A Yankee in Paris (with John Robinson)

I haven’t been out of the country since 2019. So I’m going to have to live vicariously through my friend John for this one.

When I first created this blog with my friend Tim, it was called Street x Sprezza which represented the intersection between Streetwear (Tim) and Sprezza[tura] (me). It was the height of the #menswear blog era where everyone dreamed of getting an Indochino sponsorship and being featured in GQ or Esquire. The early posts were similar to other blogs, where the angle was less of a livejournal and more of a wannabe-magazine, with Campus Style features, eBay roundups, and reviews supplementing the event recaps and essays I’m most known for today. 

Even though the blog never reached magazine status like Primer or Dappered, I used to think that it would’ve been cool to have guest writers on to share some of their perspectives and stories. But now the blog is all mine and I wouldn’t have it any other way (though yes, Spencer has written one post here before). Over the years, A Little Bit of Rest became its own beast— a platform for me to expel personal long form thoughts and photos about menswear.

I guess that’s why I started podcasting and streaming! The conversational (and improvisational) nature of that style of content lent itself to be open to friends and guests to share on equal footing with me. It’s still not a magazine or strictly an interview show, but it was just more conducive to have people on who were not me or Spencer. And that’s why I brought John back on to talk about his recent trip to France. It’s almost as if this is our version of The French Dispatch (or is it Picnic?)

You guys probably have John’s episode fresh in your mind as it wasn’t too long ago. He’s an incredible dresser that I became incredibly good friends with due to our shared mindset and interest in not just menswear but in other things like art and Star Wars. John and I just happen to be on the same wavelength, with both of us delving into minimalist palettes and sexy 70s inspired moves in tailoring— especially when we go out.  It is due to our parallel minds that I knew he’d be a great return guest, as I felt that he would notice (and do) a lot of the same things I would’ve done in Paris (if I just had the money and the free time to return to the City of Lights after a 5 year absence).

And he did just that! In the podcast episode above, John recounts his experiences in the city. He was on break between semesters and was able to spend nearly a month in Paris to visit his brother Tommy (who is also stylish) who was studying at Le Cordon Bleu.  They both spent the days eating, drinking, and checking out the local menswear shops (mainly vintage), all with a curious American eye. John was gracious enough to share some of his favorite photos with me, which I’ve included in this blog post.  

What I love most about his episode was actually about his “menswear mindset” when packing for the trip and in creating outfits while abroad. As you’ll hear, John actually regretted a few of his choices, which is always a fear of mine when I’m traveling. He and I are maximalists who like the spontaneous inspiration that comes with an expansive wardrobe (more on this later this year). Travel forces a capsule wardrobe which isn’t conducive to how we like to dress.  This is probably why he did buy a lot of vintage during his trip, a move that he maintains helped save his fits. In the end, John loved every one of his outfits (an aspect of what I call Menswear Nirvana). 

The man on the move, with his vintage polo coat, flared trousers, and a bandana.

Despite his prowess in casual attire (he was one of the reasons I got into vintage sweatshirts), John remained true to his love of tailored attire. As you can see in the photos he’s sent, there is a surprising amount of button up shirts and ties! He didn’t have to do it, but John did it anyway, which is a move that I admire. To me it shows not only a bit of intentionality (and authenticity to his personal style) but a bit of mastery over his surroundings. He never said it felt like he was overdoing it, which is good enough for me. 

And even though he bought a few new things (like a second hand bespoke Caraceni DB jacket), there is still a sense of cohesiveness to his attire. The same few pieces show up often, remixed in different ways that stays true to his style POV. Perhaps this is a testament to his taste! What I think is cool is the concept of Forced Versatility, which was imposed quite literally due to his limited travel wardrobe. The jackets, shirts, and shoes return across different because he has to, both from an enjoyment and a practical level; he did buy them for a reason after all! Just see how often he wears those Paraboot hiking boots or that grey DB. Forced Versatility in action. 

I’ll venture to say that John’s Paris fits are some of the best I’ve seen. There is just so much to love. You’ll see a few spades of Esquire Man mixed in with workwear and milsurp. John even leans into the idyllic Parisian kick we’ve been on since discovering Husbands and the somber J. Mueser look, rocking solid ties and gray jackets. And of course, there are those damn hiking boots which he puts into different fits, playing into and subverting the existing vibes. That takes some confidence!

Our conversation on the pod really wants me to return to Europe. These trip recountings are some of my favorite things to do, since it makes me feel like I work for Conde Nast, except it’s really just me talking about fits, stores, and people I noticed. And I guess this time, it’s John who gets to do that, with me living vicariously through him.  

If this is the closest I can get to being a magazine, I’ll take it!

Podcast Outline

  • 04:57 – Intro
  • 10:07 – What’s New With John and France Trip
  • 17:52 – How Did You Pack?
  • 24:16 – Shops And Purchases
  • 30:35 – What Did Other People Wear?
  • 35:45 – Paraboots
  • 39:34 – Any Effect on Your Style/What Did You Wear
  • 43:11 – More Shops
  • 51:04 – Highlights
  • 1:07:14 – Wrap-Up
What a stylish family!
The find of the trip: a second hand bespoke Caraceni jacket.
John leaned hard into the Parisian vibes.
Fatigues done two ways.
Paraboots!
Looks like John’s dad reads the blog.
A typical John move: practical clothing underneath tailoring.
Flared pants!
Another quintessentially John look.
“of America”
He really is making the case for DBs.
I’m not surprised that an East Coast dad owns a Barbour!
I wonder if this chocolate turns you into the Green Goblin.
What a Yankee!
Paraboots x 2.
A pair of one of the most stylish brothers I’ve met.
I feel like John takes a photo like this everywhere he goes.

Thanks for listening and reading along! And a big thank you to John for joining us and sharing his travels.

Don’t forget to support us on Patreon to get some extra content and access to our exclusive Discord. We also stream on Twitch and upload the highlights to Youtube.

The Podcast is produced by MJ.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan M. Wong

Big thank you to our top tier Patrons (the SaDCast Fanatics): Austin, Philip, Audrey, Shane, and Jarek.

7 comments

  1. caivs · February 16

    spencer right the sport shirt article also? https://alittlebitofrest.com/2017/08/03/the-vintage-sport-shirt/

    Like

  2. boy · February 25

    how do you even get your jeans to fit like THAT??!

    Like

  3. Pingback: Paraboots, Finally | a little bit of rest
  4. Artturi · April 2

    Hey, how do you spell the name of John’s favorite store where he got the DB? 🙂

    Like

  5. Pingback: Flaring Out | a little bit of rest

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