Classic Menswear in the LA Arts District


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I always advocate trying to make menswear look natural and easy by taking dorky pictures.  Especially if it’s in the cool, LA Arts District.  It’s just nice to be dressed up with your friends, acting like yourselves instead of as models who are paid to hold a bottle of soda.

While I don’t believe in dressing up for the sake of dressing up (context is important), there’s something nice about hanging with your friends while being dressed nicely.   I mean I don’t have to eat  Burger King in a suit, but hopefully when people see it, they think that it’s perfectly natural to wear tailoring.  It’s even better when your friends are also dressed well, so you don’t look like a lone peacock.  Luckily, we all had the opportunity to look nice this past weekend!

The Gooch Collective Vol 3. was held at the Rogue Co again, after Garret told us in our latest podcast episode that they really enjoyed the last time (Vol 2.).  If you looked at that our coverage of the last event, you’ll see that it was a great time.  We had much more room for people to mingle, great sets of music, and the opportunity for newcomers Raga Man and Clutch Golf to show off their wares.  Both of these brands (along with the Rogue Collective house brand and 2120 Handcrafted) were brought back to latest one! This time, however, the event started at 6PM and ended at 10PM, most likely to provide people more time to relax, try on clothes, and have complimentary boba.   I think it was a good move, since I noticed that there were a lot more people, some of whom were actually present at the first Gooch Collective. 

Since it was basically a repeat of Vol 2., I won’t get talk about it too much.  And I mean that as a compliment! My friends and I had a lot of fun listening to John Lennon music played by new musicians (the performers are different at every event), which even included singing!  But the best part of the night was being able to hang out and shoot in the Arts District, a place that I seldom go to.   It was a great place to chill before the Gooch Collective started!

Now I know that bloggers are no stranger to the Arts District, but I’ve always wanted to shoot there.  Classic Menswear in cities is something that’s missing from LA, especially since the ones that do shoot here tend to look more like Blake Scott.  Not that there’s anything wrong with him, I just think that his feed looks a little too lifestyle/posed for my taste.  The brand that gets the vibe right is Drake’s.  Even though their stuff is taken in the city (NYC to be exact), it comes off a little more natural and fun to me. The pictures are edited a bit more artistically and the styling is much more in line with what we like here.  We can probably thank famed photographer/designer F.E Castleberry for all the great Drake’s NYC content.

I kept Drake’s in mind when we were hanging in Arts District and when we were creating our outfits.   I don’t think full suits and ties were appropriate for the Gooch Collective, which is why the last time we kept things fairly dressed down.  Casual style is important (and not something unheard of on this blog) but we do like to be tailored, in order to be ourselves! Plus, it’s nice to stand out a bit from the crowd.  I think what we wore was perfect for what we were doing, and hopefully turned a few heads to show people that classic menswear (dressed down slightly) is as natural as it looks on the  Drake’s guys.

Spencer

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Here’s one look stolen right from Drake’s, specifically Mick shot by Jaime Ferguson.  Spencer has dug this look ever since introduced him to Drake’s and after obtaining the right pieces, he’s finally done it!  You might recognize his suede jacket from Inspiration, which is a 60s version of the Valstar model sold by Drake’s a few seasons ago.  As you can see in the pictures, the design hasn’t changed much except for the fact that Spencer’s is designed to be worn with high rise trousers.

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Underneath the jacket, he has a denim spearpoint shirt from Mister Freedom that is technically workwear, but it looks great with tailoring. The sweater vest and striped tie adds a tailored detail to the casual outfit, which I like a lot.  If you were wondering how to pull off a casual, classic-menswear look, this should be the template: play with textures (denim + wool tie), wear jeans and loafers, and add a cool jacket.  Not stuffy at all!  A sport coat isn’t always necessary.

 Jay

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Jay joins us during his spring break and rocks a combo that I didn’t get to wear this past fall/winter: a turtleneck and jeans.  Like Spencer, he opts for the casual colors of brown and blue and pairs his patch pocket tweed jacket with cuffed denim and a chunky pair of doc martens. It gives me a slightly rugged, 1970’s version of “sartorial casual”, which contrasts with the slouchy, “softer” stuff you’ll see in the rest of the blog post.

MJ

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MJ is slowly upping his style! He’s one of my oldest friends (there’s pictures of us at ike 5 years old) and he definitely reads the blog! He even joined me at the flea market to pick up a blue chore coat, which has rapidly become his go-to layering piece. MJ doesn’t have much in the sartorial realm of things, but I’m glad that decided to wear a striped OCBD with a knit tie and chinos.  At some point we’re going to upgrade his shirt and shoe choices!

Ethan

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Yeah, I know; this is pretty dressy for hanging out.  But hey, at least I’m not wearing a sportcoat!

As you can tell from the past few blog posts and instagram pics, I’ve been really digging Bryceland’s and Drake’s.  It’s mainly due to the fact that their styling is inherently more casual than their contemporaries; plus their presentation is fantastic. It just makes dressing up look so easy and natural!

