Originally Posted by Moustache Mike
I was under the impression that no two midnight blues or blacks look exactly the same, due to subtle differences in fabric from what mill to the next amongst other factors. Midnight blue is what I'm interested in, but I've seen a lot of midnight blue's that I don't like due to them not being dark enough... which is where my concerns about selecting fabric sight unseen comes into play. How dark in appearance are the specific fabrics you just mentioned ?( Thank you for the considerable amount of help and useful advise being offered, most appreciated )
You are right, there will always be subtle differences. However, there is a range of "correct" when it comes to midnight blue: so long as it looks black at night, whether outside or indoors under artificial lighting, it is dark enough. Almost any midnight blue will look bluish in daylight. I haven't seen one that doesn't. That is just the nature of the stuff. If you don't like that, then go for the black wool barathea. Again, Smith's is one of the best choices for that.
So, returning to midnight blue, within that range of "correct," I'd be much more interested in the quality, performance, and reputation of the cloth. That's why I say the Smith's 8810 is a no-brainer. It is one of the
standards (if not the absolute
standard) when it comes to midnight blue mohair. If something is wrong with it, something is wrong with all midnight mohairs.
I can tell you from personal experience that it is beautiful stuff. It has a wonderful luster, as one would expect from the mohair content, that is uniquely suitable for evening wear. It resists wrinkles and maintains a crisp shape. Your trouser creases will be razor sharp! It is immediately obvious it is not cloth you'd wear for everyday use, so it is really a perfect choice if you want something special, as you should for a nice dinner suit.
I would be less concerned about a time-tested midnight blue like Smith's 8810 being too blue, and worry more about whether a black dinner suit will be truly pitch black, or worse, have an ugly greenish tint. However, again, you are better off relying on reputation and others' experiences when it comes to that. You won't be able to judge on your own just by staring at the cloth. If you want black, get the black 100% wool barathea from the Smith's formal book, in ~10 oz. You cannot go wrong with it.
One thing I'd say is this: if you go the mohair route, it is probably best to stay with midnight blue and leave black for 100% wool barathea. The mohair tends to desaturate the coloring a little bit, so black mohair may not be as inky black as you'd like.
Here's me in Smith's 8810 midnight blue mohair, in daylight: