The Style of Two Cities

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While I spent a lot of time in Paris and London with my family sightseeing, I definitely made a point to put a focus on menswear.  As a poor grad student with loans looming over his head, another trip to Europe doesn’t seem too likely, at least for a few years.  As a result, I used what ever free time I had to meet up with Instagram mutuals and check out fantastic menswear stores that we just don’t have in Los Angeles.  Here are the people I had the pleasure of meeting!

Max

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I know that this article is called “The Style of Two Cities” but Max is the only guy I shot in Paris!  He goes by “Le Dandy Du Tardis” on Instagram and we’ve been following each other for a while.  Max has some wickedly cool style and I’m glad to have met him and shoot him!  When we met up for coffee, he wore a magnificent brown DB suit (the shade is what I wish my Vulture Suit was) with a denim shirt and brown suede loafers.  We all know I love to combine blue and brown, but this pairing is masterful.

His suit is MTM from Blandin & Delloye.  I wish I was able to check out their shop because I was really impressed with all of the details.  The lapels are gorgeously wide and the trousers are pleated and feature a high rise; I practically had to beg Indochino to do these customizations.
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There’s something so effortlessly cool about Max’s style.  His messy hair, the open shirt collar popped on the lapel, the different chains and wristbands, and the fact that he uses his suit pockets  to hold his book all add to his concept of sprezzatura.  I’d say that it exudes a bit of Italian style, but in reality, it’s all Max.  Who would have thought that a suit could be worn so casually without having to use “modern” items like sneakers or tee shirts?

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No effort needed.

You can’t see it here, but Max is a huge dork (like me)! A bunch of the outtakes from this shoot are us making goofy faces.  I really want to start featuring more young sartorial guys who appreciate the art of dressing up without the traditional “gentlemanly qualities”.  I’m a little tired of the whiskey, expensive food, and cigars.

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Liam

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Liam was a gent whom I thought was a simple sales associate I met at Emmett London, a store on Jermyn Street.  After checking their instagram, it appears that he has a pretty prominent role in the branding and imagery of the company! I think that this store was one of the best ones on Jermyn Street, simply due to the great shirt fabrics (in stripes, which are my favorite) and the wide lapels on their jackets.  Liam also takes the cake for the best dressed on the street, as he wears a superb linen shirt and high rise pleated trousers.  I’d definitely wear this ensemble.

Dave

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Dave was the gentleman who took care of my Loake’s order.  He was extremely kind and even rushed two pairs of boots from their manufacturer in order for me to try them on before I left.  I didn’t believe that I would be able to try on the boots in only three days, but Dave made it happen! I ended up taking a pair of Kempton suede chukka boots in size 6.5UK.

During our brief conversation in the store, Dave let me know that he is a rugby player with an inclination to workwear/denim.  This obviously shows in his choice of cuffed selvedge denim (from GAP no less) with workboots.  It’s a great look, that calls to mind what we wore to Inspiration LA. Not everything has to be sartorial!

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Ben was one of three vintage dealers at the Spitalfield Market.  He wears a vintage harrington jacket (with a cool embroidered name!) with a simple white tee, wide denim, and 1970’s converse.  He had a bunch of great stuff, ranging from vintage denim jackets to a plethora of rare 1930s-1960s gabardine shirts!  The table next to his “closet” was adorned with vintage pins and pennants as well as a few of his handmade leather and canvas goods.  After I purchased a 1960’s A-2 civilian leather jacket, we talked a bit about what it’s like to sell vintage in the U.K.  Obviously its a little different than in the States, considering that a majority of the pieces found are actually from America.  If you ever get the chance to go to Spitalfield Market, you definitely have to check this guy out.

Dom

Dom Kennedy is one of the coolest dressers I know by far.  Like I said in my London Trip post, we interacted a bit on Male Fashion Advice on reddit.  He’s particularly famous for his spin in the SLP style, mixing in different pieces in a slightly avant-guard way that results in something truly rock star chic.  I love a good smoking jacket , but I’d never think of wearing it like this with a severely unbuttoned shirt, skinny waxed jeans, and slick black jodphurs.  Perhaps I should try it out sometime?

