Let’s start 2021 by writing about a new friend- a talented and incredibly stylish one at that!
I think I’ve met almost every single one of my menswear friends online, at least for the initial introduction. Menswear (both vintage and contemporary) as a solitary hobby has been a theme of this blog (and even a brief topic for the stream), which is why I’ve tried to do my best in fostering a community, both online and in-person (at least by broadcasting events I attend as much as possible). The latter is quite important to me, though it’s hard now due to COVID and the fact that many businesses in LA have closed because of it. Online seems to be the only place where menswear can congregate.
I’m glad to say that the Patron Discord has been quite successful, not only providing a benefit of sorts to those who choose to contribute, but by being a great community of menswear. In fact, the candor and diversity within the Discord is what I envisioned my FB group to be (which is still fine, though not as active or conducive to broader topics). It’s been a great way for me to make new friends outside of the few I initially met online, like Yung Chomsky or Jason Sandagon. However, despite all the streams and random gatherings in our server’s audio channels, I still miss meeting up in person. It is how I met Spencer after all!
Now a little over a year ago, I received a DM from Chris, a pod listener/blog reader. He asked me about sizing on Aldens and how he should approach buying them second hand. I was only familiar with the Aberdeen last (as it is the only model I own) and told him that I was a 7D in Allen Edmonds and that’s what I went with for Alden. He noted it and later told me that he was able to cop a pair of used shell cordovan full strap penny loafers for a great price on eBay; I believe it was under $150. I congratulated him on his purchase and told him to keep me apprised of his other finds on eBay.
We kept DM-ing and I eventually learned that he was also in SoCal (Long Beach to be precise). Since he told me he loved going to flea markets and buying vintage milsurp, I was surprised that we hadn’t attempted a meet up yet; Chris had even been to The Bloke on occasion! He later clarified that he is still a student and has a weird work schedule, which makes it hard exactly to plan something. Being in LA, Long Beach is quite a drive and at the time, I worked in Beverly Hills, which siphons quite a bit of gas each workweek. As the pandemic happened, I invited him to the SaD Discord when I was creating it (the Patreon hadn’t been launched yet) and over time we got to know each other more.
To my surprise (or perhaps not), we had a lot in common. No, I’m not just talking about a love of Brycelands and Ring Jacket tailoring while being on a limited budget, but on a general interest level. Like Spencer and I, Chris is an avid Star Wars fan- he’s even done his share of video games, playing a few (like World of Tanks) on a competitive level. We became fast friends, hanging out quite a bit after the twice-weekly streams talking photography (he only shoots film) and even playing Among us in our other friends’ servers. I knew that we had to hang out soon, with proper precautions of course.
After being tested and figuring out my schedule (working from home left me with quite a few gas), we decided to hang out and shoot film. Chris has been shooting film more than I have and I was intrigued to learn more from him. While you guys know I’ve been loving that hobby, it, like menswear, has been quite solitary since I don’t have IRL friends tha shoots film, let alone does photography in general. I was just about shooting random shots with my SLR and bringing my little point-and-shoot everywhere I went- hanging with Chris would be a welcome change.
So we hung out a few times during the past few weeks. I drove down to Long Beach (and once to Old Towne Orange) and we grabbed some coffee and simply walked around, taking pictures on film and digital (well, I did the latter). It really was an incredible time seeing what catches his eye. I’d say he has a much more candid eye that I do, as he repeatedly took shots while I was talking or standing doing nothing. I was surprised- you guys are familiar with my candids and silly pictures on digital, but since film is much less forgiving on mistakes, I found myself being quite picky and reluctant over my shots. With each consecutive hang, I got much more comfortable shooting film (I even picked up two new cameras between each outing) and I was able to get practical experience on our “photo walks”. Even though he’s only done it slightly longer than I have (by his own admission), he’s had much more familiarity with different types of film, processing, and other photographic techniques. It’s only natural that my film photography has since gotten better.
