I don’t really write profiles on stores (The Bloke kinda counts, RIP), but this place deserves one, since it’s probably the longest lasting one I frequent and thoroughly enjoy visiting.
This isn’t a profile, but just another entry into the “Adventures of Ethan”, complete with both film and digital pictures (but mostly film).
There aren’t very many stores I frequent here in SoCal. I frequently get messages from followers asking what my recommendations are; they are often surprised when the list is quite small. I mean, SoCal is huge- I only visit ones I like/already know, check out flea markets, or just save the gas and wait for the right moment to explore. The pandemic doesn’t make the latter quite essay, though the reduced traffic (it’s not totally gone) does present a bit of an opportunity.
Honestly, I just spend my days at home, working at my new job, though I do get that bug to go out. Not out out mind you, but just something to change up the pace. My friends like to keep to themselves, as most of us live with family, so I’m left to my own devices. So, one thing I have done in my freetime is visit Orange County. I consider it a lot “sleepier” than say, going to DTLA or the West Side, though OC is a hotbed for COVID . I’ve gotten boba in the park a few times with my friends and eventually graduated to shopping around the mostly empty antique malls in the area, weaving around the outdoor dining that seems immune to the shutdown.
It’s rather surreal to be shopping for vintage in the pandemic, although I’m not really looking for anything. With full outdoor flea markets closed (I miss the Rose Bowl!), going to Old Towne Orange and their plethora of vintage stores is the closest I’ll get to that picking experience (and no I don’t count following vintage dealers on IG). I only did it a few times and I did get lucky, finding a 1940’s Boy Scout workshirt and a duffle coat, the latter of which will certainly get its own blog post in due time.
Putting shopping aside, there was also one other reason I like going to Old Towne Orange and that is to visit my friends at Joyride.
You guys probably remember Joyride (and its owner Rob) from many old articles, from my first foray into “vintage casual” to the store being the source of my trench coats, my first pair of LVCs, and many more. I remember how they instantly recognized me from my cringy posts on the Fedora Lounge when I first walked through their door more than five years ago; that was also the first day I met Spencer.
Through the years, they’ve become great friends of mine and I admire the store a lot. Vintage (like classic menswear) can have its own sense of “stuffiness” and the Rob, the store, and his colleagues don’t have that at all. Unlike some of the other vintage enthusiasts who are purists, they understood that I had a growing passion for contemporary clothing alongside my vintage collecting. The guys are also pretty normal- we can talk about Star Wars and photography anytime. We always end up shooting the shit after the antique malls close (which is at 5PM).
The store is also incredibly well stocked, holding everything from 1920s-1970s tailoring to 80s tees and milsurp of varying degrees. In fact, Spencer has traded quite a few of suits for chinos as his style has developed over the years! I firmly believe that Rob’s inclusivity is reflected in this stock, as there truly is something for everyone in there (and if you like feminine things, go next door to his wife’s shop). Maybe that’s why his store is still around, even during the pandemic.
Anyway, I took a few of these film pictures during one of my random visits to OTO (Old Town Orange), because it really is a place that has been incredibly important to me. And like I said, its always a genuine pleasure to catch up with Rob, who happily obliged me for a photo. He then repaid the favor by allowing me to peruse his incredible collection of vintage magazines, which included a few tailoring catalogs and goldmine of 1930’s Esquire magazines. It nearly made me want to start collecting Golden Era vintage all over again!
Now all those fawning words should show you why I had to stop by during my hang with Chris. We wanted a safe, lowkey place to eat our burritos and the Joyride Boys (Mike, Rob, and Joshua above) allowed us to sit in their back alley in peace. Chris had been in there before, but it was his first time actually talking to shopkeepers.
And damn, were they stylish! All of the casual vintage-esque looks lately have been quite 70s, mainly by Spencer and the other guys who post in the Patreon Discord or to the podcast IG for SaDHead Saturday. Basically, it had been a while since I’ve seen looks closer to the 1940s-1950s, at least in person. On the left, you’ve got Mike, wearing a nice G-1 with a red workshirt (note the rayon lining on his inside collar) and cinch-back denims. Rob keeps the look going his own wool sportshirt and jeans, his uniform of choice. And last, you’ve got Joshua donning not only a great silverbelly but a wonderful tonal look comprised of a 1960’s sweater (be jealous Scott) on top of a sportshirt-jacket, which oddly utilizes buttons near the squared-off bottom hem. It all makes me want to break out my teenaged jeans (the widest jeans I own) and put on my shell cordovan commando boots.
Naturally a “chill hang” ensued- Chris and I weren’t planning on staying long, but we did spend at least two hours (all apart) chatting about what was new with life and how long all of our hair has gotten. Interestingly, their custom hat making component has taken off and they’ve gotten quite a few clients commissioning beaver felt hats for vintage and contemporary guys alike (though they do have a preference for vintage styles); like Cody, they have an abundance of machines and old blocks ready for use. This later led Chris to talk through what his ideal hat would be and to find out what his head measurement is; I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris came back to order something from them.
Now, that’s all I remember from that day. It was just a nice time to hang out with friends in person, something that is quite a rarity today (but for good reason, obviously). And as you could expect, I was snapping pictures- first on digital, but later on film, which was my first use of black and white (Kodak Tri-X 400). I just have a compulsion to document the well dressed people I meet and that evening was no different.
So enjoy a few pictures I snapped that evening. And if you’re in the area, definitely stop by and support the shop! I’m still kicking myself for not buying a white 1950’s sawtooth western shirt I saw shortly before the lockdowns; if they find one a again, I’m going to cop immediately.
Always a pleasure,