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Masonic Sartorial Question

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Bro.Raymond View Drop Down
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    Posted: February/06/2016 at 4:19pm
This will be my first post (after my introduction), and I am curious as to what other potentially sartorial masons my think of the following.

First, I would like to state that I enjoy sartorial discussions and looking gentlemanly in all of my actions, which includes my dress code. With that, I wear a suit daily even though very few people I work with wear a suit that often. I wear them because I like the way they make me feel, and I personally believe it is the sign of a gentleman to dress the best you are able given the situation and your personal budget. Obviously, a mechanic wearing a business suit while working on a car would be silly, regardless of budget.

To give a sense of my personal style, I wear mostly pseudo-bespoke suites (hand measured, but the actual manufacturing is farmed out), as my budget does not allow for full bespoke. About 90% of my shirts have french cuff to allow for cuff links. I am also a little odd (by American standards) and wear braces in lieu of a belt and was made fun of slightly when going through my initiation by a couple brothers as I wear shirt suspenders (they attach the bottom of my shirt to the top of my socks). I always wear a tie and I coordinate (not match...) my socks, tie and pocket square with the secondary color of my shirt (if it is not a solid).

The reason I gave this background is to show, my question is not as odd as it may appear at first glance. There are many men who like engaging in sartorial conversations. If you are not one of them, please keep the razzing to a minimum as I am sure it is coming. Embarrassed

Ok, on to the question. When wearing black tie, or tuxedo, there are several shoe options. Considered to be the highest on the list is a pair of patent leather opera shoes with a bow that matches the lapel material (i.e. Grosgrain with Grosgrain or Satin with Satin). I have adopted this to the more American "opera shoe" made by Hugo Boss called the Mellian. I have received many compliments, and only once in many years did I have an older gentlemen tell me these were not "real opera shoes."

However there is another level of shoes that are reserved for the host of a black tie event; the velvet slipper. I have only seen this worn (appropriately as a host) on a single occasion, and I did not attend, I was only shown pictures from a colleague who attended.

Now, I am just a Fellow Craft who prays I will be balloted through this week and raised at our next meeting; so I am a long way off from being WM, if I am ever deemed worthy that is. With that, would you think the Worshipful Master would be considered the "Host," therefore qualifies from a sartorial stance to wear velvet slipper with his tuxedo?

Thanks in advance for both reading my ridiculously long post, and any potential answers,

-Raymond Tayse


Edited by Bro.Raymond - February/06/2016 at 4:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sec'yBob Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2016 at 5:14pm
Brother Raymond

In Missouri......................clothing is an option   Let me explain.

Inside the city, [downtown St. Louis] you are expected [read you will] wear a tux or at least a very nice black suit.  I have attended some Prince Hall degrees  and they dress very well, mostly tux's.

As you move away from the city, to the suburbs, light casual wear is common, with a few suits, but mostly office casual.

When you get out to the rural areas, blue jeans, overalls, boots is the norm.

All this being said, you wear what you want.  Masonry [Masons] are judged by their internal values, not the external.  I personally do not like to wear tux's [or  suits] after wearing a suit all day  but I do what I need to do, with respect to my brothers and the Lodge.
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Brother Bob,

I am new and will not quote as I am not 100% certain. However, I have been told that all officers must wear a tuxedo. I am neither an officer, nor am I even a Master Mason yet.

My question was not about what clothing (tux, suit, overalls, etc...) is expected to be worn. My actual question is at the end of the read and is a very specific sartorial question in regards to footwear (when wearing a tux) and potentially sitting in the East. Velvet slippers are traditionally reserved for the person hosting a private event in ones home or private club.

Thus, my question being less mason oriented (certainly not what is appropriate under a specific jurisdiction), rather the opinion of an equally sartorial brother in regards to velvet slippers with a tux when in reference to tradition of being a host.

Sorry for any confusion.

-Raymond Tayse
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2016 at 5:57pm
 HaHa  ...   your sartorial etiquette is way beyond what most of us here grew up with.   My Lodge is country and dress is everyday casual.   ... But may be, there is Brother on the forums who might be able to help coordination of 'shoe etiquette' with your sartorial selections properly.

