Your favorite boys get to represent classic menswear at the latest Dapper Day Expo.
Ah, spring. The time where linens and cottons get to break out of the closet for some fun. It also means that it’s time for the only bi-annual fashion event that’s accessible for regular people. I mean we may get to go to Drake’s trunk shows and talk tailoring, but Dapper Day is different; it’s just all about fun!
For those of you who don’t know, Dapper Day is an event that is dedicated to letting people “step out in style”. It was inspired by old Disneyland concept art and 1950’s photographs, which showed people of all ages enjoying the parks in suits and dresses. Obviously dressing vintage isn’t required, but everyone is encouraged to dress up no matter what their style is! Dapper Day has been expanding lately, as we’ve gone to fun events at LACMA and the Natural History Museum, but the twice a year (Spring and Fall) Disney outing is the original.
In the past, Dapper Day at Disneyland was just in the parks. As the event as gotten bigger, with Disney admission prices skyrocketing, they’ve expanded to include an Expo in the Disneyland Hotel that spans the weekend. Vendors of vintage/repro clothing, makeup, and photograph booths make up the expo, which was incredibly packed when we went. The main draw this time was swing dancing and live band, which was provided by the famous Dandy Wellington.
I wasn’t doing a presentation like last year’s Fall Expo (watch our video here!) so we only spent a few hours in the Expo. Luckily we were able to meet up with some of our friends who won’t be able to join us the next day in the Park! Enjoy the pictures.
Old readers of the blog will remember Sam Simmons from our Bay Area trip a couple of years ago. He is the operator of the Over Attired Etsy page, where you can find some cool stuff! In general, Sam’s an avid collector of belt back suits and he never hesitates to make me jealous. He wore a 1930’s 3PC green DB suit that has triple, pleated patch pockets and a belt back; if you look closely you’ll even see that there’s a subtle windowpane pattern in the fabric. It might be a bit of a novelty to some, but I think it’s pretty wearable today!
No one makes stuff like this anymore.
One of the coolest moments of the moments of the evening was getting to see Rose Callahan, photographer of books I am Dandy and it’s sequel, We Are Dandy; both of which focus on “dandy” well dressed men from around the world. Honestly, the books were one of the first things that started me on my vintage(and later, classic menswear) journey! I actually got to meet her and the author Nathaniel Adams a few years ago when they launched their first book. Both of them actually went to Dapper Day in 2013!
She was there signing copies of We are Dandy with her husband Kellfire. This well dressed couple are one of the mainstays of the NYC vintage scene, so I’m sure some of you guys may know the pair already! Quick shout out to Kellfire’s striped suit; I always have a soft spot for DBs.
Time to talk about outfits. Normally, we like to dress for the season but there are a few times when a theme just randomly presents itself! I’m sure you’ll see it.
Spencer decided to do a spring/summer spin on English country attire, done by wearing a slick tattersall waistcoat under a cotton jacket and a pair of pleated brown linens. Obviously there’s a little bit of a Drake’s influence, as he proudly wears his new chambray button-down collar shirt and a woven foulard tie. Layering is a great way not only to look vintage, but to add some interest into an outfit; you’ll notice that the only patterns he has are in the tie and waistcoat!
Our man Hector kills it again. This NYC expat has built up an impressive collection of bespoke clothing and gets to proudly wear his summer commissions, now that he has moved to LA. He’s not a super vintage guy, but he does take a few cues from old tailoring as he opted for a pleated patch pockets (something you don’t really see) on a wide lapeled, 3-roll-2 linen suit with high rise trousers.
I am incredibly jealous of this suit and the cotton one he wore to the Drake’s trunk show! A good summer suit is something that is lacking in my wardrobe.
Julian also decided to do some English inspired styling, by wearing a cashmere plaid suit with a contrast club collar shirt and polka dot tie. It’s incredibly badass, which again makes me lust for more DBs and grey suits. Julian works at in SF at Beckett & Robb, a MTM suit company, so I’m sure he gets to use his employee discount quite often. The suit fits him really well and I like how soft the construction looks. Big ups for opting for wide peak lapels; most guys today don’t do wide on DBs.
