We out here, drinking drinks (that’s new for me) and getting fits off (that’s not new for me).
Quarantine has been an interesting year for the blog (and podcast). We ramped up our podcast release schedule and made a patreon (so you can join a discord community). I changed the name of the blog. And yes, I still kept writing about the new quirks my style has as well as finally put my philosophies on clothing to words. In fact, the latter has been one of the more interesting developments of the site, as I’ve always wanted to write about slouch and POV but just never had the time to do so. It actually made me wonder why there have been so many personal essays of that nature. And then it hit me- I haven’t been writing about events very much! It’s not a huge deal, considering the blog is simply a passion project-meets-live journal (supported by Patrons of the podcast), but it’s still something I do quite regularly! I never like being idle for long.
Writing about events was probably one of my favorite things to do, since I felt that recaps were always lacking from other menswear content (outside of pictoral recaps on Instagram). And keep in mind that I use the word “events” quite loosely; more often than not, I write about simply hanging out with my friends as true menswear events (like trunk shows) are quite rare. Perhaps the fact that my friends and I naturally dress up is what makes it special!
The lack of documented hangs was a real downer effect of the pandemic. Sure, it felt great to write about the abstract menswear topics, but hypotheticals and philosophical wonderings can only get you so far. And don’t get me started on how most of my fit pics had to be taken in a yard! Sometimes what you need is just to take pictures of people doing their thing in cool clothes. I was just itching for a chance to go out. Not to do anything crazy mind you (I think I’m honestly rather tame), but to just get back to what I liked to do.
If you follow my IG, you’ll know that I’ve seen Spencer and a few other people quite sparingly through the past year, though we were always careful to keep things insular and to minimize contact; I also work directly from home and seldom leave my house other than to see my girlfriend. Our spirits (and efforts) started to change once the vaccine started to roll out. My friends and I were still pretty wary, as many of us are still in close contact with family who are immunocompromised, but once we all had been vaccinated and enough time had lapsed, we started to plan some hangs! And with that came the opportunity for dressing up again. Not just for ourselves, but to dress to be around people again.
As a guy who dressed up nearly everyday in the pandemic (I had my lazy days too, give me a break), you would think that I would have been just fine getting back in the saddle. Honestly, it was pretty tough. I had come to a point where I felt that nothing I wore mattered; I’d still dress up, but because I was home all the time, it was devoid of any context whatsover. It wasn’t really about looking accessible and instead, it was about what specifically did I want to wear while hanging out with my friends. I had picked up a few great style cues and aesthetics (both big and small) and since going out is still quite rare, it put in a sense of occasion on it. It wasn’t like the before-times where hanging with Spencer and MJ was a semi-regular thing and I’d just wear whatever I already had on. It’s much more intentional now, at least until we start diluting it with more hangs over time.
I can’t tell you how I got over that mindset, but I think it literally just came down to embracing the spur of the moment emotion I had to my clothing. For example, there were weeks during the pandemic where I wore a tie everyday- I would then be aching for a fun fit to wear that didn’t require a tie. Diving deep into a desired POV was key here. What did I want to look like? Not just to my friends, but to onlookers (and new friends too)!
So what follows is a compilation of a few hangouts I’ve had with my friends, ranging from a intimate dinner in Little Tokyo to a house kickback. Each of these “events” has a different vibe for each of these outfits, which was pretty fun to think about when creating my outfits. I did briefly consider turning each hang into an editorial as I normally do, but with the podcast schedule being every two weeks, it would be months before you guys were able to see all of it; the outfits might even be out of season! Hell, the ones at the beginning of this definitely can’t be worn during press time.
I apologize for the long length of this editorial, but I keep going to things with great fits- not just on me, but on my friends! They all needed to be included. And since we’ve been on a little break from the pod, this recap couldn’t have come at a better time. You may have seen some of these photos posted on my IG story, but hey, now they’re canonized into the blog!