I’ll confess that this picture wasn’t mine; Dom actually took it himself!  At Oxford, you actually have to wear a robe when you take your exams.  The policy is to wear black and white under the robes, so he isn’t technically out of code right? Here he is when I met him, fresh out of his exam.  A little disheveled, but he actually ran out to  meet me before my bus left! 
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This is the man behind the superb 1930’s polo shirts, wearing a black short sleeve Oviatt polo and duck canvas chinos.  I shot him when I went The Speaker pub with the U.K vintage scene. An Australian ex-pat, Simon currently resides in London running his label SJC, which specializes in reproducing some rare 1930’s garments.  At first, he made wide legged dungarees and bandanas but has since expanded to offer flannel spearpoint shirts, wide legged flannels , and is even looking to do offer rain coats and belted back suits in the future!

I heavily recommend you guys to follow his instagram or sign up on his forum site  if you want to keep up with his products.  He is extremely open with his process and even asks for feedback from the members! It’s also a great resource for vintage detailing since almost everyone on the forum is a vintage enthusiast and they upload pictures of reference images and rare pieces all the time.

Hanson

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Hanson was a gent who was also present at the vintage meet up.  Unlike the rest of us there who prefer a more 1930’s-1940’s look, Hanson showed up in a terrific 1950’s ensemble.  It may look like a basic vintage look to most of you, but it’s the details that matter.  He wears a 1950’s loop collar shirt (my preferred shirt when I was in Paris) with a beige patch pocket jacket, slubby flecked trousers, and perforated spectator slip-ons; these are all firmly 1950’s pieces. It’s such a cool look!

For work, Hanson is a full-time professional photographer in the UK; I was lucky enough able to get a glimpse of his gorgeous Leica! Definitely would love to go shooting with this gent sometime.

Alex

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Mr. Alex  Hills is the man.  Like I stated in the London post , Alex is a newly promoted cutter at the tailor house Dege & Skinner .  An extremely talented tailor, he is a devout vintage enthusiast that has stopped collecting true vintage pieces since he can now make them himself.   

He had found some gorgeous dead stock 1930’s triple striped worsted flannel fabric and finally cut it from a 1930’s pattern book.  Alex told me that there was some English publication from the 1930s-40s that published simple how-to’s for different types of suits.  The suit he made is certainly a beauty.  The jacket has wide peak lapels, roped shoulders, two-button configuration, and has a slightly shorter length compared to most jackets (this was a silhouette choice for 1930’s tailoring).   All of these details are classic; if you just saw the jacket, you could mistake it for something from B&Tailor!

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While his suit is a modern creation, his tab collar shirt (not a spearpoint for once!) and tie are both true vintage English pieces from the 1930’s!

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Expert pattern mixing.  Hell, it’s expert pattern matching; just look at the uninterrupted stripe from the lapel to the body of the vest. 

Double breasted waistcoats with lapels are something a lot of modern tailors get wrong.  Luckily it takes a talented tailor with an eye for vintage to get it right! Just look at this thing; the length is perfect for high rise trousers, the buttons are wide set, and the lapels nearly match the lapels of the jacket.  It’s not exactly something you could wear as separates but hell, I feel like I need one now! Unfortunately a DB waistcoat like this is extremely rare to find in true vintage.  If you want one, just pay Alex to make it for you (fabric not included).

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I’ve got to say, talking with Alex was a very interesting experience. A lot of the vintage in LA people have little to no knowledge of the wider world of contemporary tailoring.  Alex is unique in that he’s a huge vintage enthusiast (with a deep understanding of vintage tailoring) that also works on Saville Row.  As a result, he’s able to talk about Suit Supply and Fox Brothers as well as about 1930’s beltbacks!  I never thought I’d be able to find someone who could do that.

Lucy

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Lucy is another vintage enthusiast who is currently studying to be a production designer!  I’m actually used to vintage girls wearing  skirts and dresses, so it was quite refreshing to see something different.  Lucy described her style as “tomboy” and she certainly wears the look well.  Unlike Alex (who pattern mixing like crazy), she went simple with her outfit which consists of a black turtleneck, matching hat, and double pleated brown stripe trousers.  Like the rest of the outfits in this article, I’m getting so much inspiration from this look! It’s definitely too hot to copy it faithfully, but the ideas are easily repeatable.

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Badass.

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Cool shoes right? They’re SJC!

Casper

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Casper is fledgling Danish menswear blogger living in London. Like Max, we were both  Instagram mutuals and we met up after he learned that I was in town! Unfortunately our time together was brief (as I had different meet-ups to go to), but I think we had a good coffee.  We talked a bit about our own journeys in menswear and about the work we currently do; he’s a marketer for Trip Advisor. As I expected, he’s one of the best dressed guys in the office.  That’s not too bad of a label, I think!

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Love that splash of yellow from his Drake’s pocket square.

