Another year, another NYC trip. And boy was this one big!
Vacations are always busy for me in the best way possible. When I shared my NYC itinerary with Annie, she balked at how much I had packed into seven days. Despite it going to be the most time I’ve ever allotted for NYC (or any solo trip for that matter), there was at least three or so things I knew I wanted to do each day. And yes, I did everything on that list.
While you might think that most of it was stores (which is true), a lot of it was blocks of time to hang out with friends, both new and old. Honestly, hanging out with friends is the main reason why I travel. It’s not exactly an introvert-extrovert thing, but its mainly because when I’m left to my own devices (and I’m not at my job), I’m constantly writing, editing, archiving photos, and reading (thanks Isabel). Hanging with friends, whether it’s a busy dinner or just coffee, is just how I’m able to truly relax. Hence why people made up the bulk of this year’s NYC trip! Also I was quite sad that I missed what seems to be every event of September (J. Press x Fox Brothers, the Armoury UES, Alfargos…)
Obviously, I do see my friends quite often back home, but NYC is just on a different level. It’s just more conducive to hang out. Don’t get me wrong, LA is chill, but NYC is wild. The camaraderie, acceptance, and energy of community is something that is incredibly inspiring and honestly a little envy inducing. This trip was the first time in a long time that I felt like I had actually used my battery up (in the best way possible). It probably helps that I get much more relaxed each time I get to visit the city. Instead of being a fanboy, we’re all peers and we’re just here to hang out; not everything needs to be a podcast interview!
My hope is that this blog post really does reflect how enjoyable friends and community can be when it comes to menswear because that’s what makes it a hobby rather than simply a functional way to not be naked.
The article is also a great example of why NYC is quite dangerous for a menswear enthusiast. There are so many stores to buy from, whether its classic clothing, a bit of designer, or vintage. I guess that’s where the car/gas/insurance money would go to if I hypothetically moved here. On that note, its obviously much more freeing to be able to visit NYC when you have an adult job; I remember pinching many a penny when I first visited six years ago during my close to minimum wage job. Now I was able to go out, have a drink (or three), and buy a few pieces. I didn’t’ spend as much on clothes as I could have as thankfully, brands don’t have LA appropriate clothing during September.
Now read on while I dread my incoming credit card statement. Maybe I’ll actually have to do some freelance photography…
I also did a podcast episode about my trip! You can listen to the preview below but you’ll have to subscribe to the Patreon for the full episode. Spencer and I also go over Don’t Worry Darling, which has cool style and a bizarre plot.
As I said in the intro, this trip to New York was the longest personal/”solo” trip (I went with Annie) I’ve ever had. I basically had a full seven days to do whatever I wanted in the city, which was pretty unprecedented. This meant that I could balance friend hangs, shop visits, and random wanderings equally instead of rushing from place to place (though that did happen a few times during the trip) in order to get the most out of my time. This time was super chill while still being packed.
Annie and I arrived at our Murray Hill hotel at around 5PM. It was a little later than we expected but hey, delays are so common now. The only thing locked on my agenda was our dinner reservations at Torien–Annie is a
big foodie connoisseur of dining and she made sure to have at least one fancy/elevated experience on our list. Our reservation was at 6 so we promptly made our way down to NoHo.
It was probably one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in my life thus far. Yakitori is great and the fact the fact that it was slow (the whole dinner took about two hours) was a nice, effortless start to the trip. I enjoyed every skewer we ate and briefly considered ordering additional ones. Refraining was the move, as we later got a cookie from Levain and met up with my friend Jen at Grace Street, where she needed help eating a waffle.
My outfit was pretty casual as Annie assured me that Torien did not have a dress code. My tee + sweater vest under my DB jacket (not the blazer, since I wore that one last year) and my dungarees were just fine when surrounded by finance guys in puffy vests. That Friday evening was the coldest of the trip but the windy chill made me feel alive, as LA was in the throes of a heat wave (there’s another at the time of this writing). I packed moderately as I knew that walking and being subway on the subway were bound to make me hot.
Annie was not having it, so we dropped into Kith to shop around. I know LA has a Kith but this was the first time going into one! Obviously not really my thing, but a few shoes did intrigue me; I think I just like the merit of design.
Saturday was the biggest and busiest day simply because I wanted to hit all the menswear stores early; I wanted to free my time up later on in the week!
