Relaxing By The Pool (On Film)


Time to live up to name of the blog. Has anyone guessed what it’s in reference to yet?

I don’t think it surprises anyone that I’m a pretty busy guy. I don’t work in the menswear industry anymore- I’ve traded my days measuring clients and scheduling brand social posts for…well, managing campaigns in entertainment and gaming. It’s done wonders for my financial situation, putting myself in a better spot for the future and allows me to enjoy more menswear. The catch is that it’s as busy as you might expect. In order to juggle managing the podcast (of which we do mainline episodes every two weeks and stream twice a week) and writing long essays on regular basis, I’ve become more mindful of my free time and have even cut down on freelance work, both for writing and photography.

In short, I need to relax. No, not a trip (where I probably have even more to do than a typical day), but a truly relaxing day. It’s probably the main reason why we’ve decided to take a break this July from mainline podcast episodes. We’ll still be streaming occasionally (we might revisit this as trivia nights have come back during the week), but it’ll give me a break to publish some other non-podcast essays (like one on what I’ve been wearing to go out lately) and to have some fun without adhering to a schedule. It’s also my Birthday Month! Don’t worry though, things will be back for August! You’ll just have to join the Patreon Discord or keep an eye on the IG for any updates.

Now, relaxing in style is something that is quite odd for a menswear enthusiast, at least in how I’ve approached my personal style. You all know by now that my heart truly lies in tailoring and despite being in a pandemic, I’ve made the conscious decision to wear a jacket, high rise trouser, and tie almost everyday. It’s great when you want to fully exude those slouchy intellectual vibes. But hey, there are definitely days where I don’t feel like wearing tailoring…or much clothing for that matter.

I’ve written about a few of these ideas over the years, from Casual Ethan to Shorts + Socks. While those are certainly casual and not a jacket and tie, they still can be a bit too dressed up for a fully relaxing summer day by the pool. Admittedly that’s not something I’ve written about, simply because I’ve been too used to wearing old tee shirts and swim trunks when I’m swimming. “Defaulting” is something I talk about frequently, but a pool day was something I never thought I’d need an aesthetic for. That is, until I realized the pool was one of the few places that lacked the classic POV I brought to everything else! I had already gotten better shorts, but perhaps the rest of the look needed some work.

My latest relax days provided me with an opportunity to do just that- to think about what I wanted to wear while drinking next to the pool. You can regard this blog post as an expanded version of the 4th of July Content you got to see each year, which truly mixes in practical menswear with a SoCal lifestyle.

Oh and [almost] all these photos were shot on film, furthering the idea that this is a much more introspective endeavor tied to my personal life rather than observations on menswear as a whole.


For a weekend pool hang at Spencer’s house (on Easter), I wore something simple: a cable knit sweater (in light cotton) and red draw string shorts. It’s got a bit of that gorp-meets-neoprep look that’s been common in menswear lately; I like it because its remarkably different than my usual at home looks (which again, revolve around traditional tailoring). I definitely like the easy shorts as they aren’t exactly the gurkhas or chino shorts I’m normally in. White socks and pennys do help anchor the prep vibes, which help it from being too much like a lazy shorts fit.

I know this essay is being released in the summer, but for a milder spring day in April, this was absolutely perfect for eating a Vietnamese meat platter and drinking some beer. I would definitely copy these ideas in the future the more I take time away from my writing/editing on my laptop. Still feels (and looks) like Ethan to me!

Plus short shorts + long sleeve top is a vibe.


Speaking of looking like Ethan, I’ve also made a few edits to my swimming uniform. The swim shorts haven’t changed, as I still have a pair of Uniqlo “easy dry” trunks in navy, sized up to fit higher on my waist (I have a quarantine dad bod) and shortened to be a bit more modern in appearance. You can see that Spencer not only retains his Birdswell Britches in the fantastic almost-pastel blue but he brings back the 1960’s terry cloth shirt with tiki front. He does now rock a captains hat from Quaker Marine for a cheeky nautical look that is appropriate for a mini pool party.

I also changed my headgear, choosing to do a beret instead of a bucket hat. It’s not the same in practicality, but I like the loucheness! In that same vein, I’ve also let go of my awning stripe terry (given to Jay) for this white one (purchased from Western Gifts)! It’s fully terry cloth (no poplin/broadcloth panels) and is more like a guayabera in that it has four patch pockets rather than just two. The fit is a little trimmer and shorter than I’d like, but I definitely like it more than the previous own I owned due to its plain color- it makes this terry cloth shirt much more versatile, which is great as I’m trying to figure out my relaxing poolside attire. It will have to do for now!

Yes, I know we’re wearing our penny loafers, but hey, our feet dry quickly! Birkenstocks just didn’t’ feel right for this, though they would be practical choice as they are my only sandal.

I’ve heard water isn’t good for shell cordovan!
Mac and Spencer.
Annie is leaning into the relaxing aesthetic with a yellow polkadot bikini, retro shades, and a hair scarf!
Jay now owns my old terry and must deal with its bold stripes (which unfortunately clash with his striped trunks).
Post-pool attire. I changed back into my sweater + shorts look and Spencer has a Brooks Fun Shirt and distressed jeans. Peep Mac’s memeshots!
Haven’t caught on to the overalls yet.
Spencer’s pre-pool attire.

The next opportunity I had for relaxing was an La Quinta (the desert) AirBNB trip I had with some friends from that SoCal Asian American server I’ve mentioned a few times before- it’s a wholesome group that has allowed me the opportunity to meet some great people. I instantly jumped at the chance to do it because it was going to be a full weekend of food and drinking. My dayjob and my incessant hobby of writing/podcasting/photographing menswear would have to wait!