He wears a linen-hemp Suit Supply jacket with a standard white spread collar shirt, brown knit tie, and navy Uniqlo trousers.  Now don’t let the name Uniqlo fool you; while it is a basic brand, Casper had them tailored and cuffed to make them an indispensable part of his classic menswear wardrobe.  Hell, most of my chinos are from Banana Republic and J. Crew and you can hardly tell after I’ve had them tailored!

Kent Wang

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Who would have thought that legendary designer Kent Wang would be located in London?  Certainly not me; Kent went to university in Texas, worked in IT, and began his online-only business shortly after. Because he sources and sells all over the world, there isn’t really any reason for him to stay in the US.  He tells me that he’s been in London for the past four years!

Even though he showed me a quaint bar in London and ordered some English cuisine, his outfit screamed American prep to me.  The combination of light blue shirt, traditional seer sucker suit, and light brown penny loafers is pretty darn great.  It’s also pretty impressive to be wearing everything you designed yourself.

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Seersucker may be an American thing, but the side tab adjusters give it a modern “Italian” edge.

Barima

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Barima is a friend of Kent Wang and works as a professional photographer.  At first glance, I thought he was just wearing a plain black suit but it was so much more interesting than that.  In an almost “devilish” contrast to Kent, Barima is wearing an overdyed black seersucker suit (with high rise trousers) with a floral print shirt.  We even talked about his outfit combination briefly  while we were at drinks! I assured him that the conversation was very cool.  It’s perfect slick summer look.
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Edward

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Ed’s a cool guy, being another young guy that’s into tailoring.  He wears a simple grey suit (note the curved front quarters), spread collar shirt, blue foulard tie, and brown suede tassel loafers.  It’s a clean look that could work for many of you if the 1930s/40s style of mixing a multitude of patterns. 

I  followed him on Instagram when I saw old pictures of him on the Drake’s Tumblr account, but he actually works at Richard James now.   We’ve talked a few times online and I wish I was able to hang out with him more; if you read my trip summary you’ll know that I extremely busy trying to meet as much people as possible.  I was lucky to have caught him  strolling the Row on his break!

Drake’s on Clifford Street

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Drake’s is one of the places I’ve been meaning to go to.  Yes, I realize that we have one on this side of the pond, but I thought it would’ve been cool to see the English brand on their home turf!  I visited the store on Habadasher street (which is right next to Saville Row) and was given the opportunity to shoot the sales team when things got quieter.

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Albin takes the cake as the best dressed guy, since he was clearly wearing the Drake’s Uniform of a sportcoat, button-down collar shirt, and cuffed selvedge denim.  In fact, seeing their take on the “sartorial mullet” inspired me to make articles like this which feature the look. This look on Albin should help drive in the fact that denim can definitely be dressed up without looking out of place.  I’m also a fan of his use of the yellow foulard; I couldn’t dream of wearing that tie as I’d prefer something subtle like cream. He’s an expert dresser and you should take a look at his Instagram to get some inspiration for your outfits; I know I will!

By the way, he seems to be wearing the Drake’s cashmere sportcoat.  I felt that bad boy when I was in the store and it is one of the softest jackets I have ever felt in my life.  It’s completely unlined and unstructured and I want one.  I’m just not sure I can justify the £1,095 price.  I’ll stick with my true vintage 1960’s sack jacket (which is half lined) for now!

Trunk Clothiers

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My next stop after Drake’s was Trunk Clothiers, a small men’s haberdashery in Marylebone.  They retail a bunch of pieces from different brands like Camoshita, Alden, and Incotex.  While most menswear retailers have shifted to online (like Mr. Porter), I appreciate the fact that these men have invested in the brick-and-mortar approach.  It also allows them to use what I call “insider influencers” where you show the actual sales associates wearing the clothes.  Each of these guys (Dom, Guille, and Oliver) have been featured on their Instagram account and add a cool air of familiarity if you come into the store.

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Guille in a fantastic red jacket.  Note the use the basic white shirt, dark blue denim, and suede shoes in order to ground the saturated jacket.

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Dom in a boatneck breton stripe shirt, dark indigo denim, and brown trainers.

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Oliver with a fantastic use of wide legged olive chinos.  I like how he paired them with burgundy penny loafers, white shirt, and blue blazer. It’s pseudo Americana!

Jake Grantham and Alex Pirounis

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I am still in awe that I was able to meet Jake Grantham and Alex Pirounis at their new store, the Anglo-Italian Company.  Even though these guys are masters of classic menswear, it was refreshing to see them in such casual clothing!   Their store is far from officially open, so this is what they were wearing as they were tagging their RTW, organizing their fabric books for MTM, and entertaining new clients as they walked by their storefront.