I’m not sure if its just the pandemic or lack of social context taking a toll on me, but I feel like some of these outfits are the best I’ve done! Especially since it gets too hot to wear menswear in the house; I’ve even started working at the local library just to give my fits some breathing room outside of a room in my dad’s house.
This is also one of the first editorials since our hang with Yung Chomsky nearly one year ago. For such a long time, it had been just one-on-one hangs. Now that we’re able to see more people, my camera is ready to pounce and snap everything that I’m up to and what my friends and I are wearing when we do it. All of my friends end up becoming my muse, especially if they’re wearing tailoring of some sort.
This outfit was worn to go to a brewery with Spencer and some of our OC friends. Out of all my SoCal friends, my OC friends are the ones who historical have gone “out” the most and actually drink some alcohol. Some of you may recall that I used to seldom consume libations, but I feel like that’s changed over the pandemic. I am now fully capable of taking (one) beer and (one) shot!
I was feeling a bit badass that day and after a week of wearing trad attire, I felt like it was time to break out a 70s look, especially since it was one that I hadn’t really worn in an outside context; all the fitpics I included in my essay were taken at home!
None of the pieces are from the 70s, but the outfit serves as proof that specific details can signal that look. The shirt is a 1950s repro by Groovin High, being a black base abstract motif sportshirt. You’ll note that I actually kept the collar points tucked inside the jacket rather than going with the runaway collar. The effect is much more lowkey, especially if you retain a severely unbuttoned front.
The jeans are a pair of black Levis 501s that I copped on eBay and proceeded to raw hem, replacing an older pair of 501s that were just too tight for me. They have a straight leg that appears to flare as you get to the bottom, so it was perfect to pair with my chelsea boots for this updated 70s look. A DB blazer was added to give it that preppy 80s mood as well as to provide that needed third dimension to the outfit. It makes it so much more “me”!
This next fit was also taken in OC; I guess I should move down there if only to hang out with my friends more. I actually started co-working in my friend’s apartment on Fridays so that I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic after work! We had planned to get some beers after we clocked out and since I had already exhausted a rare “non tie” look, I felt like I would be great to get back to form. As I’ve said before, the pandemic has reminded me that my heart truly lies in tailoring- why not take the opportunity to go out with a tie on?
I described this as “midcentury Southern writer”, simply because I had opted for a very “casual” trad fit. It honestly was kicked off by the inaugural wearing of this vintage light blue Brooks OCBD (you’ll remember that most of my solid button-down collars were poplin) or chambray). The shirt called for a black-base repp stripe tie which adds a bit of edgyness to the fit, echoed by the use of navy socks and black shell tassels.
Grey chinos were utilized since I didn’t want to look too straight-forward ivy by wearing khakis; chinos are also probably better suited for an outdoor bar than wool trousers. and jeans are too basic I like the grey not only to play along with the dark tie and shoes, but to contrast against my seersucker jacket. The jacket is a tan stripe rather than the traditional light blue, but it’s the only one I have, so it will make do. The jacket is delightfully unstructured and boasts wide lapels and big pockets, which helps me look rather slouchy even though to a layman, I’ll still look quite preppy.
It’s proof that you can definitely wear loafers, a jacket, and tie to simply hang out with friends.
It was finally time for me to do something around my neck of the woods. My buddy Hal was visiting Cali and he had made a few different slots for us to hang out! So for a little fast-casual dinner in Little Tokyo, here’s what I wore.
At first I only had the the pieces under the red chore coat planned out. I knew that I wanted to wear a white sport shirt and my trusty brown plaid Balloon from Ring Jacket. The combination of a light summer shirt and a dark check is pretty much the Ethan version of a #menswear summer look that typically utilizes a more vibrant and loud plaid. I played into the brown vibes of the outfit by wearing my brown peached cotton trousers from Stoffa, the very first ones I commissioned from them in fact. I had actually worn a brown checked jacket with these trousers before, and so I wanted to do a more casual version of that idea.