Chris also was a terrific model. With a naturally slouchy physique and great style, it was great to photograph him on digital and film- I definitely tend to turn whoever I’m hanging with into a muse, as Spencer or MJ will have you know. The outings allowed me to see his own take on menswear, which like Spencer’s recent journey, skews much more to vintage workwear, milsurp, and casual wear; I’m also not surprised that he’s become good online friends with Doug, who has similarly inspired Spencer and I to move into that rugged menswear direction. Each time we hung out, Chris had a great outfit, which you will definitely see.
The first outfit was one that clearly shouts out the the iconic “red beanie” fit worn by Marvin Gaye. It’s such a good look that definitely takes after Brycelands, quite obviously because Chris is wearing their own version of the sawtooth western shirt. The shirt is still quite stiff (I’m not sure it has been washed yet), but it’s cool to see someone wear a brand that I regard so fondly; I think that Cody Wellema is the only other person I see in person that wears Bryceland’s. Underneath his sawtooth, he wears a wife-beater shirt, which really helps the 70’s connotation.
While Bryceland’s does make a variation of these WWII HBT army pants (noted by the hip patch pockets in place of on seam/slanted pockets), Chris actually wears true vintage ones. Save for a small hole, they’re practically deadstock due to their slight rigidity and the richness of the olive green. The ones you’ve seen me wear (and feature prominently in this essay) are also true vintage, but they were definitely pre-owned and loved well: they’re incredibly soft and the green has faded, becoming more dusty. Seeing Chris wear his nearly pristine pair (scored on eBay I believe) was quite something to behold; he’s quite lucky that the trousers weren’t any shorter!
Overall, it’s a great look that is certainly up my alley. I’d wear something like this if I wasn’t always drawn to wearing tailoring. Due to the pandemic, I tend to opt for sportcoats and trousers since most of my regular days are spent in pajamas!
Chris changed it up during our second hang. This outfit leans a bit more on the ivy side, though with a Japanese-Americana spin due to the silhouette. I love the use of the pink university stripe OCBD, as its much more vibrant and rare than the traditional blue OCBD. I’m not particularly a fan of unbuttoned collar points (as I love the roll when it’s fastened), but seeing it splayed out calls to mind slouchy unlined spearpoint collars. To be fair, a button down collar sans buttons tends to resemble the shape of a spearpoint!
Khaki chinos are the natural pair to an OCBD, though instead of slimmer ones preferred by Hey Dey ivy members he pops in a pair of wide legged WWII chinos, echoing his previous outfit. I love this move since it subverts a traditonal fit and makes it more interesting without relying on outerwear (which is what most people do to make a cool fit).
The aforementioned pair of second hand shell cordovan penny loafers (with white socks) and a “punk rock” hat (a limited release made by Jason), help finish off the fit. It’s an outfit that I think anyone can pull off!
I was really enamored with this last fit. Chris actually expected to wear a tweed Ring Jacket sportcoat he grabbed during a quarantine sale in order to make a different outfit from the previous ones, but unfortunately his tailor wasn’t able to finish the sleeves. Instead, he wore his Lee jacket which is basiclaly a 101J (though this label has the PATD numbers and not the actual label). I own one myself (bought for cheap at the flea market), though I haven’t worn it enough. Once I break it out, you can probably expect a blog post on it!
You’ll recognize the olive HBT Army pants here again (nothing wrong with having a favorite pair), but to me, the real star of the fit is the shirt, which you can’t really see. It’s a 1950’s officer(?) shirt in a white poplin- it was actually owned by Doug who tried to sell it to me before, but the neck and chest were just too small. The collar ended up getting shredded in the wash, so Chris in a true DIY fashion simply cut the collar off, effectively turning it into a band collar shirt.
You’ll see that the sleeves feature french cuffs, which Chris neglects to fashion with links. Instead, he rolls them back on his long denim jacket sleeves. It’s a cool move, which looks even cooler when he wasn’t wearing the jacket. The extra length makes him look like an elegant pirate, which I love. Jenna Lyons, a client of Ascot Chang when I worked there, also intentionally wears French cuffs undone like this.