The top layer is something directly inspired by Brycelands.  It’s a navy cotton jungle jacket made by Uniqlo that is surprisingly pretty damn good.  There aren’t any epaulets or drawstrings; just bellow pockets, with the breast ones turned slightly sideways in the distinctive jungle jacket way.   I normally advocate trying to get a vintage option, but they’re almost always in green or camo, not solid navy.   This might just become my “navy sportcoat” for spring/summer.

Being unstructured and functional (thanks to its four pockets), the jungle jacket is really a perfect layering piece for LA.     It’s much less dressy than a sportcoat (even if it is cotton or linen) and like a beanie, makes things worn under it less “fancy looking”.  At least I think it is.   Don’t worry, we’re going to examine the jungle jacket in a future post!
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Nothing says Drake’s like a soft OCBD, sleeveless cardigan, and a foulard tie!  It’s such a great combo that feels vintage but is inherently classic.  Honestly, I could’ve gone the “rugged, casual” route that Spencer did, but for some reason, I felt like wearing the knit cardigan and trousers.  It’s probably due to all the Drake’s pictures I have saved on my phone.  Luckily, the jungle jacket makes it look more classic menswear instead of a 20 year old dressing like a grandpa. And I say grandpa because I feel like the combo without the jacket is a little too frumpy.  The shirt is very full and while the body is hidden by the sweater vest, the baggy sleeves would be seen.  Without the jacket, the combo doesn’t look very “cool” to me; if I wanted to just wear the sleeves cardigan on it’s own, I would’ve done a different shirt/tie combination.

Also, the outfit is pretty much this but with altered colors.

Snapshots

Enjoy the fun pictures!

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Serious boys.

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Silly boys.

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We ran into Garret Gooch while they were clearing the floor at the Rogue Collective.  He was pretty sartorial the previous times, so it was suprising to see that he opted for something a bit more more casual.  The linen jacket over the western shirt was a good touch, but I was really more interested in his jeans.  I assumed they were the black version of the high rise/tapered Levi’s 501CT (that I already own) but they were actually “vintage” ones from the 1980s!   There’s a little cheat for ya; try to get 80s-to-early-90s pairs of levis if you want that high rise look. I can’t guarantee that they will be tapered, but they’ll probably be similar to slim cuts now!

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If you’re wondering why Joshua’s suit looks familiar, that’s because it was originally mine.  I got this suit before the other two in the blog post and unfortunately got the trousers tapered from the entire leg instead of just the knee down.  To add insult to injury, the tailor also cut out the excess fabric, which resulted in a slim leg that was too much for me.  I have worn it a few times since but I never felt really happy in it.  It found a good home with Josh.

He loved it and the shorter length worked well for him, as he prefers a slightly cropped trouser.  With a Kamakura OCBD and black knit tie, he creates a great, minimal look.  I don’t think there’s been modern guitarist that dresses as well as this guy.

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Both of the Gooch brothers wore their hair-on loafers from 2120 Handcrafted.  Not exactly my cup of tea, but then again so were berets, so we’ll see what happens.

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High rise denim from Thee Teenaged.  Blog post coming soon!

 

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MJ and Scott, my high school best friend and college roomate.

 

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Bottle flip!

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I’m a basic LA bitch.

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MJ trying his hand at flash photography.

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Kosuke from Clutch Golf taking a load off.

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We’ve been this lame since high school.

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Aram of 2120 rocking the Rogue Collective chore coat that I may or may not buy very soon.

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Can’t beat free boba!

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MJ is a great photographer!

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Garret with the fashionable couple from Motif No. 3.

 

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Waiting in line at Wurstkuche.

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The Gooch Family!

Conclusion

I’m really glad that I was able to hang out with my friends while we were dressed nicely. We may not be in suits, but we were still pretty damn stylish! It just goes to show you that you don’t have to be in a suit in order to look good; you can always use some unexpected layering or do the tried-and-true denim+loafers.  It makes classic menswear just a little bit easier to pull off, especially in LA when suits are almost never worn.  Plus, mixing casual and classic menswear pieces just looks cool.  Or you can always just do things in your own style, a la the Gooch Brothers.  No one looks more at ease than they do!

I’m honestly not sure what I wanted to accomplish with this article, but I hope you understand that we’re not just fancy guys doing fancy things (or loners taking pictures in an alley with a self timer).  This blog does a lot of coverage of my recent purchases and a few essays, but I like being able to share pieces of my life with you guys!   What I’ve really liked about my personal menswear journey is that I’m able to still dress the way I do and still have stupid, dorky fun with my friends.  There is no prescribed lifestyle for classic menswear.   Even though I have gone to a few “classy” events, I’m still pretty much the same nerd I’ve been since I was a kid.  And I’m glad that my friends have still stuck with me despite narcissistic hobby!

PS: Quick shout out to MJ for wearing a tie!  He doesn’t normally do that kind of thing.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

@ethanmwong 

Street x Sprezza 

Photography by Ethan, MJ, and Scott 

 

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