First on the docket was J. Press, which thankfully was right near where we were staying. Oddly enough they weren’t busy that Saturday morning, which mean that I was able to catch up with Robert Wolf who some of you may remember from the NYC trip I took with Spencer and Aldous. He was not alone: Nick, (who I met IRL earlier this year)and Ivan were both there waiting for me. All three of them work (or will work) at this J.press store and I couldn’t be happier to see my friends make their way through the menswear industry! We sat and talked about ivy (as well as a few wild characters who we’ve encountered in the enthusiast space) before heading out. Ivan joined us for the menswear excursions and told us that he brought a change of shirt in his bag so he could get in the going out mood.
Since I was planning on walking a lot but also had a dinner to go to, I kept my outfit easily transition-able: my navy DB jacket, charcoal trousers (that I debuted at my birthday party), and a vintage merch tee that would later act as an undershirt for the spearpoint in my bag. You’ll soon see what we were changing for!
Next was a whole slew of stores– thankfully almost all of them were located in Soho. We went to CHCM, ALD, Noah, Corridor, Rowing Blazers, Knickerbocker, Blue in Green, and Drake’s. Almost all of these visits counted as a “first time” as I’ve either never been inside before or they were a brand that was now in a new space; Noah was the only one that hadn’t changed.
We were joined by a few friends along the way, like Himbilbibli, Mafleeted, and my son John. With our different styles, it must have been a fun spectacle! I really do find enjoyment in these annual “menswear crawls” with my friends since clothes are always an interesting discussion point that always spurs inspiration for new clothing.
I’ve gotten closer to “completing” my wardrobe (whatever that means), so shop visits are mainly for educational purposes: to see handle products in person for future potential purchase (or to shy away from) as well as to see how a brand executes its branding in a dedicated space. It’s also fun to see how each brand does “tailoring” considering that we are in the big post-pandemic menswear merger theme.
Out of all the stores, I think that Blue In Green was probably the most interesting to me, which makes sense if you’ve been following my fascination on designer-meets-Japanese/Americana. Corridor came close with their crocheted cardigans and overall take on textiles, but obviously the cut of most of the garments (like their pants) weren’t to my liking. Rowing Blazers was also a fun excursion as they had a selection of vintage in the backroom. It was fun, quick afternoon of window shopping!
Before you ask, I didn’t cop anything that day (though sunglasses are always tempting). Well, we did stop by Church St. Surplus where I couldn’t resist a $10 tie (a solid 1930’s wool/rayon crushable tie). John and Ivan also found the same type but in black which would come in handy later.
You know how I said that Saturday was a big day? Well it wasn’t just because of all the menswear stores: it was because of the Style & Direction Patreon Dinner.
This type of formal (lol) meet up was something new for me. I was pretty nervous as the attendees literally help keep the pod going and I hadn’t actually met many of them in person (but we’re all friends in the Discord). As you guys know, there aren’t many listeners or blog readers in LA, so most of them are either my existing friends or I just happen to run into mutuals/listeners while at a flea market. This dinner was another beast, bringing together around 12 menswear enthusiasts that included friends new and old (and Annie).
Originally we had planned to go to the Players Club courtesy of a Patreon member but we didn’t realize there was a cap. Luckily for us, a restaurant suggested by Shane had an opening and so we shifted the group to the backroom of Walkers. I can’t tell if they loved or hated us, but it was an incredible time to be around truly like-minded menswear people. The ones that got there early (Annie and I got to the area a full hour before) were treated to Ethan Portrait Photography but rest assured, everyone and their outfits were going to be canonized into the blog in one form or another.
Once the dinner was over a handful of us kept the night going and moved over to a bar where surprisingly, they also had space for a large group. It was there that I got to share even more cringe stories of myself, just as we were joined by new friends. Jen was no stronger to menswear gatherings (she used to live in OC and hung out with Spencer and me) but new to the coterie was Alexi, one of the hosts of Nymphette Alumni. I’m a huge fan of their podcast, which dives deep into culture and fashion movements in an accessible way; it has definitely had an effect on my own pod.
We finished the evening by going to Soho Dinner with the stragglers. Annie and I ended up getting home at nearly 3AM since trains are much more sparse in the evening. One reason why cars are superior! /s
After a jolly (and long) evening, Annie and I took a much needed respite at the Whitney. It was a bit far (I hadn’t been to Chelsea before), but it was worth it. I haven’t been to a contemporary museum in quite some time, so it was nice change of pace to see the various installations as well as the section on modern art. I especially liked Synchrony No. 4, which had geometric shapes against Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Calder’s wire circus was also amazing to see!
