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.