Jake wears a J. Crew vacation shirt, suede moccasins, and one of their private label light wash jeans.  I haven’t worn an untucked button up shirt with “loafers” in a long time, but I think I just might have to after seeing this.  You could even apply the same principle if you wanted to find another way to wear a vintage aloha shirt.  Hell, I may even try my hand at pairing a crew neck shirt with jeans and loafers like Alex.

Buzz

We finish our style recap with Buzz Tang. Never have I seen a guy so young have a mastery over classic menswear like him.  Buzz splits his time between Hong Kong and London and as a result, he has met almost all the sartorial players that I’ve looked up to! I wasn’t expecting to be able to hang out with him most of my time in London nor was I expecting to get close with him.  We talked about a lot while we walked through Piccadilly Circus with topics ranging from our individual style journeys to how the hell we’re going to survive in this industry.  At least we’ll have each other!

Blue and Grey

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This is what Buzz wore when we first met for dinner!  He rocked the classic “blue and grey” combination that works for everything; his version is dressed down due to his lack of tie and use of sockless  suede tassel loafers.  Being a more casual take on a “professional palette”, he ensures that the details are made for comfort.  His navy jacket is completely unstructured, with some spalla camicia to boot; he dons some double pleated grey trousers for comfort and  visual pizzazz.

Overall, this should show you how easy it is to wear tailored clothing and still appear relaxed.  Paring an open collar shirt, soft jacket, and pleated trousers is a look that could be repeated a bunch of different ways.  If you want to be able to maximize versatility, I’d say to get these items in a bunch of different solid colors.

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Brown Tones

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Didn’t believe me that the previous look could be repeated? Here it is again this time with the use of brown tones. As a huge fan of pleated brown trousers and brown jackets (I wore a similar look this same day and in the Fair Isle article), I heavily endorse this look.  I really can’t find anything wrong with this look!

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To set this look apart from the previous one (which utilized solids), Buzz takes it upon himself to add some color and visual interest.  He does so by using a striped OCBD and a colorful exploding pocket square. While I like saving my striped shirts to be worn with patterned ties a lá vintage stylethis gives me inspiration to be able to wear them in a casual way.  

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Deep pleats on high rise trousers.

1930’s Style

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For my last evening in London, Buzz decided to go full Ethan and do a 1930’s inspired look.  At least, I feel like it’s modern take on a vintage look.  Not many 19 year old guys (besides Spencer) would have the balls to wear a double breasted pinstripe suit, but Buzz absolutely kills it.  The fit is perfect and the details are spot on; Buzz doesn’t “modernize” this look with cropped pants or tiny lapels.  The result is a dope suit that makes me question why I bother saving my paychecks at all.

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Three patterns at once?  You’re speaking my language.

While my version would have utilized a spearpoint collar and collar bar, Buzz makes the interesting move of wearing a button-down collar shirt.  He pairs this pink stripe shirt with a blue/red foulard tie.  This combination is inherently classic yet brings to mind the countless images I provided in my 30s/40s style guide.  Please remember that vintage style doesn’t mean bowties, clip on suspenders, and crazy colors.  In order to have vintage style, you need a detailed attention to fit and pattern mixing.

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Gorgeous brogue cap toes.

Conclusion

After a bunch of articles showing off Spencer and Blake, it was extremely refreshing for me to feature guys who are not only the same guys you’ve seen but guys whom you may have already seen on Instagram!  Never have I seen such well dressed young guys who have a genuine love for the sartorial world.  Until my trip to London, most of my conversations have centered around vintage clothing, so I’m glad that my menswear circle has finally expanded to guys who are focused on the contemporary side of the industry.  Like I kept saying many times in his article, we just don’t have guys like this in LA.

Big thanks to each and every person in this article who agreed to be included in this article! If they’re reading this, I apologize to them for the lack of professional photographer-ness.  I really don’t know how to pose people and I’m used to shooting the same guys over and over.  Perhaps with time, I’ll be able to get better and do some more interesting concepts.

I hope you all enjoyed this article.  Featuring young sartorial guys from around the world has been a dream of mine and I’m glad I finally had the chance to shoot the people that until now, I’ve only seen online! I may not be Jaime Ferguson, but I think that these pictures are some of the best that I’ve taken thus far.  Here’s to more streetstyle coverage in the future!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza 

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