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  • Ben Balliro

Puttin’ On the Ritz

Ah, there it is. The old infamous song originally written by Irving Berlin in the 1920’s and then covered by Taco in 1983 and scared the hell out of everyone who watched the music video...Anyway the song is aimed at people who distance themselves from society with the upper echelon and well-to-do’s where the peasants and the middle class are simply not welcome. One of the ways of expressing your “ritz” is dressing up for an occasion; a party, a dinner, a work function etc.… you were coaxed to display all your pieces of flare and pressed clothes to stand your status. Clothing such as a tuxedo, a cashmere suit, or... a smoking jacket? Yes, a smoking jacket which is specifically designed for you to go into a separate room, pass around expensive cigars to your other wealthy friends and look dapper while protecting your silk shirts from ash and embers.


The process of making a cigar is not only tedious, but rewarding. Their production and manufacturing processes are not rushed and handled with great care, all the way from seedlings to cigars. Almost any handmade cigar is produced with tobacco that passes through roughly 2-300 sets of hands, before it makes it way to into your home. What better way to reciprocate that respect by planning a proper night out with your favorite smokes?


My advice is: plan the entire evening out. Choose what you are going to wear, dinner reservations, a couple of your favorite smokes, and just as important where you are smoking. If you’re lucky and live near a restaurant that allows smoking on site, then it’s in the bag and your decision just became much easier. Like most of us though we have to attend a postprandial cigar lounge or even back home to enjoy a fine cigar. Upper class restaurants that include this smoking amenity are very rare and thin at best. If you plan on smoking outdoors somewhere, then plan accordingly. My theory is if you are going to invest in cigars, a humidor, and accessories you may as well experience them in their fullest measure. I’ve been giving this some thought and here are, what I believe, a few ways you can setup your occasion.

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There is a sort of “Gordon Gecko” feeling when you are smoking a cigar in a dressed-up way. Just the simple fact of wearing a suit is special, a perception of success. Everyone enjoys a nice night out every now and again, and there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to some dinner, drinks, and aged tobacco. You can plan a night out with your S.O., a group of friends, or just yourself.


First, there is an historic reason to look handsome. Starting in the mid 19th century, old men in tweed suits would adjourn themselves into a smoking room, or a similar “no women allowed” room where men can talk business while smoking a cigar, all while still talking about business. Back then gentlemen dressed in suits on an everyday basis so simply wearing a suit was not a head turner. However, wearing something like say, a smoking jacket, was a symbol of your status in society and an immediate membership into the elite. According to Cigar Aficionado Magazine, “Smoking jackets became a fixture of gentleman's attire around the start of the Crimean War (1853), when Turkish tobacco began to flow into England.” Smoking jackets (such as the one to the right) usually came with some fancy features such as velvet and cashmere material, several ornate buttons or wrap around your waste tie belt, an intricate design, and a smooth and round edged shawl collar. The smoking jacket was purpose built for tobacco use. A thick coat designed to absorb smoke and protect their clothes from ash and embers. Although today wearing a dinner jacket in a public setting that’s not a Hugh Hefner costume party, would draw attention from people around you. I think wearing a smoking jacket is a smart idea because you get to dress up and protect your clothes at the same time. Homogenizing a blend of style, sophistication, and sensibility.


Second, your most stylish suit attire. Simply deciding on your favorite outfit can be tricky enough. Wear that favorite something you’ve had hanging in your closet. The end goal here is to harmonize your cigar enjoyment with your confidence. You simply put on your favorite garment, splash on some scent, and you are ready to go!


Last, business casual. It’s a more or less relaxed fashion without the choking necktie or a dress that’s too tight. A simple pair of khakis, polo shirt, and dress shoes would do just the trick. The ladies might wear some comfortable trousers and a simple button up shirt. A cigar will still compliment any outfit and as long as you are having fun, then your evening is a success. If you have any other thoughts on this subject, then shoot us a message!


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