Since we were going to a museum, I felt like dark, artsy clothes was the way to go. I brought my black cotton cardigan-style chore coat, which acts a bit like a sport coat alternative and gives outfits a bit of an edge that doesn’t lean in formality; I specifically brought it along to take a “break” from traditional menswear. It was worn with my black-base Kapital bandana, an old black tee I found in my closet, and these tobacco brown trousers I thrifted. Loafers might have the move but since I wore them the previous day, I wanted to give my feet a break.
It was pretty close to being my favorite outfit of the trip!
The Armoury Tribeca was set as my post-museum, lazy Sunday excursion but to my surprise, it was actually a little busy. Mark Cho himself was there helping out on the floor; he actually was the one who showed me all the new things in the store (I’ve heard he does this if you’re lucky enough to catch him in Hong Kong).
Like I said earlier, it was a little unfortunate that my NYC visits are always around the start of Fall, which means that The Armoury did not have any Spring/Summer in stock (but it was good for my wallet). Still, it was exciting to handle the different tweeds and flannels that were currently on the floor. Last year was all about the Model 11 and 101, but I made sure to check out the epic Model 16 DB that intrigued me ever since it released: it’s their latest DB style that takes after 1930s sportswear with its patch pockets, ventless and dartless cut, and 4×2 closure. I was a 38R in both that and their regular AMJ-3 jacket, which was good to hear (no drastic changes from last year).
This was actually the only store that I knew I was going to buy from. You might remember last year’s internal debate on whether or not I should buy the black suede Sagans. Now that I know that I enjoy black footwear (I wear my black sandals and tassels a lot), I decided that these were a must; I could already imagine all of the fits I’d wear them with! I tried obviously tried on a sizes again, but since I had my thin OTC socks, I immediately knew that the size 40 were it. I shipped them home along with a complimentary Sapphir suede spray in order for me to maintain their dark color.
Other shoes that I tried on were the Duane penny, Hudson tassel, and the Wyndam oxford. Mark and I confirmed that I am a 6.5UK in these proprietary models, which made me wonder about the 6UK Jubilee I have; it probably makes sense that I don’t typically wear them for extended periods of time. The surprise for me was that they stocked the Wakouwa deck shoes, a sneaker that I’ve been looking at for a long time. Like the Sagans, I was a 40 in these, which made it hard for me to pass on them during that Sunday.
[Not to spoil the rest of the blog post, but I actually bought the cream deck shoes from the UES store later that week. I guess my Vans (which have seen over four years of service including international travel) are about to be replaced!]
After placing these orders, Mark invited Annie and I to have a cigar with him and his watch friends on the porch. He told us that if we were free Wednesday night, Annie and I could attend the a VIP watch soiree where he was showing some of the watches he was auctioning off. Looks like we now had our first true menswear event on the docket!
With the cigar turned to ash, Annie and I headed off to eat Thai food with more menswear-turned-IRL friends: Dave (of Atelier Fugue), Yung Chomsky, and Rory (who was previously at the Patreon dinner). It was a quick one, as all of these friends had busy schedules, so we finished off with a drink with Felicia, who some of you may remember from Dapper Day. She and a friend were in New York simply to watch a shit ton of musicals on a weekend. I think I’ve gotta watch something the next time I’m in town; I haven’t seen a Broadway play since Mary Poppins in high school.
Monday was a chill day. It helped that most stores open at 12PM, which mean that Annie and I could sleep in and eat a local lunch (it was bagels) before heading out. We went to Nepenthes which used to intimidate me but now felt accessible, especially as I’ve gained an appreciation for designer clothing (specifically Japanese ones that reference Americana).
Because we got there right when it opened, Annie and I basically had the store to ourselves. We tried on what we could but obviously most of the stuff was not meant for our Los Angeles lives. I used the opportunity to try on a few EG pieces and to no one’s surprise, I really liked the jackets while I disliked the cut of the trousers. They had a few sport vest-esque jackets in chambrays and denim that I really liked, but I decided to pass on them.
