The vintage crew is back at the Reese household for a Christmas party! It’s a yearly tradition and a must for any vintage enthusiast, new or old.
The main reason why the vintage community is so close knit is the fact that many of them hang out with each other, making the scene almost like a small family. Benny Reese, owner of Reese’s Vintage Pieces (one of the biggest dealers of vintage suiting in the world) definitely goes out of his way to make as many events as possible in order to keep the vintage scene vibrant and enticing to people. I mean it was thanks to his backyard sale that we got to meet Blake! His energy and friendliness are some of the main reasons I keep coming back. That and his giant collection that he has for sale.
So we’ve been to his house for Christmas before. That was our introduction to Tony (a bespoke enthusiast) and to the Oviatt brand. I also showed you the awesome white elephant gift exchange, where you can actually get cool gifts instead of overtly wacky ones. More Reese traditions include the grill (where Benny makes hamburgers for the guests), a fire pit to get warm, and the open garage where guests can try on his plethora of suits and perhaps spend some pre-Christmas money.
Since this is usually one of the coldest nights of the year and one the biggest vintage gatherings in SoCal, it’s really an opportunity for us to break out some of our interesting cold weather pieces. Honestly, it’s like pitti; we try to peacock and start conversations with our attire!
Blake is wearing the jacket that I wore when I first met him: a blue herringbone 3-button 1930’s collegiate jacket. If the petrol blue wasn’t enough, you can cream over the fact that it was owned by Paramount back in the day, evident by the studio label in the suit. Even though the jacket is cool (and even has a pen pocket on the left side). I always found the jacket to be a little snug with high armholes that pinched my armpits. In the end, I gave it to Blake for $100, which is what I bought it for. It fits him much better, as you can see.
Blake does the classic menswear combo of blue jacket + cream trousers (cotton, not flannel) but adds in some burgundy accents (with a cardigan and pocket square) to give his out some Christmas feel. He doesn’t do a striped shirt and patterned tie, as I normally advocate, but he gets a pass since he dons a dope 1930’s german shirt. This shirt is special, since the collar doesn’t have much tie space and the points aren’t that spread; it really negates the use of a collar bar. You can’t see it here, but the shirt is also a pull-over (with a placket that goes to the navel) instead of a full buttoning shirt.
I’m so glad that Adam has come out with us more, after Dapper Day and the Casablanca Evening. He’s a great guy who loves Star Wars and vintage as much as we do! He met up with us at Benny’s house in a perfectly Street x Sprezza ensemble: an personal interpretation of vintage 1920s style. With a Monsivais cap, Adam rocks a Club Monaco DB coat, a 1960’s pinstripe sack suit, and a fair isle sweater vest. 1960’s sack suits have a lot in common with 1910s/20s suits thanks to the medium/slim lapels, the wide set buttons, and the slim (yet elongated) body. His outfit is a great example of using “recent” clothing to achieve an older look.
The fair isle sweater vest is really an underrated piece, especially if it’s made in the buttoning style. The pattern provides a cool earthy, vintage aesthetic and is perfect for Christmas outfits; I suggest it if you don’t feel like wearing a legit ugly sweater. Bonus points for the green Fair Isle, since it really ties together all the green in Adam’s outfit.
By the way, Drake’s made a fair isle a long time ago that I would love to have.
Spencer is the king of going bold for Christmas, if last year’s outfit was any indication. Brown makes up a majority of his outfit, but he adds in the Christmas spirit with a blue tie (the 1910s batwing) and a red (and I mean red) waistcoat. Perhaps he got inspired by the new Drake’s sleeveless cardigan that I picked up while I was in NYC.
His latest purchase is this amazing “giant plaid” Brooks Brothers sack jacket. Like most ivy sack jackets (that are good at least), it has medium-wide lapels, 3-roll-2 buttoning, nand soft shoulders. We really recommend ivy jackets like this one since they are pretty versatile, whether you want a vintage or contemporary look.
I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to rock my patch-pocketed grail suit after getting it altered, and I felt like the Christmas party was the best opportunity to do it! Ruben did a great job lengthening the trousers and fixing the zipper, so everything looked perfect. Like I stated in the original post, the wide legs and padded shoulders do date the suit slightly, but other than that, I think it’s a pretty classic silhouette. I feel like I could challenge myself to wear the jacket as an odd piece for a more contemporary look!
