Lightweight Vintage Tailoring at the Dapper Day Spring Outing 2016

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Twice a year, Dapper Day organizes an outing to Disneyland.  It’s an opportunity to step out into the parks in style, whether its vintage, modern, or somewhere in-between! If you’ve been following this blog, you know that for the past two years we’ve gone and documented our own vintage style and this one was no exception! Here’s what we wore to the event in the hot Southern California  sun.

I’ll be honest with you guys: most people who go to Dapper Day aren’t dressed the best.  If you look at the 200k+ images on Instagram, you’ll see that most guys adopt the “vintage” uniform of bright shirt (or black, ugh), jeans/skinny chinos, bowties, and clip on suspenders.  Now there’s nothing wrong with individual style, but I do wish that they had read my guide on vintage style if they had wanted to do a modern vintage look!

Another issue I have is the lack of awareness about fabrics!  I saw a lot of well dressed dudes in full suits (some in three piece ones) cut from wool, flannel, and tweed.  While those can make for smart ensembles, it is definitely important to dress up for the weather.  It’s my opinion, but I think that the fact that guys always forget about summer weight wools and related fabrics adds to the general hate that men have for sartorial outfits.  In their mind, dressing up is a costume (akin to even cosplay) and is separate from even the slightest bit of comfort.

To combat this idea, the guys and I dressed with lightweight tailoring so we could look good and be comfortable.  Further more, we dressed in (almost) full vintage to prove to people that vintage clothes can still be stylish and comfortable.  Guys in the 1930’s and 1940’s didn’t just wear heavy wool all the time; they still had linens, Palm Beach, cotton, and other lightweight fabrics!

 Jeremiah

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Jeremiah isn’t a vintage guy, but he definitely has some cool style.  He’s pretty open to being styled by Spencer and I, so I lent him some of my clothes to make a classic-yet-simple ensemble of blue jacket and brown pants.  While some of the pieces are vintage, the look has some ivy vibes and could work with modern clothes as well!

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While the classic combo works for any era, it is the styling that makes this outfit pretty 1930’s-1940s.  Note the block stripe spearpoint shirt and the blue paisley/polka-dot tie. It’s some small details, but these are what make the look!  No one really wears or makes shirts and ties like this, so it definitely stands out!

I’d also like to mention to use of triple pattern mixing here.  The jacket has a wonderful ” TV static” texture with a very faint red double stripe; the blue in the jacket is emphasized with the blue brocade silk tie, while the white dots help tie in the tan base color of the shirt.  Expertly done without going overboard!

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Now while everything else in this outfit is owned by me, Jeremiah brought his own pants for the outfit!  I was very surprised because the pants were wide legged and high rise; they definitely could pass for some 1930’s army chinos.  I do wish he got them pressed properly (and I also wish they weren’t cropped that high), but they were great for the day regardless.  Who knew that ASOS could make something that could work with our aesthetic?  If you do find them on their website, be sure to get something long so they can break perfectly or be rolled for a cuff!

1940’s Blue Jacket (eBay), Custom Spearpoint from Natty Shirts, 1930’s Tie (thrifted), ASOS Chinos

Blake

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Blake definitely has some vintage vacation tailoring vibes with his outfit!  Firstly, it’s all very “cool” colors, with white and blue being the obvious colors here.  White can be a hard color to wear, but blue is the best choice to help ground the intensity. I especially like the use of white bucks, since they are the classic summer shoe for sartorial outfits.  Overall, Blake reminds me of this outfit (with different colors).

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Jeremiah kept his legs cool with cotton. but Blake used linen to survive the heat.  His awesome jacket is from the 1930’s and contains much more detail than you’ll ever find in a mall or a high end brand (short of complete bespoke).  It’s unstructured which, along with the linen, makes it the perfect summer casual jacket. It also features triple patch pockets (a rarity for double breasted jackets), with a barchetta breast pocket!  The lapels are also pretty awesome, as they are horiztonal peak lapels will a droopy “mouth” but that’s not the best part:

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The back is belted.  I’m planning to do a post on belt-back (also known as action back) jackets and suits, but the main thing is that it allows for better upper body movement thanks to the extra fabric in the pleats.  However, this extra room doesn’t result in a baggy body, since the extra fabric is pooled sewn down back the half- belt fabric! You NEVER see this stuff since the practice lost popularity in the 1950’s.  I haven’t even seen modern tailors do this without looking too flamboyant.  Since jackets with this detail are rare as fuck (present mainly on 1930s-1940s stuff), they can be pretty expensive.  Blake is lucky to have one with great detailing and a fantastic fabric!

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White suede bucks with expertly hemmed trousers.

1930’s Linen DB from Reese’s Vintage Pieces, 1930’s Shirt from Joyride Vintage, 1930’s Tie, 1930’s Suit Trousers 

Spencer

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Spencer with his hands in his pockets, just like my signature Ethan pose.

Speaking of things that are rare, Spencer debuted his Palm Beach suit at this Dapper Day!  It’s a gorgeous light tan color that reminds me of his 1940’s gab suit that he wore at the last Spring Dapper Day in 2016.  Like Blake, he uses deep colors to anchor his outfit; this practice was done since the 1930’s!  To add to the texture of his Palm Beach suit, Spencer wears a 30’s denim shirt and a silk stripe tie.  It may look contemporary (see Mark Cho) but guys back in the 30s and 40s definitely had denim shirts that they wore with tailoring.