I was surprised to see that they still had the Needles grosgrain opera mules I saw last year tucked away in their shoe section. Like with the Sagans, I knew I had to at least try them on again. I was sad (or perhaps relieved) that they didn’t really fit me, being about a half size too big by my estimation. Clogs aren’t a thing I typically wear, so probably best to skip out on something that doesn’t fit right away. Unfortunately, the staff told me that these mules were an old Needles model and there weren’t any in stock. That’s probably why I couldn’t find any evidence online of these shoes existing.
Annie on the other hand walked out with a few things: a long utility vest and a parka which were both the EG x Barbour collab. They came in handy as she was suffering through NYC’s colder-than-LA weather.
My afternoon was spent with Tanner, a mutual of mine from Tiktok. I’ve followed Tanner for a while and my enjoyment of his style and content is probably indicative of my growing appreciation of designer clothing. I was happy that he hit me up and offered to take me around vintage shopping.
We started our day at Search and Destory in the village, which was the punk vintage store that I found my L.L Bean sport vest. A lot of time was spent there since we got to know each other better; to my non-surprise, I learned that we both have a history of being Fandom Tumblr users who grew up in religious education. I’m telling you– I keep finding similar souls out in fashion!
Tanner is quite notorious for finding great vintage all around New York, so he showed me a few of his spots like L Train and Tokio 7. I actually found a Anglo Italian DB suit in the latter, but it was incredibly small. He was surprised that I was able to pick it out based on the lapel but as I later saw, Tanner is able to do the same thing with niche designers.
Because I actually had a lot of time before my dinner reservations (and because the village all uses the L train), Tanner and I skipped over to Williamsburg where we continued our hunt for vintage. He took me to Rugged Road which reminded me a lot of the vintage shops back in LA, like Raggedy Threads or Western Gifts. It was located in a hall of sorts and it was comedically next door to a much more Y2K/Gen Z vintage store. Prices were similar but the prized pieces were obviously in different taste.
I actually struck gold when I went to 10ft Single by Stella Dallas. It was John’s “secret” that he took YC and me to last year and many a menswear guy lamented how popular it’s become. Maybe it’s because I have different taste from them, but I found quite a bit. The back room is filled with older vintage menswear (workwear, sack tailoring, leather jackets), but the real finds were in the front. I walked out with a 60s OCBD, a plaid Paul Stuart tie, and two pairs of 1960s plaid cotton trousers. Once I get back to LA, I’ll be ready to dress like its 1963.
It was time for Menswear Dinner Part 2. You just gotta love big dinners; it’s much better than planning individual coffees or lunches with everyone.
This dinner mainly brought together two groups, the NYC MFA-ers and the Cozy Boys though I guess both are now under the umbrella of Alfargo’s, the menswear garage sale started by Stephon, since that was the event that brought them together. Like last year, I was a little nervous for the dinner since unlike the Patreon Discord, these was existing IRL friend group. But of course all of that went away immediately; I could see myself hanging with these guys every week (which many of them do).
I was excited to see Elias, Stephon (outside of work), Nick (also outside of work), and Sora again as well as getting to meet Alex, Drew, Auden, and Kshitij for the first time. Regular Alfargo’s attendees will know that a few major faces were missing but don’t worry, you’ll see them soon.
We met up with Alex first at Washington Square Park, where we took a few fit pics while dodging skateboarders before heading to the restaurant from a pre-eating drink. Like Nick and I, Alex is a bit of a power user on MFA; I’ve been very happy to watch them take a turn to the tailoring side. I was actually surprised that he was in such “casual” clothes for a law profession: he had a striped OCBD, foulard tie, gun check jacket and chinos. It’s proof that some lawyers are able to get a little Esquire Man with it!
Everyone else at the dinner was dressed to the nines. Stephon had his signature jaunty scarf (he told me not to photography much during the trip since he was aware of how much he repeats). Drew wore his Corridor pieces. Kshitij repped hey day Drake’s with a brown checked jacket, grey trousers, and repp tie. Auden slouched around in a grey gabardine(?) suit. Nick went ivy with a Model 11 cotton suit. And Sora, who is always a vibe, was in a houndstooth DB, tee, sweater vest, and big black chinos (not from J. Crew).
Since this night was a bit different than the Patreon one, I decided to change up my attire. As you saw, I kept the navy DB and the charcoal trousers, but I threw on my brown sport shirt and had my own black jaunty scarf. Not a specific Repeat, but definitely a recurring vibe when I Go Out.