I guess my tie days alternate for hang outs!
What was interesting for me was the use of this Drake’s overshirt (I call it a chore coat) as an outer layer. I’ve been really feeling the allure of Barbour jackets ever since I watched The Crown; many of my inspirations also wear it with tailoring. I don’t really have need of a Barbour here in LA, but I like the idea of it wearing something that isn’t an overcoat or duffle when it’s mild. So here we are- me wearing the chore coat over a sportcoat, even though they are damn near close together in length. I’ll have to pretend it doesn’t bother me.
The jacket was quite practical, with enough buttons to fasten up as it got later into the evening. It was also quite helpful in carrying my camera gear around! Practicality rules.
You can’t see it in the photo above, but I actually picked up a pair of black chunky Tyrolean shoes by Yuketen at their sample sale during the last Rose Bowl. They are certainly different than what I’m used to wearing (even if I have opened my mind up to derbies), but I think they worked with this fit quite well. Sometimes you don’t need an elegant shoe but you also don’t need to wear a sneaker!
Remember how I said that ties alternate between hang outs? Well this one brings back the tie! I was back in OC again for this one (co-working again at Jay’s apartment), so I’m sure that a “work” mindset inspires a tie look.
I really wanted to wear a suit out with my friends but since I didn’t want to look too “corporate”, I brought out my first brown suit commission from Atelier Fugue. It’s got a gorgeous caramel color that feels a casual even when done up as a suit; the wrinkly cotton fabric also helps make it approachable. I kept the outfit a bit “neo-trad” with a checked spearpoint collar, 1930’s repp tie, and a fun liberal use of my suede wallabees. I had previously written that wallabees were tough to wear with straight or wide legged pants, but I have since reversed that decision. I think it looks great here!
We had planned on eating/drinking at the Anaheim Packing House (a cool food court for hip people), so I knew that outerwear was going to be semi-important. Continuing my theme of Barbour alternatives, I used this larger-size poplin jungle jacket which I also got recently at the last Rose Bowl Flea. My regular jungle jacket is much too short to wear over tailoring, so this was perfect. It’s also definitely the right length to to be worn with a sportcoat!
I think this outfit is great, since it really bridges the mixture of inspiration I’ve gathered from Drake’s, Brycelands, and the J. Mueser boys. The sum is pretty much “me” and I’m quite glad I was able to wear it to hang out with my friends, eating and drinking. That’s all I ever really want from an outfit!
In May, I actually got to break out some “party” attire. I say that because to a guy who grew up rather sheltered, a party at a house seems to recall some Project X connotations. In reality, it was a fun gathering of less than 20 people all sitting, talking, and eating charcuterie. I was invited to my pal Marco’s house who was feeling quite social after having waited the right amount of time after his second dose of the vaccine. He’s a stylish guy and I knew that I would have to support my brother in fashion by wearing something cool (or at least something I thought of as cool).
Prior to the party date proper, I had already settled on the major pieces of the outfit: a khaki cotton DB jacket (that I’ve owned since 2013), these charcoal brown trousers from my Natty Adams suit, and my black shell tassels. It was May and so I originally assumed I’d be wearing an severely unbuttoned shirt, specifically my black western shirt. Unfortunately the day ended up being rather cold (it rained in the early afternoon), so I swapped it for the cotton turtleneck I typically use for base layers.
Putting it all together makes the outfit looks rather 60s or early 70s, which is a louche vibe I hadn’t really done for a “cold” weather look. I also don’t really like using turtlenecks on their own since they provide too much of a minimal aesthetic while also removing the floppiness of a long collar and tie. However, I like the new look here since it’s something I seldom do! You’ll also see that I’ve been fastening the bottom button of my DBs. More on that later.
