On New Year’s Eve, I’m usually in pajamas playing video games. The night before, however, I’m in a vintage tuxedo, hanging out with my friends at the Cicada Club.
Like the Christmas Party at the Reese Household, celebrating NYEE at the Cicada Club is an annual event we go to. Maxwell DeMille hosts the party, bringing back the Dean Mora Orchestra which played music from the 1920s-1960s. None of us dance (except for Adam, who is actually a swing dancer), so the night usually consists just us taking pictures, having a drink, and people watching. The historic Oviatt building is so beautiful that I think it’s worth it to walk around and enjoy the scenery/music while dressed in your best clothing.
Now black tie isn’t required for the Cicada Club (just need a jacket and tie for men), but that doesn’t stop Spencer and I from wearing tuxedos, since it’s one of the few times where it’s appropriate! Now Spencer didn’t join us this year since he had a date, but I kept the tradition going. I like to think that we all killed it with out outfits this year!
I’m going to admit something here right now: the tuxedo I wore last year wasn’t a true tuxedo. It was actually pieces from two separate tuxedos, which is pretty much a sartorial sin. Even though most people couldn’t really tell, I vowed to get an actual tuxedo for the next one. Thankfully Benny Reese came across some tuxedos during his travels and sold me an epic three piece 1930’s tuxedo. It was altered in time, as it was slightly big in the jacket and the trousers were 35×32, which is definitely larger than my normal 32×30.
My tuxedo shirt is a 1950’s soft version, which contrasts sharply with most black tie attire, since stiff is usually the name of the game. I actually prefer soft shirts not only due to my daily ivy-esque attire, but simply because I like to be slouchy in almost everything I’m wearing. It does make it a bit harder to iron and make neat, especially for the pleated area.
Even though this tuxedo from the 1930’s, I think it looks pretty timeless. It’s got some subtle structure (padded shoulders) and high rise trousers with a semi-wide opening, but other than that, it’s solid and can be worn to any black tie event. The lapels aren’t too wide and look pretty contemporary thanks to the upturned peaks and full belly; if I was being picky, I would’ve preferred more horizontal lapels.
Instead of a cummerbund, this tuxedo came with a dinner waistcoat, which has has an epic design and cool metallic buttons. Interestingly, it has a shawl collar to contrast the jacket’s peak lapels. I definitely like this because it makes the entire outfit more unique and sets it apart from other “regular” tuxedos. Black tie is all about following the rules and looking uniform, so I’ll take any chance I get to be different, no matter how small.
The tuxedo has satin lapels, which are echoed by the waistcoat’s lapels and the trouser stripe. For a cool detail, the satin stripe is inbetween a small woven design, resulting in a subtle “two stripe” effect. According to Benny, this was done on earlier 1930’s tuxedos with satin lapels, in order to reference the double stripe found on tailcoat trousers for white tie. It’s these details that remind me why I love vintage.
If you’re wondering if I’m adhering to all the rules this time, you can certainly rest. I borrowed a satin bow tie to match my lapels!
It’s a menswear commandment (that’s honestly too often repeated, but necessary at times) to never wear a black suit. They’re really unneeded in a wardrobe, as a navy or charcoal suit is usually the superior choice. However, that didn’t stop Blake from buying one and I’m inclined to side with him; this is the black suit you need if you do want to get one.
This three piece suit is a deadstock 1930’s black german suit that has the perfect horizontal peak lapels, subtle striped weave, and a double breasted waistcoat. Like my tuxedo, it’s pretty classic in design, featuring a high rise and straight leg trousers that don’t appear to be too wide. The jacket is also short (characteristic of early 1930’s tailoring and european designs), which add to the suit’s slightly contemporary aesthetic. Blake joins in on the “black tie optional” attire, by wearing a white spearpoint shirt and a 1940’s silver tie. Black, white, and silver/grey is a great combo for formal events!
Double breasted waistcoats are pretty rare to find in vintage, as they are pretty unique and are highly coveted among collectors. Blake’s is actually quite tame compared to others, but it’s still cool nonetheless. The buttoning and overlapping stance is slightly asymmetrical, echoed in part by the fact that are the waistcoat has three pockets; most pre 1960’s ones have four while contemporary ones have two. Three pockets give the waistcoat jacket-esque vibes, which may have been the intent of the designer.
Adam joins us yet again, bringing his total outings with the gang to three (Dapper Day, Lono, and Benny’s). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: I’m really glad that he’s started to come out with us, as it’s always fun to hang out with a fellow Star Wars/Vintage Menswear nerd.
Like Blake, Adam doesn’t have a tuxedo, but that didn’t stop him from crafting a stylish ensemble that fits in with the formal theme of New Year’s Eve. He keeps the 3PC-ness flowing with a vintage navy double breasted suit. Since it’s a 3PC, he spend most of the night with his jacket unfastened, which can be unheard of for some hardcore menswear fundamentalists.