It was a work night for everyone except Annie and me, so we were finally able to get back home at a reasonable time (before midnight). Before that, we all made sure to do a Cozy Boys tradition and grab ice cream. Now I know that most places in New York are small but through some stroke of fate, we were all able to fit (and sit) in that Village Van Leewen’s. Wholesome nights wearing cool clothes are the best way to live.
Tuesday was a completely random day for me. Nothing was really on the docket because as you saw, I had gone to most stores already, which, included vintage shops in Brooklyn! I was way ahead of my itinerary.
So what do you do when you have a free day in New York? You go to a museum. And by some sheer surprise, The Met had an exhibit on kimonos. I guess everyone is feeling the pull of Safincore!
Jason and Michael happned to be free that day, so they joined us for an UES journey. We spent a good time at the Met where I was able to look at some great modern art as well as some German photos of granaries that were much more interesting than it sounds. The Met isn’t far from the Rhinelander Mansion, so we obviously had to stop by and check out the cool stuff that Ralph had cooking. Despite my love of the typical menswear-head brands like Drake’s and The Armoury, I do like the styling at RL more. As you’ll see below, RL incorporates more patterns and subversive combinations that are more akin to my personal style. I could feel myself filling up with inspiration for the backlog.
The new Armoury UES was right near by, so I was able to check out the new space and catch up with Dan and Kamau; it was also the first time I got to meet Josh. This spot has a different vibe than Tribeca, being a bit more casual and laid back; none of the shopkeepers were wearing a tie and rock was playing on the speakers. In an almost poetic way, it was at The Armoury UES that I purchased the Wakouwa deck shoes.
After that, Annie and I walked down to Nordstrom at the suggestion of Tanner, who said that the designer selection actually worth checking out. We ended up staying until nearly closing while Tanner and his colleague Violet told us about each of the designers in the shop, which honestly was pretty fascinating; the clothes were a welcome contrast to all the sportcoats and loafers that defined the trip until now. That being said, the men’s section did have a few cool pieces from Bode and Drake’s, though none of the them were in my size.
Tanner finished off by showing us the men’s shoes, where I was delighted not only to see Alden, but J.M. Weston, Paraboot, and YSL among the wares. For reference, my local Nordstrom carries Allbirds, Ferragamo, and CDG Play. I figured out my size in J.M. Weston 180s and YSL Jodhpurs but I obviously wasn’t going to spend over a grand on shoes. The YSL boots were mighty temping though.
Despite getting through a lot of the most recommended vintage shops, I was still missing Front General Store. Back to Brooklyn I went! I got there with Michael, Nick, and Stephon which honestly made for a fun time. When you have friends, you can experience more clothes due to the variety of body types; whenever I go by myself, I’m in and out so quickly since not everything will fit me.
Front is such a great vintage store and like 10ft Single, reminded me of the vintage shops back home. The front had more contemporary pieces (as well as a great selection of thin belts that are never in my size) while the back had the good stuff. The grey gabardine jacket was still there, but I passed on it again since it’s just too big. I was only briefly tempted by a true vintage black ripstop jungle jacket but rugged black outerwear just isn’t as versatile for my style; Nick also almost bought it.
After an hour of vintage shopping (in one store), we walked over to the Park Plaza Diner where we had lunch with Maxwell. I’ve seen Maxwell a few times on the Ivy-Style facebook group where I couldn’t help but notice his incredible style. It’s a mix of vintage/secondhand and contemporary items but I feel like he truly gets the spirit of the ivy-prep; I was surprised to learn that he’s from the Bay Area! He showed up with a great casual look, wearing a yellow sweatshirt, O’Connell’s chinos, black penny loafers, and a Giants hat. We definitely bonded over the wilder characters we’ve encountered in our ivy journeys.
Maxwell only had a short time for lunch, which meant that the remaining foursome was free to check out the new J. Crew Men’s shop on Bowery. I was especially intrigued to check it out as J. Crew has been on the up-and-up lately thanks to Brandon Babenzian. The Bowery Store had a camp feel, which honestly made it feel close to New Drake’s or even Noah; even the store’s staff was dressed accordingly (though one guy did have M-43 pants on). Even if the Ludlow cut and long knitwear isn’t my thing, I still appreciated a lot of the styling around the shop.
