader)


This post is part of an ongoing series showing real-life examples of how to successfully execute black tie. If you’d like to share your own success story please drop me a line.


  1. Cygnus

    I really love white tie when it’s done well, and Mr. Sader definitely does it well!

    If Mr. Sader is reading, I was wondering where he acquired both his top hat (which appears to be polished silk plush) and the black military braid for his trousers. I know top hats appear on eBay from time to time, but I haven’t had much luck in tracking down authentic braid. If anybody else knows of a supplier, I would be most grateful for recommendations.

    1. Steve Sader

      Thank you, Cygnus for your kind words. Sorry I took so long getting back to your inquiry but I misfiled my top hat receipts and just re-located them. My hat is all silk and non-collapsible. I purchased it from Uniformalwearhouse in Fairfield, NJ. They have a great web site with a lot of quality merchandise for formal wear and evening dress at very reasonable prices. My hat is their model HT17-01 and costs $219.95.

      For the military braid, you can, as suggested by Joe Zasada, try Stokes International in Canada, although I didn’t see any 3/4″ braid, only 1/2″, and the ribs were all the same size. You could also try They show a 3/4″ black sleeve braid that could work doubled up as a trouser braid with a 1/32 space between them for an overall double stripe of 1 1/2″. However, all the ribs in their braids have all the same size and spacing.

      I could not find anywhere the fancier multi-ribbed braid my tailor used. If you are looking for a more regimental and fancier braid, try contacting Brian Lipstein, the owner of Henry A. Davidsen Master Tailors in Philadelphia. They are at 1701 Spruce Street, 2nd Floor, Philadlephia, Pa 19103, 888-508-5570. If you call Brian, tell him I referred you to him and you want the same 3/4″ fancy black stripe braid he did for me on my trousers for a total width of 1 1/2″ after doubling. You may want to mail him your trousers and let him do the work and return them to you when finished.

      I hope this info is helpful to you. Good luck with the top hat and braid. Cheers and all the best!
      Steve Sader

  2. shaftoe

    Sad about the metal buckle on the bow tie.

  3. LAStyleGuy

    Also, not sure about the shoes–are they patent?

    1. Cygnus

      The shoes are explained in the post.

  4. Joe Zasada

    For braid I would suggest Stokes International out of Toronto, they have many different braids including black ones. You should be able to have a double stripe done; the 1/2″ would probably be ideal.

  5. Jovan

    What’s really sad is that only one comment here is applauding the guy for doing what he does.

    Exposed buckle notwithstanding, this is a great getup and I wish I had the opportunities he does to dress in white tie.

    1. Peter Marshall

      Well said Jovan.

  6. Hal

    I agree. I’m only jealous I don’t get to wear white tie myself.

    And I agree about the shoes. Personally, I’d always prefer well polished calfskin to patent.

  7. Stuff

    Just looking through some old posts, and yeah, I’ve got to say, for whatever things I would or wouldn’t change, Mr. Sader looks awesome.


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