Depending on how you look at it, black waistcoat with a dress suit isn't wholly inappropriate. According to some dress historians, Edward VII when Bertie Prince of Wales started wearing a white waistcoat with his dress suits in place of the then-largely-regnant (1888?) black waistcoat. It was a sort of casualizing or de-solemnizing measure: an Edwardian rebellion against Victorian solemnity. In a sense, wearing a black WC with a dress suit is just returning to that solemnity.
Of course, you could also say that Bertie was just returning to tradition, since white, ivory, cream, stone, and yellow-buff waistcoats had been quite normal with full-dress evening attire until 1830 or so.
As for black ties with full evening dress, they were still worn in the 1870s. Sator's picture linked here
(scroll to the bottom) is from the 1870s.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a non-clergyman's wearing a black tie where white ties were expected was often interpreted as expressing dissasfaction with the power structure and sympathy with those at the bottom of it. In 2012, it's anyone's guess as to what its political overtones are.