Now let’s get to my outfits (because you obviously need to see them). I don’t think I’ve actually been able to write about an outfit in a long time, since most of my recent content focuses on specific moves/pieces rather than outing coverage!
I’m not sure what vibe to call the above outfit, but it seems like it’s an updated version of this fit, worn during the writing of the turtleneck base layer. There’s a bit of a late 60’s-70’s appeal to it, thanks to the turtleneck under a v-neck sweater, the use of brown cords, and slick black chelsea boots. I’m not sure what prompted me to wear the DB blazer, but I know that it looks quite interesting when compared to a typical navy sportcoat. The soft shoulders and wide lapels help give the outfit a bit of slouch, while the “dressier” vibe provides contrast to the rest of the outfit.
I don’t know, I just felt like it was a cool look and worthy enough to make an appearance on whatever film Chris shot me on.
This second fit is one that is quite toned down compared to what I normally wear. Yes, I see that there is a heavy use of color (in the deep chocolate brown and purple), but when I say toned down, I really mean that for the first time in a long time, I’m wearing a solid jacket, shirt, and tie all at once! I actually blame The Crown; I never thought that subdued English menswear would ever have an effect on me, but here it is.
Chris definitely chastised me on my repeat of the navy DB blazer, but I countered with the fact that I at least wore it with proper tailoring this time. I chose my chambray button down, a vintage Brooks, to make a soft match with the purple tie against my jacket. The tie is actually one of the first ties I ever owned: I bought it from Nordstrom for a high school banquet. I typically don’t like button down collars with DBs but I don’t own any soft solid spearpoints; all my solid ones have a slightly stiff interlining that always feels too formal.
I was inspired by Ethan Newton, who wore a blazer with purple cords to Pitti a few years ago as a way of looking like a British asshole aristocrat. That’s why I initially wanted to wear a pair of purple corduroy trousers but since that commission from Atelier Fugue hadn’t arrived at the time the picture was taken, I simply opted for the trousers from my Spier suit. It still has a preppy-trad look, though much more toned down; the purple tie was chosen since I decided early on that I wanted to wear the color.
This last one is probably one of my favorite outfits in a while and its also one of the more dorky ones!
Right before this hang, I had the hankering to wear a bowtie. I’m not sure why this was the case. Was it seeing how often tuxedos were worn on The Crown? Was it looking through some old 1930’s Esquire magazines where bow ties were nearly as common as neckties? Who knows- I was simply intrigued to wear it slouchily. In fact, the topic spurred a debate on the SaD Discord to whether bowties are cool. I actually think they’re quite dorky and uncool, but that’s why I like to wear them (though I only have two or three).
I wanted to ensure that the bowtie was toned down, so it’s use is one of the instances that require a solid jacket, which is in contrast to my usual preference for checked jackets; a dark trouser in a complimentary shade helps make the bowtie somber as well. So, I opted for my soft shouldered Neopolitan cut hopsack, which actually did the job quite well. I had a fleeting moment where I considered donning the DB blazer again, but I think that the bowtie and brass buttons were too dandy of a combo. I couldn’t go full dork!
While I could’ve been okay with just a navy jacket and olive flannels, I actually made the conscious choice of bringing my light brown belted raglan coat. Not only was it practical against the slight cold, but it’s use with the navy jacket and bowtie gives the entire thing a 1950’s student look. It’s an old school look, yet youthful and delightfully dandy in execution. The soft raglan shoulders help emphasize the slouchy vibe, making the bow tie a bit more accessible to others; plus I’m a bit tired of seeing raglan coats with beanies and rollnecks, since that’s how most people in menswear wear them.
As promised, here are some of the many pictures we took throughout our three hangs. Some are done on digital, while others are on film. They’re taken around Long Beach and Orange County, showing all of you non-SoCalians what it’s like to live here.
And if you’re wondering, yes, we live about 30 miles apart. Thankfully, traffic hasn’t been bad (I’m thankful to WFH) so this won’t be the last you’ll see of Chris. If anything, this is only the introduction.
Always a pleasure,