The dude abided in Saratoga -- and he wore a dinner jacket

Berry_wall_and_his_dog-1.jpgThe next time you call someone "dude," you'll remember this.

Apparently one of the earliest uses of the word, back in 1883, did not describe a bro. The word was used as a put down for a man who paid too much attention to clothing and fashion. Yes, the opposite of the Dude.

It turns out that the "King of the Dudes" back then was a guy named Evander Berry Wall, a multi-millionaire who reportedly drank champagne instead of water, wore a walrus mustache, had 5,000 neckties -- and like many wealthy East Coasters of the day, spent a fair amount of time in Saratoga.

The dude was known for his fashion sense. It was a little over the top. His wardrobe included things like "loud checked suits and lavender spats."

Berry-wall-king-dudes.jpg

And his wardrobe was famously extensive -- when he traveled he reportedly carried "more trunks than a prima donna." Saratoga financier and gambler John "Bet a Million" Gates, once bet Wall that he could not wear 40 changes of clothes between breakfast and dinner. Gates lost. [NYT]

Also in his wardrobe: a "dinner jacket" -- without tails (how unsophisticated). One of the first such jackets in the country, he'd gotten it from famous Saville Row tailor Henry Pool. At the time, dinner jackets were being worn in England for quiet dinners at home. On one of his visits to Saratoga, Wall wore the coat to the ballroom of the Grand Union Hotel -- the swankiest of the swanky Saratoga hotels -- and was thrown out for being under-dressed. He had to change into a tailcoat to be re-admitted. [NY Sun]

Not long after that, the dinner jacked was introduced to the upper crust resort development of Tuxedo Park, New York (there's some dispute over exactly how and by whom -- it involves either the Prince of Wales, a coffee magnate and his beatiful wife; or a rebel son of the Lorillard tobacco empire). And because of its introduction there, the type of dinner jacket -- which got Wall bounced in Saratoga -- became known as a "tuxedo." [Black Tie Guide]

photos via Wikipedia

Comments

I have at least 100 neckties- the Goodwill on Central Ave is a great place to find cheap vintage ones. I try to wear them too.

That's why it's called a "dude ranch" -- it's not meant as a compliment.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Today's moment of winter

Beige on gray sway along the Indian Pond on the UAlbany campus. There was a rumor that it was something like 70 degrees at some... (more)

Chris Gibson at Bethlehem Public Library

Former Congressman Chris Gibson will be at the Bethlehem Public Library March 3 to talk about his book Rally Point. The talk is free and... (more)

Kirsten Gillibrand on Desus and Mero and The Late Show

More evidence that Kirsten Gillibrand is becoming a national figure: KG appeared on both the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Viceland's Desus &... (more)

NY Maple Weekend 2018

March is almost here, and that means maple syrup in New York. Maple farms around the state area again participating in two "Maple Weekends" this... (more)

Morning Blend

Guns + The governors of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island say their states are forming a coalition -- States for Gun Safety... (more)

Recent Comments

Definitely needs a mural. Another spot that is begging for one is the Delaware Ave Price Chopper in Albany. The side along Elm St is a huge gray wall that takes up most of the block!

Good places for a large company picnic?

...has 9 comments, most recently from frank

Kirsten Gillibrand on Desus and Mero and The Late Show

...has 1 comment, most recently from Bullwinkle

Dylan Ratigan has jumped into the pool of challengers to Elise Stefanik

...has 6 comments, most recently from ace

Flooding begins to recede along Mohawk, missed fax might have prevented Jay Street fire, Capital Region private college applications rising

...has 1 comment, most recently from Lauren

The Glynn Mansion and the story of Martin Glynn

...has 1 comment, most recently from BS