There’s so much awesomeness coming from Adam’s outfit. Let’s first talk about the forward pleats, which are found on his trousers and his waistcoat. I’ve never seen waistcoat pleats before, though we have seen pleated jackets on this blog. It’s just proof that tailors have been making suits comfortable much earlier than when performance fabric came out.
Adam adds to his suit with a contrast collar shirt (the body is a light blue/grey stripe) and an amazing black-silver 1930’s brocade tie. A tie like that is just the right amount of elegance and fun abstract design that makes it perfect for formal-esque outfits. As you can see, the best way to make a suit look more formal is to go for a minimalistic style with just the right amount of fun subtly added in. Adam certainly brings his A-game every time we hang out!
Rachel’s back again! Now she isn’t a fan of golden era tailoring, but we aren’t strictly 1920s-1940’s here. As you can see from her instagram, she rocks that swingin’ sixties style, which is a welcome sight for me, since most women tend to prefer the early Mad Men style. I’m always a fan for more unique takes on vintage style, since there are way more facets of vintage than most people know.
Under the fur coat she wore to Lono, Rachel wears a silver sequin dress and floral heels. It’s a simple elegant look that is a perfect replacement for the black cocktail dress, which is what most people would have gone with. We certainly like subverting expectations (while keeping things classic and elegant) on this blog!
And if you can’t tell already, silver is a great color for formal events! It should be your best friend when crafting elegant outfits without resorting to the tried and true (read: boring) black and white.
Like I stated earlier, we spent most of our time walking around and listening to music. There were actually some familiar faces (even a few blog readers, like Adam from Portland) at the Cicada Club, as the NYE event is one of the biggest LA events for vintage menswear. Not all the menswear was good, but there were definitely a handful of great style, both vintage and contemporary. Unfortuantely I didn’t get a chance to document it, due to my shyness and the fact that the club was pretty crowded with a lighting situation that wasn’t ideal. Don’t be disappointed though! You can enjoy some Ethan-style photography of our activities that evening.
Since the event ran from 8:30PM-12AM and didn’t serve food (dinner reservations only, and we didn’t have $75 to spend), we ended up going to an IHOP for some breakfast-for-dinner. We certainly got some weird looks, but we didn’t care! Maybe people thought we came from a wedding? That definitely happened when we walked to Popeye’s on Highland after our Casablanca Evening.
I’m literally wearing pajamas as I’m writing this! I normally don’t do anything (no parties) on New Year’s Eve as I reserve the actual celebration for the Cicada Club. Even though I didn’t dance or drink during during NYEE, I still had a lot of fun dressed up and hanging out with my friends. It’s not every evening that you get to wear a tuxedo and take fun pictures without looking too much like a goober.
As you guys know, I try to be pretty personal in my posts (both on my blog and my instagram) so I hope it’s not too out of place for me to write some thoughts on this past year.
2017 was pretty fuckin’ great, especially when compared to 2016. Even though my blog was getting to its current form last year, with writings about The Armoury and other more contemporary tailoring, my personal life was meh. I had two jobs and was working literally everyday to support myself through my MBA. As a result I was stressed all the time and barely had time for my friends and family. Basically I felt like I was working my ass off with no real goal in sight. That all changed in 2017.
A lot of great things happened this past year. I became the Social Media Manager for Ascot Chang, which accomplished a few things, namely that I finally had a big boy job and that I was finally working in the menswear industry. I also bought a Canon 6D from my friend Jon, which allowed me to improve my photography game; I’m sure you’ve noticed this, especially if you compare my old content to my recent stuff. The fact that I had a big boy, full-time job was perhaps the most important aspect of this year, since it really gave me the free time to work on myself and the blog.
Not only have I had the time to write way more about vintage and contemporary tailoring, but I’ve even had the chance to explore a lot of different styles and expand my casual game. Diversifying and increasing content has helped me get more recognition from my peers (and inspirations) and has even helped me garner more like-minded friends. Seriously, the fact that I have a “squad” of sorts to do fashion-events with is a huge improvement. But life isn’t always about clothing! If you look at my instagram, I usually spend my free time with my friends, trying new food, going to museums, or even just having time to play video games (namely Star Wars: Battlefront II). Overall, 2017 has been a pretty great year.
I’m really excited for whatever the future holds. For the first time in a long time, I am proud to say that I’ve ended the year happy and content! You can bet that I will always be striving for improvement, both in my style and my personal life, as I feel that both are pretty connected. On that note, it’s my goal to be more open with you guys in order to make classic and vintage menswear easily accessible. You guys can expect more great content in 2018, across this blog, my instagram, and my new podcast. Nothing else is really planned, but I really want to try and make a private event for my readers, in order to build on the small Street x Sprezza community. I think that would be really cool, don’t you think?
I hope you all have had a great year. Let’s see what 2018 has in store!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W.