Even though my group didn’t leave the house, I still definitely brought clothes to relax in, all of which mainly revolved around my beloved wide leg uniqlo easy pants. The outfits I wore on the drive down and up were just okay, using the black easy pants with a chambray sportshirt and Anthology knit tee respectively, but the one I’m truly proud of was the one you see above, worn on the only full day of the getaway.

The jacket is my 1940s Palm Beach DB which has great drape and an unstructured body. I’ve worn it plenty of times with ties, but after getting my DB Blazer, I’ve been using it more like a regular jacket, throwing it over tees and as we see, severely unbuttoned aloha shirts. I love the this shirt (from J. Crew) which has Japanese rayon cloth with a navy base and a great abstract/seashell motif; it’s not as on-the-nose as the floral print you typically see. And just so you know, I ended up buying Soludos espadrilles just so I wouldn’t have to bring my shell loafers on the trip. The espadrilles were perfect, being used to get around the pool and to walk around the house!

I wore that outfit for most of the morning, lounging outside reading a Yolo Journal and a book on writing, but after eating lunch, I later changed into my now-trademarked pool attire of the white terry, navy trunks, and beret. Since I was still reading and drinking, I actually kept my Palm Beach DB over the terry, which was a practical (while odd looking) move. I liked it because hey, fuck you, its my clothes and my vacation; I’ll wear it and use it to carry what I want!

That weekend was a great time and certainly much needed. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually taken a staycation before, let alone ones with my friends. Everything I’ve done before has been cultural/excursion focused, with a particular emphasis on visiting menswear. Relaxing this way is definitely new for me and not only provides me with a new outlet for clothing, but also provides wonders for mental health. Everyone deserves a little bit of rest!

Hot dogs and burgers are the way to go!
Bone marrow.
Can’t be an Asian party without doing shots.
An “artist at home” look?

Pool attire with unorthodox layering.

Okay this last set is obviously not entirely film (there’s a few digital shots mixed in), but I’m including it here because it was a fun day and another perfect example of relaxing by the pool with friends. This was during Memorial Day weekend and being a month or so past the previous set, we’re all completely vaxxed and ready to hang out.

This wasn’t a menswear event by anymeans, but you’ll notice that some of us took the opportunity to dress authentically, even if we were going to take most of our clothes off and be in the pool for a few hours. Spencer, as per usual, did a very milsurp-workwear in summer look. Jay loves wearing my awning stripe Terry. Michael brought out his crazy aloha shirt. And MJ simply went with his Overwatch merch tee with a vintage chore jacket.

I wanted to wear something different than what I wore previously, especially since this at Spencer’s house again). Instead of simply rocking the terry cloth shirt the whole time, I wore a 1950’s rayon gab sport shirt that boasts a wonderfully orange-red shade. The color was great against these abstract print “trunks” (they lack netting, so maybe they’re board shorts?) I got from Cotton On during college; they seemed pretty “vintage” to me and I wore them a lot until I switched to the proper uniqlo trunks you saw in the previous sets. I think I’m starting to get the hang of this look, turning my “off duty” attire into something truly relaxing that still evokes me.

Thankfully I don’t have any photos of me without my shirt on. You would’ve seen my bloated belly full of Nashville Hot Chicken sandwiches, Doritos, and a gallon on hard seltzer.

Spencer’s HBT chore coat is from Mister Freedom, his first full-price purchase from them. I’m proud!
Producer MJ.
Style & Direction. MJ’s not on mic.
Michael’s wonderfully loud aloha shirt.
He’s also got a vintage Polo Sport cap.

EDIT: 7/5/21


I’m quickly adding in photos (not film unfortunatly) from a little 4th of July shindig that I went to this past weekend. As you know, going to Spencer’s pool on the 4th is quite a tradition for me. However we had all been swimming quite regularly lately, so this one was considerably a lot more chill; we had even just gone to a pool party at Jay’s apartment the day prior! This time we decided just to eat snacks and lounge. I even decided to read the latest two editions of WM Brown, a fun little magazine that I honestly can’t identify with since my life will never be at the level of the people contained within.

Since I wasn’t going to swim much (I did jump in the hot tub as it got closer to the evening), I decided to do a more “tailored” look and do shorts and a shirt, though without socks. The guayabera makes a return, having been retired lightly due to its stiffer cotton and trim fit. The terry cloth shirt was represented too much in this editorial, so this piece was the perfect alternative, buttoned only at the middle and worn with gurkha shorts. I threw on my linen French chore blazer when it got a bit windy.

It was a very easy going day. All I remember is drinking far too many hard seltzers, eating my body weight in pork rinds, and about different types of champagne (thanks to Natty Adams).

I finally have friends who shoot film!
Yes, that is a “Coors” merch cap.

I honestly think I’ve set great precedent for future relaxing vacations, in both attitude and attire. Maybe the next step is to take a trip to Vegas. Or Hawaii. A pool (or just water) is definitely required for me to fully relax and not think too much about the constant stream of writing and podcasting. The good thing is that either way, you guys will all get to see some good fits!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget that you can support me (or the podcast) on Patreon to get some extra content and access to our exclusive Discord. I also stream on Twitch and upload the highlights to Youtube.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan M. Wong


  1. Cafe Impecunious · July 3, 2021

    Quantum of Solace? I don’t watch James Bond, I used Google, and it feels like the grand majority of 2008 movies were sequels.

    Liked by 1 person

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