I might have been considered a bit overdressed for this kickback at Marco’s but I think it looked pretty cool! I think my slouch and [hopefully] friendly demeanor helped make me not look too stuffy. Either way, I felt good in this- Marco even encouraged other people to wear cool fits in his invitation!
Another co-working day at Jay’s OC apartment usually means a bar evening which in turn requires a cool fit. We were set to make a return to Old Towne Orange (the fun little area that has Joyride Vintage), where we would eat some BBQ and drink some beer. Jay had a friend from Cal visiting from another State, so naturally we all decided to dress up (as per usual).
I decided to not wear a tie this time, since the last OC outing had one (with the caramel suit and jungle jacket). I still wanted to wear a suit, so I opted for the classic combination of a navy suit + sawtooth westerner. The suit is the Ascot Chang one, chosen so over my cotton suit mainly for its breathability and drape; as some of you know, Crispaire is my favorite cloth for wool suiting. It just looks elegant and casual all at the same time. Even though the cut is slimmer than what I prefer now, it still has great drape- just check out that photo above!
The look is edgy, bringing to mind the countless western + suit pics we’ve been seeing in menswear lately. If this had a POV, it would just be “cool guy in a suit who happens to own a denim western shirt”. I was a bit concerned with how blue the outfit was, considering how this Crispaire swatch is the light navy rather than midnight navy. That’s why I finished off the fit with my black chelsea boots. They’re just sexier than tassel loafers, which would’ve been a bit too #menswear for me. I also opted out of a black fedora/beret for that reason- I just wanted to have an easy, simple look. Perhaps I’ll try this fit again with those other options sometime in the future. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I get to go out with friend; it’s just the beginning.
Now I know a lot of these took place in OC, but to my surprise, I was actually able to convince Spencer and Jay to come up to my neck of the woods for once! I even got Michael and Anne to make a return appearance.
To make it worth their while, I suggested that we go to an art museum (the Norton Simon to be exact) to get in some much needed culture before grabbing food and ultimately a drink. I had gotten so used to drinking at OC bars that I actually got nervous choosing a place, since I the casual consumption of alcohol is a rather new thing for me! Thankfully Yelp came in clutch.
My attire that day continues the theme from the previous outing: a suit, black shoes, and a western shirt. Since we were up here in Pasadena, where the weather is at least 10 degrees warmer, I had to pick something lighter; a denim shirt was a no go. Instead, I went with my latest flea market purchase of a 1940’s brown western shirt. It’s big and blousy, which make it a prime candidate for a slight runaway collar and some severe unbuttoning.
Monochromatic looks aren’t really my thing, but something about this shirt just called for me to pair with my custom Natty Adams suit. The suit jacket is cute a bit too slim for my current tastes, so I wear it with knitwear/tees and open collar shirts; it’s a fine worsted, so it’s pretty nice to wear in hot weather. The look all together, along with the black shoes, seems quite French to me, just due to its slick 70s-inspired vibes. To me, this was perfect to wear both to the art museum and the bar.
If I was a youtuber/stylist, that last sentence would be my mantra for all my suggestions. To bad I don’t tell you guys what to wear, right?
This was worn to attend Jay’s Pool Party, which I referenced in the pool editorial. It was hosted at his apartment complex’s club house-thingy and was mainly meant to be a chill kick back, similar to Marco’s party I wrote about earlier. Since this wasn’t too much about swimming, I went with a casual outfit that is a bit scum-prep, echoing that post-pandemic, TF-core vibe I’ve been talking about. It’s easy while still being true to my passion for tailoring- proof that you can wear a sportcoat to a party and be just as chill as everyone else (though if you point that out to the attendees, that’s the opposite of chill).
