Racks and racks of vintage suits, sportcoats, shirts, and ties from the 1900s all the way to the 1960’s; that’s what awaits you at Benny Reese’s house.
Benny owns one of the largest collections of vintage men’s clothing in the world. Whether you’re looking for a slick Mad Men 1960’s suit or a dandy 1930’s three piece he’s got it. He even has a few late 1800’s stuff! Every so often, Benny uses his 1920’s home (filled to the brim with vintage accoutrements) to host other vendors and have a backyard sale! It’s a chance for everyone to come together, hang out, and geek out about some awesome clothes!
Benny and his Wares
Pardon the photography; there wasn’t a lot of light inside his house. Benny’s definitely showing off some of his more casual items, like this true vintage sweater and a great pair of overalls. His cap has an interesting story to it as well: it was used to be a gorgeous (albiet damaged) robe, so Benny had it made into a cap!
He’s got rings! It’s definitely a great way to spice things up, even if you’re not in a suit! Pretty soon I’m going to do an entire feature on Benny. It’s literally the true vintage take on what Street x Sprezza is all about.
Since a lot of the people in the vintage community turn up for events at Benny’s house, it’s an opportunity to wear something to show off, like your latest suit or an interesting jacket. Here’s what Spencer and I wore:
The best way to get the most out of your three piece suit is to wear the pieces separately. If you think about it you have multiple combinations you could use; Spencer is doing just one of these combos. Instead of wearing the suit jacket, he’s wears a heavy duty Mackinaw jacket (which was frequented by people in the 1920’s and 1930’s in cold weather). It was raining at the sale, so a heavy jacket and vintage bespoke cap was a no-brainer for Spencer.
Spencer must have read the blog because he’s following in my footsteps and wearing a casual fabric shirt with a tie. However, I think he does it better. His collar is much more structured and the denim fabric is smoother than my chambray shirt. Additionally his tie is made of a textured fabric, which contrasts greatly with my silk tie in the previous post.
1930’s Mackinaw Coat, 1930’s Denim Shirt, 1930’s tie
1940’s suit, Balmoral Boots from Stacy Adams.
Wearing suits is easy; it literally takes care of a lot of your outfit by default! Personally, I like wearing multiple pieces. It takes a bit more out of you to pick each piece (trousers, shirt, tie, and jacket) and make sure that each part comes together without clashing too much. My favourite color is blue and a majority of the pieces in this outfit are blue. It’s not too much of a monochromatic look thanks to the different shades of blue (jacket and pants) and the light two-tone nature of the cardigan. While all of these pieces are from the 1930’s and 1940’s, it’s pretty classic. Perhaps if I didn’t wear the fedora, this would totally pass at Pitti Uomo!
Note that while the pants are high waisted and fuller cut, they are not pooling like most people would think of the era. They hover right at the shoe, with no breaks. That’s the true way these pants were worn back then.
Combining textures and patterns is my thing. In the (above) image, you can see how the houndstooth gingham of the cardigan mixes with the herringbone of the jacket. Even though my tie is patterned, the large space between each shape on the tie is enough to keep the outfit from becoming too cluttered. Honestly, any sort of pattern in your sartorial outfit is much better than being too boring like this executive look from Men’s Wearhouse. While this might be a bit too much for the workplace, it’s perfect if you’re a guy who likes to dress up for no reason.
It’s also important to point out that the wool jacket was originally owned by Paramount Studios. Back in the day, movie studios would buy pieces from tailors and haberdasheries and use them as film costumers for extras (main stars had bespoke clothes made for them). It may not be the flashiest jacket, but it’s still one of the cooliest things I own!
1930’s Paramount Jacket, 1930’s two-tone sweater, 1940’s suit trousers
Custom shirt by Natty Shirts, 1930’s silk brocade tie
Vintage style isn’t all about suits, ties, and fedoras. Many of the guests dressed in sportswear (casual) and workwear; others even used modern pieces to evoke their favourite era. Here’s some of the people I snapped!
And I spent a bunch and got a 1940’s pinstripe suit, a 1940’s short jacket, and a fantastic 1930’s tie.
Overall, it was a fantastic event. It was great to see some old friends and make some new ones! Honestly, it was refreshing to go back to my roots in vintage clothing. Classic tailoring and styling from the 1930’s and 1940’s are what started my sartorial journey! It has helped me appreciate the importance of good fit and experimenting with different styles, both in outfits and fabrics/patterns. This was my first true vintage purchase in a long time and it certainly wont’ be my last. Don’t worry; this blog will still be filled with different sartorial styles, but its great to look back to the Golden Era for inspiration. In fact, you could say that my current style is a modern take on the 1930’s era.
Thanks for reading! If you want to actually take the leap and get some vintage clothing, you can do so by checking out Benny’s facebook page and contacting him to set up an appointment! Stop by his house and check out his racks of clothing and accessories. He’s very open even to out of state or international buyers. He’s always ready to snap you a picture of something you’re interested in or give you a great deal if you buy more than one item. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s great to just look at the history.
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W. and Spencer O.