I really dig the way Spencer utilizes colors and patterns.  Note how Spencer’s stripe tie contains colors similar to the color of the Palm Beach suit! He adds on to it by having a brown and tan checked pocket square that anchor in the reds of his tie.   Masterfully done, considering the questionable pocket square choices I saw at Dapper Day.

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The inherent reason that Spencer’s Suit is rare is the fact that its cut from Palm Beach Cloth. This cloth hasn’t existed in 70 years and is an unknown combination of mohair, linen, and cotton.  It was all the rage in the 1930s and was the go-to for summer suiting since the fabric was light weight and all the suits were unstructured.  Perfect for traveling to your tropical location!   This particular suit is designed amazingly,  featuring drooping, bluned notch lapels and triple patch pockets.    If this suit was in my size, I’d buy it immediately.

If you’re wondering the state of the trousers, they are high rise (obviously) with a flat-front (not all vintage pants were pleated) and a fantastically done center crease.

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Patch pockets are fucking awesome.

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Palm Beach Label with very minimal lining! Perfect summer suit.

Here’s the Palm Beach label! First of all, no one makes labels like this anymore.  Secondly, according to our research, this particular label dates the suit to being manufactured from 1932-1937.  That makes it an early and rare suit.

1930’s Palm Beach Suit from Reese’s Vintage Pieces, 1930’s Denim shirt from Joyride Vintage, 1930’s tie

Ethan

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Don’t worry, I kept the theme of triple patch pockets!

Spring is a great time to utilize color, but I didn’t do that this time (though I did last year).  Instead of going with saturation, I decided to keep things fairly neutral with my suit and wore a bluish grey suit cut from a light-weight gaberdine.  Even though gaberdine is still a high-twist wool, it drapes amazingly which works well in movement and a breeze to keep cool.    It’s soft and and slightly stretchy which ensured that I was comfortable the entire day!

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This suit is actually from the early-to-mid 1940’s, which contrasts a bit with my preferred era which is early 1930s to early 1940’s.  It’s not quite as crazy as the bold looks of the late 1940s and early 1950s, but it definitely has the proto-designs.  By this I mean the crazily padded shoulders.  I could be a freaking linebacker in this suit!  You guys should know that I prefer a very natural shoulder with little to no padding.

I will say that I love the fit of the suit as well as the accompanying details.  Triple patch pockets (that are cut large) are always a great touch, but you really don’t see lapels like this!  I think you can tell by now that the main reason I love vintage is for the designs and aesthetics that you can’t acquire anywhere else.  These wide (almost six inches) lapels are angled downward (they don’t point toward the shoulder like contemporary wide lapels) and features blunted edges and a “gaping mouth”.  Can we please make lapels like this? It really emphasizes the lines of the body as well as make your chest look larger without going crazy like the 1970s!

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If the 1930’s like stripes, then the 1940’s liked their checks.  I had this spearpoint made so I could have a versatile spearpoint that could work well with tailoring and casual looks.  It is a bit hard to match with ties due to the tight blue and yellow checks, but I like a challenge.  For my tie, I went with a true vintage light brown palm beach-esque fabric tie that featured a classic 1930’s block-with-stripes design. The collar bar and exploding pocket square tie the vintage look together!

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On the subject of vintage details, check out these trousers! They feature a nice double pleat as well as a Hollywood waist with drop loops. The Hollywood waist and drop loops are a design that took storm in the early 1940’s and look killer with high rise trousers!  Looks like Edward Sexton (a Saville Row Tailor) knows that its cool and included it on a recent commission; I wish he didn’t make a super 1970’s looking jacket though.

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Don’t worry guys, I made sure to wear my new 1930’s style fedora! It got a lot of wear that day, especially due to the sweat!

1940’s Gab suit from Reese’s Vintage Pieces, custom spearpoint from Natty Shirts, 1930’s tie (eBay), Allen Edmond Captoes (eBay)

Extra Pics

Just like last time, we were sure to take some cool candid shots through out the day! If you followed me on Instagram, you might have seen some of the dorky (or funny) pictures we took.

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Howard Hughes?

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I switched to my glasses since my contracts dried out 😦

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Showing off the high rise trousers and drop loop trousers!

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The real way to wear a jacket.

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School friends.

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Dapper Day squad.

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Outside the expo.

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Overall, Dapper Day was awesome as ever! We even met a bunch of cool people and saw some old friends; you can read all about that in the next article.  I’d really love it if some of you attended, if not Disneyland but the Dapper Day Expo which is free!  Whether your you like vintage or modern, it’s a great way to have fun in style.

Also, please pay attention to fabrics!  Hopefully this article helps to hammer in the fact that suits and other sartorial garments can be seasonal and comfortable, especially in hot weather.  There is absolutely no need to wear wool (or God forbid, polyester) in the heat when there are fantastic alternatives like linen, cotton, gaberdine, or Palm Beach! Trust me, having suits or separates in these fabrics will make your Dapper Day (and rest of your life) much better.  And remember that these fabrics have been around for a long time.  Guys in the 1930s and 1940s are just like guys today; they had summer suits and winter suits.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza 

Photography by Ethan W. and Jeremiah T. 

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