The hopsack jacket is actually from Drake’s, bought for me by my pal Shane at the NYC sample sale. The size 40 is perfect for me, being lightly extended in the shoulder and roomy in the chest; the downside is that the sleeves were too long and functional, which resulted in me shortening them as best my tailor could without being awkward (I didn’t do it from the top, which was too much money). Underneath is my beloved green-ish check rayon sportshirt, which provides a nice pattern to the rest of the solids; I wanted a break from my solid western shirts that I had been wearing recently. The lightwash 501s, bucket hat, and Zegna frames help make the outfit a bit more rugged and casual, as a sportcoat + white socks + loafers on their own could be a bit too preppy for a party.
Before you ask, no, I wasn’t alone in being menswear! While Jay was the host (and invited friends from high school and college), it was still a bit of an open invite, so I was able to bring a few familiar faces to this (we’re all friends anyway). So that’s why you’ll still see some great personal style mingling in among the beers and pizzas. If you needed proof that you could wear menswear in a regular social context, this is it. Just be sure to skip the tie.
This is what I wore to an epic Wednesday night hang in July: the return to local trivia night and John’s first trip to LA. You may recognize John due to his appearance in quite a few blog posts, like the one on sweatshirts and wide leg trousers. We’ve been instagram mutuals for a while and bonded not only over our shared love of vintage-inspired silhouettes, but our appreciation for Star Wars MOCs and messy eboy hair. It makes sense that I find a lot in common with someone who I consider to be one of the most stylish people I know. We even have similar style tastes, with us currently going through a bit of a somber/solid kick. I was pretty excited to hang with him, because it meant that I wouldn’t be the only one in a tie- it was time to be a real menswear group.
My atttire takes that idea an infuses a bit of ivy-prep fun. Instead of nantucket reds or orange chinos, I wore some blue linen trousers that actually features a bit of a plaid pattern. Its mid rise and quite slim, but they’re a fun, preppy-ish pant that I got during my days working at Banana Republic. Since they are supposed to be a bold pant, I paired it with my navy DB jacket from Hall Madden, which is set to be part of a suit (though the trousers are still under construction). It’s painfully obvious that this is not meant to be a suit, so I think it’s fine to wear together. To keep the blue theme going, I have my Kamakura vintage ivy shirt in a bold awning stripe along with a solid black knit tie; a foulard or repp would’ve been overkill I think.
The solid-yet-fun look was perfect for this menswear hang at a local Pasadena bar. It was a weeknight, but I’m quite proud of my friends showing up in some great looks. John has a fit that incorporates solids against raw hem jeans. Michael rocks his vintage RL birdseye suit that is delightfully corporate. Chris goes Brycelands and wears a soft shouldered jacket with a vintage sportshirt and wide legged denim. Spencer is a bit of the odd one out, lacking any semblance of tailoring; for once, I’m appropriate (though ties to a bar is still overkill).
I think the pictures show just how fun the night was. This might be the first time in over a year that I’ve been [mainly] around classic menswear people, which was why I was so busy snapping pics of everyone in between conversation, chugging a Whiskey Sour (I was hooked after the last Pasadena hang), and answering trivia questions (we got 6th). I even stayed up late to edit all of these pictures- I was just too excited.
I’m finishing off this little editorial with what we wore to a full day’s hang with John and his brother Tommy. Since this was a bigger event with a lot planned (DTLA/Little Tokyo + 626 Night Market), a few of us certainly dressed for the “occasion”. I was incredibly excited for this, since it meant another day where I’d have a buddy (or two) wearing a tie; Spencer seems to have fully left tailoring behind except for truly special events, so this would have to do. I’ve built up confidence to be myself over the years, but it’s just so much fun when other people match your vibe!
For this day, I kept the minimal (J. Mueser) vibes going. I guess when it’s an “event”, I do what most [regular] guys do and go for something restrained rather than utilize triple pattern mixing with a brown checked jacket; it’s been fun to try something new with the existing pieces you have. Technically that last part isn’t true, because I’m wearing the basketweave-hopsack Drake’s jacket yet again. It’s paired with 1960’s cream chinos and a lovely burnt brown tie. The only point of pattern is my spearpoint shirt, which has blue and light yellow check that seems to play well with the other colors of the fit, making it into a tonal piece of sorts. Cream socks and black shoes were done to give it an edge. Overall, I think that this look really combines a bit of what I’ve been doing in previous looks: a touch of prep with a lot of solids, especially with black footwear. It reads modern but still has a touch of vintage due to the details as well as the silhouette.
