Many historic and memorable events occurred in 1996. Betty Ruble debuted as a Flintstone vitamin. The movie “Showgirls” won the 16th annual Golden Raspberry Award. John Tesh hosted his final show on “Entertainment Tonight.” And I discovered colorful vests.
I always wear a tuxedo at charity auctions. When the style evolved from cumberbuns to vests, I evolved as well. But I felt a black vest made me look like a waiter, and as the ringmaster for the evening I wanted to stand out from the crowd and those all important and valuable servers taking such diligent care of the hungry and thirsty masses.
It’s not a fashion statement many other benefit auctioneers adhere to. It’s pretty much just me – on stage – with a black tux and an overly colorful vest. In a subtle way it helps me project confidence and really establishes my presence at the event.
Over the years I’ve managed to own more than 43 vests. While the majority come from my favorite tuxedo shop, Black Tie Tuxedo in Fort Myers, Florida, I do have them custom made if I find really nice fabric with great colors and an unusual pattern.
I’m not superstitious, so I don’t have a “lucky” vest that I wear on a regular basis while working. I simply try to match my vest to the theme of the event.
So, the next time you see me at a benefit auction, I look forward to you telling me “Nice Vest.” The only thing I don’t look forward to is the time when cumberbuns come back into style. What am I going to do then?