The styling is pretty simple, as I opted for a striped shirt + patterned tie; in this case, it’s a blue stripe spearpoint and a burgundy striped tie. For my Christmas spirit, I wore something the blog hasn’t seen in a couple years: a Jantzen 1930’s v-neck sweater. Despite the moth holes and tears, I still keep this sweater because it’s just one of the coolest things I own; I even found it for cheap at an antique mall. They just don’t make sweaters like this anymore, with cool deco-ish patterns, short length for high rise trousers, and wide, wide ribbing. It’s not inherently christmas-y, but the bright color works well as an accent piece for a suit when worn to a holiday party!
Andy is a vintage and classic menswear enthusiast hailing from D.C. If you take a look at his instagram, you’ll see that he definitely loves to mix pieces from different eras together, which I definitely support. He stopped by the end of the party with his wife and even bought a 1930’s brown plaid DB suit that I had my eye on for a while!
As soon as I saw him walk in, I fell in love with his jacket. It’s a RRL wool jacket that comes pretty close to a great reproduction of 1930’s details. While the lapels are slim with a semi-high notch, the flapped patch pockets and belt back (with inverse box pleat) really make it a cool piece. It’s also completely unstructured.
God damn, I need to find this jacket on eBay.
Here are some snapshots from the party, a section that seems to be present at any recap article we do! It really was a fun evening; Spencer and I didn’t leave until 1AM, and there were still people hanging out!
You just know that we had to try on whatever was new (or cool) in Benny’s showroom (in the garage). Above, Blake tries on a sharply tailored DB suit jacket with some horizontal, lazy peak lapels. Interestingly, you can see that the buttons are pretty spread out and the jacket length is pretty short, a detail you can find on early 1930’s DBs.
Spencer found a great 1930’s gabardine sport coat that featured quadruple button-flapped patch pockets. I have a feeling that it’s probably European, since it’s pretty odd in design, especially due to the four buttons. I could even see it as some sort of uniform that’s missing a belt!
Now I really had to convince myself really hard not to buy this. This 1930’s DB jacket has almost everything I’m looking for: horizontal lazy-peak lapels, three patch pockets, and a belt back. The teal fabric (which had a brown-orange windowpane) was also a killer detail.
You’ll notice that the breast patch pocket is angled slightly, which you don’t see very often anymore. Then again, you don’t see people make jackets even remotely close to this. I ended up passing on it because the fit was pretty snug and there wasn’t anything to let out. I may come to regret this decision, but I’d rather spend money on a comfortable jacket instead of a jacket that I could only wear for a little bit.
If you plan on collecting belt back jackets, try and keep in mind that the belt really make it hard to do any chest/waist alterations. The main way to give yourself a bigger fit is to change the button placement; a narrower stance (less space) results in more room.
Speaking of teal, Andy also tried on a similarly colored jacket that was also 1930’s! The notch lapels are my ideal shape and the shoulders are softly padded (you can crunch them) which make for a versatile garment that can be worn with vintage and classic tailoring. Even though it fit well on both of us, we actually have suits in a similar shade; mine was worn to Dapper Day last year.
The Reese Annual Christmas Party is something I look forward to because it’s a really fun event that brings a bunch of like-minded (or dressed?) people together to eat food, drool over cool clothing, and partake in a fun White Elephant exchange. The first time I went (before the blog was born), I didn’t really know anyone. Now a few years later, I’m proud to say that I have a great group of friends to go these events with and I know way more of the “regulars”. Now you may notice that there aren’t that many young people in attendance other than the guys in our group, but hopefully that changes moving forward. Either way, it was a great way to celebrate Christmas in style with some good friends.
I really invite you guys to come to vintage events, if that’s the aspect of menswear that you’re after. Vintage is certainly fun and there are obviously varying levels; Spencer and I aren’t into the entire lifestyle, as we don’t swing dance or own classic cars, but we still have a lot of fun hanging out with Benny and the other vintagites. If you come to vintage sales (like the backyard one) or go to Dapper Day, I’m sure you’ll run into Benny. I always say that the best way to hone your style or learn more about vintage clothing (especially the nitty gritty details) is to ask questions and feel the garments yourself. Most of the guys in the scene (Spencer and I included) have been collecting for years and can probably help you get started!
And if you’re more interested in general classic menswear, don’t worry. I’m going to be working on creating some sort of low-key event for us to hang out and take pictures! In the meantime, keep Dapper Day on your radar! On January 21, there’s going to be an event at the National History Museum in LA. I’ve always wanted to do a classy day at the museum; perhaps afterwards we could eat at a diner and take some F.E Castleberry style pics.
I hope you all have had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan. W