Anyway  to me  ... a 'black tie affair' means dark suit with a black tie.   A tux is for getting married (the first time0.
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Originally posted by edwmax edwmax wrote:

 HaHa  ...   your sartorial etiquette is way beyond what most of us here grew up with.   My Lodge is country and dress is everyday casual.   ... But may be, there is Brother on the forums who might be able to help coordination of 'shoe etiquette' with your sartorial selections properly.

Anyway  to me  ... a 'black tie affair' means dark suit with a black tie.   A tux is for getting married (the first time0.

Oh my... We certainly have different definitions of Black Tie...

It is ok though, clothing, fashion, and general sartorial conversations often consist of a vast expanse of opinions. Also, may it be noted that I, with full recognition and acceptance, understood a bit of razzing would take place in regards to my question and statements. Embarrassed

I assure you, my blood brothers, and other relatives give me a very hard time about my wardrobe; they mostly hailing from Tennessee and Texas. I believe the term most thrown about (I pretend it is endearing) is "Dandy"....

-Raymond Tayse
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/06/2016 at 6:43pm
I am probably the last person in the world to ask about the rules regarding formal wear, but I believe I can answer your question about the status of a Master of a lodge. I do not believe that the Master of a lodge is a "host" in the strict sense of the term. The duties of a Master of a Masonic Lodge are spelled out in the opening and closing of the Lodge, and elsewhere in the ritual. Very broadly speaking, the Master of a Masonic Lodge rules and governs his Lodge, whereas a "host" sponsors and/or provides the physical setting of an event. For a Masonic meeting, the "host" would be the Lodge itself. The Master would preside, but not be the "host," so I don't think velvet slippers would be necessary, even under the strictest rules of formal wear.

That being said, each Grand Lodge has its own rules about proper dress at Masonic meetings and so long as it is not specifically prohibited, I see no reason why a Master could not wear velvet slippers with his tuxedo if he desires. Of course, anyone else wearing a tux at the meeting could do so as well. 

For all I know, some Grand Lodges may require Master's to wear velvet slippers with their tux but I'd be extremely surprised if they did.

I am also disappointed to hear that your Brothers even so much as "razzed" you about your dress at initiation. That is not a way to treat a newly admitted Brother, or any Brother for that matter. I have heard that military drill instructors wear shirt suspenders so that there is no wrinkling at the waist line of their shirts. If it's good enough for them it ought to be good enough for a Masonic Lodge.


Edited by droche - February/06/2016 at 6:47pm
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Originally posted by droche droche wrote:

I am also disappointed to hear that your Brothers even so much as "razzed" you about your dress at initiation. That is not a way to treat a newly admitted Brother, or any Brother for that matter. I have heard that military drill instructors wear shirt suspenders so that there is no wrinkling at the waist line of their shirts. If it's good enough for them it ought to be good enough for a Masonic Lodge.

You do bring up a good point as to who the host is (the lodge)... However, I do not believe the "host" can be an inanimate object in this reference. I think I may get a pair if I ever become WM. I have wanted to wear a pair for many years now and never had an excuse. lol. Wink

As far as being razzed. Technically it was not by brethren, rather future brethren who were also undressing in the room with me. I do not mind it much to be honest, it is expected at this point.

Yes, I started wearing them in the Army when I was part of the Honor Guard as dress is one of the most important things when presenting the colors. I just grew to like the way my shirt never came untucked, and have been wearing them from that time.

-Raymond Tayse


Edited by Bro.Raymond - February/06/2016 at 7:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adept? Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2016 at 2:05am
Why do you need an excuse? If you want to wear them...buy them and do so.
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Originally posted by Adept? Adept? wrote:

Why do you need an excuse? If you want to wear them...buy them and do so.

Valid question. I just happen to believe there are appropriate times to where certain items. Just as one may like the look of a Tuxedo, they would not not just buy one and where it as they please.

Well, technically they could and I am sure someone has done just that. Though it would look a little silly when worn out of context, in my opinion.