And before you ask, yes, I did ask about the Giant Fit Chinos but they didn’t have any in my size. Ever since I saw Sora in his big black pants, I knew I wanted some. As of now my only black pants are my draw string ones from Uniqlo!
The ivy kept coming as J. Crew Bowery was the site of my first ever meeting with Eric, better known as Acute Style. I’ve known Eric for a long time and it was such a pleasure to get to meet him. Don’t let his clinical take on fit pics confuse you; he is an incredibly warm and friendly guy who loves clothes. We even bonded over our “collector” approach to menswear– sometimes you want it because you just love the details! I was very happy to photograph him properly, as he seldom posts photos of his smile!
After all the site seeing was done, it was time for me to regroup with Annie and head to The Armoury Tribeca. Mark was hosting a closed soiree for friends (and clients) to preview his upcoming watch auction.
I was very grateful to be invited as the event allowed me to catch up with a few friends. From The Armoury, there was Dan, Tim, Max, Elliot, Josh, and Andrew (their newest hire; I also got to see Nick of Lawrence & Co! I’m not much of a watch head, so it made sense that I talked to the clothing guys. Alcohol probably helped for which I should thank Marlon; to my surprise, the heavier liquor went down smoothly (I mainly drink sweet cocktails).
I’m still not a “real” watch guy, but I couldn’t deny that some of Mark’s pieces were quite beautiful. I was obviously drawn to the 1930s-1950s style ones more but thanks to the watch channel in my discord, I was gaining an appreciation for more contemporary designs. This was also the first time I saw a Patek Nautilius in person and not just in a Youtube video where a guy talks about his dream timepieces. Of course the draw to get into watches is still not stronger than clothes (or furniture or my own house).
Now since this was an event (technically a watch one, not a menswear one), I wanted to dress up a bit more elevated. I didn’t expect to attend anything other than friend dinners, so this took a bit of scrambling to make; I also had to account for the fact that I was going to be out all day, so any extra clothes had to be in the bag with me.
You saw earlier that I had a bit of a sleek 1960s look with a whiet OCBD, fair isle sweater vest, charcoal trousers, and a navy blazer (purchased from Ivan a few days earlier). This was already quite nice but again, I wanted to change it up for the evening, even if it was slight. So I added the green 1930s tie from Front General and swapped the sportcoat for my Japanese chore-cardigan. The effect is a bit more slouchy and artsy, which is exactly the vibe I wanted to have. Obviously not many people at the event were in dark clothes (Mark was in a brown jacket and grey trousers), but I felt like I was cocktail appropriate.
It was time for yet another trip to Brooklyn. Thankfully the post-Armoury drinks didn’t go too late, so Annie and I were well rested for a brunch of sorts with Dave. We had coffee and food at Win Son, which felt like home due to the Asian-fusion food and the amount of cool, young people; I’ve been told that Brooklyn has the most “DTLA/Arts District vibes” out of NYC.
The reason why we returned to Brooklyn was because Annie and I had afternoon tickets to the Brooklyn Museum, mainly to see the Virgil Abloh exhibit. I didn’t keep up with his design for Kanye, Off-White, or Louis Vuitton but it was great to a retrospective of his life; he clearly was such an artistic person with multiple facets of expression.
A few people told me that the Brooklyn Museum worth too much of a visit, but I actually really enjoyed myself. They had an expansive collection of American art with a few curated collections, such as one of landscapes, women painters, and a wonderful exhibit on Nellie Mae Rowe which even had a replica of her Playhouse. The “traditional” art combined with Abloh’s modern creations was a fun contrast.
We left Brooklyn and went up to Chinatown. One reason was for Bode, which honestly felt a little lackluster compared to the expansive LA store I had been to. I’m still a fan of Bode’s overall take but unlike last time, I didn’t feel the need to try anything on. Maybe I was aware that I had already spent a lot of money by this point on the trip.
That feeling didn’t stop me from buying a few items from Yu & Me Books, a female Asian-American owned store. I really loved the space. It was cozy, with a few chairs spread out for chilling out; there was even a private reading room in the back. My girlfriend Isabel obviously recommended it to me and I made sure to photograph the space for her. I ended up walking out with two poetry books (a new topic for me) as well as a few stickers.