I really do love how everyone else got into the spirit in their own way. John also did something tonal, echoing what I did in the previous hang by wearing mismatched browns – a vintage beige sack jacket and gurkha chinos. His point of interest is his gorgeous vintage repp tie. Hal, who joined us in Little Tokyo later on, was in solids as well, even sporting a gorgeous brown tie. Tommy, John’s younger brother, is a great example of how easy ivy and stylish ivy can be, wearing his own Drake’s jacket (a smoother hopsack) with a perfect paisley-foulard tie and chinos. I think that Nguyen got too into the spirit, wearing his brown tweed jacket (MTO from Suit Supply of all places) seemingly with ease.
Of course we weren’t all tailored. Spencer continues to express his love of milsurp and denim by wearing a USMC olive hbt chore coat (which I just got at the most recent flea market), a western fedora, and raw hemmed jeans accented by his new shell LHS pennys. Jonny has an America fit that bridges the gap between Spencer and me (kinda), by wearing a Type-1 with wide legged patch work trousers.
Obviously none of this was truly smart to wear for a hot July day but sweat tends to happen no matter what you’re wearing. And with wide cuts and ample slouch, we were pretty good for a chill day. The occasion, if we count it, was simply a few friends getting together and hanging out. All of these outfits were perfectly fine for walking to different stores in DTLA, drinking matcha, and for each of us to indulge our photography habit. In addition to being proud of everyone’s fits, I was also happy to see just how many of my friends have started to take photos for fun!
If this doesn’t prove just how easy it can be to wear cool clothes and hang out with friends in a relatively normally way, then I don’t know what else to tell you.
We finished our night at the 626 Night Market, which is one of my favorite local events. It’s basically a food truck/indie-food festival that tends to feature Asian and Asian-inspired dishes. Since we were going to be sharing potentially messy food and being around a bunch of people, the tailored boys smartly brought a change of clothes. We weren’t going to be crazy by rocking a tie and trousers around a bunch of people- we know context too, okay? This allowed me to pull a bookend move and definitely finish this editorial with a true going-out fit from me: blousy rayon gab shirt, DB jacket, and jeans. It’s always a great example of taking classic pieces into a different, edgier/cooler concept.
I like how John, as a true blog acolyte, also invoked that idea with his newly thrifted 70s chambray shirt and vintage jeans. I think we were perfectly fine to stand in line for over priced (but delicious) food. I don’t think anyone batted an eye; we even had a few compliments when we were walking around!
I’m not sure what there is to learn from this editorial. Maybe its proof that slouch, POV, and a good community are important for dressing confidently. Or rather just that it’s extremely possible to get back in the habit and live a stylish life with friends. Obviously I know that some people are dressing up in the post-pandemic world, but I know a few can still be hesitant to fully dress like themselves. Hell, I was in that boat as I wondered if I’d be overdoing it for these “events”. But in the end, I’m glad that I stuck to my roots and just did what I do: put the clothes on, walk out the door, and forget about it.
I’m not sure when the next trunk show or store event is going to be (especially since menswear stores may not exist in LA anymore), but at least I’ll always have my hang outs with friends to dress up in. And take plenty of pictures too! There’s also plenty of smaller hang outs that I didn’t get to include in here, but rest assured- the fits were good.
All I know is that perhaps what I missed more than wearing clothes outside was simply getting to take pictures of my friends. Hopefully you enjoyed looking at them as much as I enjoyed shooting them (and then staying up to edit).
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Always a pleasure,