With that, I have to agree with the sentiment of your post. Clearly, velvet slippers are acceptable when wearing a Tuxedo, and I would bet a fraction of a percent of people would even know the antiquated rule of only the host wearing them. Thus, the only "silliness" would be the fact that most people will probably think velvet slippers are silly to begin with. That I can deal with.

Thanks for your response.

-Raymond Tayse
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2016 at 1:31pm
Always check with your Grand Lodge regulations about dress at meetings. For example, the Massachusetts dress code specifically prohibits the wearing of cowboy boots with tuxedos. This might be a no-brainer for some, but I have a pair of western dress boots that I have worn with my tux from time to time. They are soft leather, about six inches high, a side zipper, pointed toe with the same design on the toe as a pair of cowboy boots. I think they look pretty sharp with the tux and not at all out of place. But a lot of people back east don't understand western dress and would take them for cowboy boots. If I were to tell them they were not cowboy boots but "western dress boots" they would think I was being disingenuous. So far, I have not been questioned about them, but I don't attend Lodge in the city.

Likewise, with velvet slippers, I saw some on line that had red toes and red trim, and some that had art work and rather loud designs on the toes. Your grand lodge rules might specify plain black shoes, no other color, so check with the rules of your jurisdiction.
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Originally posted by droche droche wrote:

Always check with your Grand Lodge regulations about dress at meetings. For example, the Massachusetts dress code specifically prohibits the wearing of cowboy boots with tuxedos. This might be a no-brainer for some, but I have a pair of western dress boots that I have worn with my tux from time to time. They are soft leather, about six inches high, a side zipper, pointed toe with the same design on the toe as a pair of cowboy boots. I think they look pretty sharp with the tux and not at all out of place. But a lot of people back east don't understand western dress and would take them for cowboy boots. If I were to tell them they were not cowboy boots but "western dress boots" they would think I was being disingenuous. So far, I have not been questioned about them, but I don't attend Lodge in the city.

Likewise, with velvet slippers, I saw some on line that had red toes and red trim, and some that had art work and rather loud designs on the toes. Your grand lodge rules might specify plain black shoes, no other color, so check with the rules of your jurisdiction.

Wow, I certainly would not have thought there a rule against specific footwear. I think I will get with my secretary and see about any specific rules. I have not seen the rules posted online, nor have I been give a book of rules. Maybe that comes when you are raised?

Raymond Tayse
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edwmax Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2016 at 7:28pm
Originally posted by Bro.Raymond Bro.Raymond wrote:

   .... Embarrassed

I assure you, my blood brothers, and other relatives give me a very hard time about my wardrobe; they mostly hailing from Tennessee and Texas. I believe the term most thrown about (I pretend it is endearing) is "Dandy"....

-Raymond Tayse


I don't think the term 'Dandy' (snappy dresser) is generally derogatory, unless one is also a Popinjay or a Rake.   Dandy is such an out-of-date term, it's hard to say how someone of this day & age is actually  using it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote droche Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February/07/2016 at 8:53pm
Originally posted by Bro.Raymond Bro.Raymond wrote:

 
Wow, I certainly would not have thought there a rule against specific footwear. I think I will get with my secretary and see about any specific rules. I have not seen the rules posted online, nor have I been give a book of rules. Maybe that comes when you are raised?

Raymond Tayse

Massachusetts also has a rule specifically prohibiting the wearing of winged collars with the tux, and also specifically prohibiting ruffles in the tuxedo shirt. I don't particularly care for ruffles, so that's fine with me, but I never could see the rationale prohibiting winged collars. I can't see where winged collars detract from anything; perhaps it is to promote uniformity, I just don't know. but one has to choose their battles.

If you go to various Grand Lodge websites, you might see dress codes for meetings and tuxedos, but maybe not. Each Grand Lodge is different. You may or may not get a rule book upon your raising, again, each Grand Lodge is different. Massachusetts has a protocol manual, and I believe the requirements for dress are spelled out there. I don't believe it is given to newly raised candidates, however. Most of this stuff comes by word of mouth, as was always the custom. Massachusetts has come out with a bunch of manuals on various subjects, but this is fairly recent.
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