My Thursday evening was spent at the Sonic The Hedgehog x Rowing Blazers event. I had no idea it was happening until the Alfargo’s guys asked I was going. I didn’t have any plans on Thursday night (Dave had requested the brunch since he had plans), so I decided to go. It’s even funnier when you realize that my 2018 trip to NYC also coincided with a Rowing Blazers party. Perhaps the city was trying to show me what my life could be like if I moved to New York. I mean who could say no to free drinks?
The Rivington Rowing Blazers
club house shop is much smaller than the old Canal St. one so it was packed to the brim with menswear enthusiasts, NYC hipsters, and ivy league yuppies. So basically, it was the same vibe as before. 80s music played throughout the space (I specifically remember My Sharona), their hired photographer was going around with a big flash, and there was even a couch with two TVs ready for drunken attempts to beat the second Sonic video game. And of course, we ran into some familiar faces, dressed impeccably and ready to imbibe (a handful were already a few drinks in).
Menswear parties are great because like with dinners, I’m able to meet people who wouldn’t normally be free for a one-on-one (or rather, I wouldn’t have been free). I got to meet more members of the Cozy boys, like Reg, Peter, and Zane who were all wonderful people. Fred Castleberry walked by and gave me an awkward handshake, mainly because I was holding a camera and a seltzer (whoops). Reg, host of the New York Fashion Geek Podcast, was also there. I made sure to tell him that his interview was the most fun I’ve ever had (outside of my own podcast); he really did ask some good questions.
The one guy I was most excited to see was Simon Gold, Tiktok’s resident menswear guy. I’ve followed him for a while and I am always happy to see him share the world of tailoring on the platform; he also does his content in an earnest and enthusiastic way that isn’t a glorified thirst trap (no shade to an Edgy friend of ours). We talked a bit about the influencer space and how he started doing it more in order. to finance his dream of designing his own collection full time. He’s definitely one to follow!
My attire was a bit somber (almost J. Mueser-esque), but I actually liked it a lot. The navy blazer I picked up from Ivan actually came in handy, serving as an in-between alternative to my navy DB and the black chore-cardigan. A chambray with a blazer and grey pants is a bit #menswear and expected, but I think the light wallabees and the black tie (the only tie I brought with me from home) helped give it an edge.
Friday was our last full day in NYC and understandably, Annie and I took time apart. I think she was quite menswear-ed out by the end of the Rowing Blazers party. So I decided to do somethings on my own instead of sleep in (like Annie did). It ended up having more shopping than I anticipated.
I started my day at the New York Public library where I got some library-specific merch for my bookworm girlfriend. There was an exhibit that actually interested me but it unfortunately required timed entry tickets and they were sold out for the day.
Across the street was Muji, which was quite a sight to see as the brand closed nearly all of its stores during the pandemic. I was glad I stopped in because I got another jinbei (homewear set) that was heavily needed in my closet since I had ruined my previous one due to a wild stomach flu (don’t ask).
A major part of this day became centered around shoes. Alden and Carmina were near by and despite my shoe wardrobe being quite filled out, I still stopped in. It proved to be a lucky visit at Alden, as they had a pair of Chromexcel blucher mocs on heavy discount. They were in the Van last, which I knew my size for as I own a pair of LHS loafers. I ended up copping them as the real homies know I’ve been eyeing blucher mocs from Quoddy and Rancourt quite a bit.
The other store visits were more of an educational trip. I’m not a big fan of Carmina’s loafer last due to their high vamp but I thought it was pertinent to at least try on the opera pumps. To my surprise, they weren’t too bad on my feet, though I’d probably want ones with an even lower vamp. Trying on the YSL jodhpurs earlier that week sold me on the style and so I wanted to get a feel of the Carmina ones; the boots were nice but they lacked the dramatic flair (and heel) of the YSLs.
I also went to Crocket & Jones to check my size in loafers. I’m not about to replace any of my Aldens, but I’ve always liked the seeing the suede options make their rounds across the #menswear space. I tried on the Southports and man, they felt great. The suede was softer and I felt like they had a nice almond last that was almost better than the Aberdeen; it made for a more feminine shoe which I actually like in a loafer. And just like the Armoury shoes, I was a 6.5UK (40 EU).
J. Mueser was busy (they were hosting Max Mogg), so that gave me time to walk a few blocks to check out Cueva Shop before they closed for the day. It turned out to be a fun little surprise.
The store is small, but they have a lot of great pieces. Most of their stock is more designer focused, but its still menswear-adjacent enough for me to admire. Justin was an incredibly cordial, taking me through his favorite pieces in the shop and even took the time to ask about my background. He suggested I look at some of their Engineered Garments stock, some which included items from Spring/Summer. It turned out to be fruitful, as I walked out with a sack-ish chore blazer that was reminiscent of a madras blazer. There were matching pants, but the cut wasn’t right for me.
Once the menswear shops closed, it was time for evening shenangins. There was a little pressure because again, that Friday was our last full day in New York.
First, Annie and I saw Jen for coffee around the Village which was nice and wholesome; I was actually scared it was going to rain heavily at any moment. Once we finished, Annie and I went back to Chinatown to eat some Vietnamese food with a few friends from the Monday/Alfargo’s dinner. According to Nguyen, it was an authentic place to eat. The restaurant didn’t serve alcohol so brought our own across the street. Whatever was left over we brought with us to a karaoke, which was planned ever since we realized how many theater kids there were in our menswear friend group.
And boy, it was a truly epic Karaoke session.
West Side Story, Shaggy, The Smiths, Neil Diamond, The Greatest Showmen, Rascal Flatts, and more were channeled through each of us in that tiny little private room. Drew told us to drink whenever an instrumental break occurred so as you could expect, we were all quite drunk by the end of the night. I can’t remember the last time I had such fun at karaoke; it probably helps that everyone had their own songs to belt out and believe me, the songs kept coming. Once 2AM came around, we made ourselves stop in order to prevent us paying a shit ton of money.
Honestly that night shows exactly what was so great about NYC. Everyone I’ve met seems to be empowered to be who they want to be, not just in clothes, but in personality. Anyone can be a soloist, whether its a diva song or a lowkey ballad. There is just so much intention and energy among these people that it honestly makes it difficult to leave.
I’m still not sure if I would ever fully move to NYC, but the vibe is definitely something I want from my existing friend group. But at this point, these New Yorkers are my real friends too. The fact that most of us were nerds (and redditors) makes our instant camaraderie unsurprising.
Despite going “full send” on the previous night, I still made sure to pack my last day. I just had to get my fill!
I had a morning coffee and croissant with Chase, the newly minted editorial director for J. Mueser. He’s always had a hand in their content, but now the title has been adjusted accordingly. Unlike last year, we actually had a chance to speak for a long time, first at the Bar Pisellino and then at the J. Mueser showroom (the one on the ground floor of Christopher St.) where I got to briefly see Matt and a few other colleagues of theirs.
It’s been really fun to watch his career over the past few years. Some of you may remember that Chase was the first menswear guy I met; he came out to see me during my lunch break in Central Park (when I used to work at Ascot Chang). He’s definitely come a long way, not just in style (you’ll note that his style has become a bit more reserved than his more preppy roots) but in his career. Chase has gone to Pitti, designed ties, started an ironic merch shop, and has shot some fantastic editorials both for J. Mueser and a variety of other clients. I’m not shy about sharing just how inspiring his photographic work has been for me.
You also gotta love his outfit. It’s a cozy green donegal done up the Chase way: a soft shoulder, 3-roll-2 closure, patch pockets, and a straight trouser with double pleats. The blue OCBD is another Chase move (perhaps its an early Wythe model) worn with a small scale foulard; it looked pretty cool with his sunglasses and RM Williams Chelseas. At one point during our catch up, we both remarked how unfortunate it is that Drake’s has moved away from its tie wearing roots; those look books from 2015-2018 were iconic.
I had the rest of the day to myself, so I had a solo lunch in the area (Chase recommended I go to Leonard George) before taking the time to reflect and walk through the Village nearly end to end. It’s an odd feeling for me to be unafraid of taking a mile long stroll to get to a Japanese cat themed stationery store. You definitely can’t do that in Los Angeles (or more specifically, the Greater LA County).
As I’ve said before, this felt like a real, grown up/adult trip. It wasn’t too much about sight seeing (though I did a lot of that), but simply about hanging out with friends. Perhaps that was because I was also out of office, so I was afforded the privilege to fully unplug from work and just…go around doing whatever I wanted. I’m still not sure if I could see myself fully moving to New York but you can bet your ass I’ll be there more often.
I already sit in traffic for friends here. What more is a ten hour round trip?
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,
Big thank you to our top tier Patrons (the SaDCast Fanatics): Philip, Shane, Austin, Jarek, Henrik , and John.