Andy is a fellow menswear guy that is in his early 20s (same age as me) and lives quite near Spencer, but I think I see him the least! Luckily, he was able to get time off from his job to join us at the Dapper Day Expo. Navy jackets and tan trousers are a natural pairing for summer due to their ivy/preppy roots, so it takes a little creativity to make your outfit more special.
He accomplishes that feat by opting for a cream bandana (worn similarly to a tight ascot), worn underneath a blue striped spread collar shirt. I haven’t yet had the balls to wear a bandana or ascot, but seeing on Andy really makes me believe I can do it. It doesn’t look too stuffy, as the opts for a soft shoulder DB instead of something super structured. He pulls the look off well.
I think that Blake has us beat. As an avid collector of vintage German clothing, you can beat that he has an awesome wardrobe filled with details that are as rare as they come. To the spring expo, he fittingly wears a 1930’s linen german suit. Even though it’s vintage, the jacket is unstructured and the trousers are flat-front and quite slim. In general, it’s important to remember that European clothing different from American clothing, back in the Golden Era.
Other cool details include caramel buttons, patch pockets that can be closed with a button, a cropped length (a European fad of the era), and side tab adjusters. The condition that this suit is in is nearly flawless, despite the fact that it’s approaching 90 years of age.
I was really proud of this outfit. It’s something that’s kinda English, sorta 1920’s, and a little bit Ralph Lauren. It’s definitely dandy, but hey, it’s Dapper Day.
On top I wore the awesome SB peak lapel belt back sport coat. It’s technically a navy jacket (though a formal one, with cool details), so I decided to lean into the elegant theme by pairing it with some lightweight striped cream flannels. Plain ones would have been the easy choice, as I like the old school edwardian vibes that you get from striped cream odd-trousers. I’ve worn these cream flannels before and they are like wearing super comfy, tailored pajamas. So don’t worry, I wasn’t dying in them!
Since I was going for an English/RL dandy sort of thing, I opted for my seldom-seen contrast club collar shirt. It’s a shirt that’s best served for outfits like this. To tone down the outfit and ensure that I don’t go too crazy, I decided to go for a simple polka dot tie (which is actually from the 1930’s). The outfit technically contains 4 different, patterned pieces, but I think it all works well together; it’s certainly in my archives as one of my favorite outfits of all time. I’m usually never this dandy!
We also go to run into Marc Chevalier, who is a huge rare-vintage collector and is a huge resource of vintage menswear knowledge. He’s helped clarify a few things on the blog and doesn’t hesitate to share pictures of some amazing pieces. He was at the Expo promoting the Art Deco society and spreading the gospel of classic tailoring.
He is wearing a 1930s bespoke linen suit, a fantastic choice considering the hot weather that day. Marc is also posing with a 1970’s purple flannel that looks like it was made in the 1930’s.
Benny Reese, king of selling vintage menswear, was back again with a few selections from his large archive. Normally we see him in a suit (and something belted) but this time he went for something a little more monochromatic with a brown leisure suit, black shirt, and a cool tie 1940’s tie which he had his store logo embroidered onto!
He may not be the only vintage seller there, but he’s one of the best in terms of selection and quality, as he only sells pieces pre-1960’s. No polyester suits can be found at his shop!
Seeing Dandy Wellington in person was a little unreal. I actually knew of him before I read about him in I am Dandy, as he was always a prolific NYC jazz musician and snappy dresser. I used to follow his instagram religiously, and he only increased my love for cream odd trousers, straw boaters, and some bold pattern mixing. My style has definitely gotten a little more subdued compared to his bolder style, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get inspiration from his unique, awesome style.
He sang a few sets and took a lot of pictures with adoring fans wearing a DB regatta blazer (sold by Sean Crowley) and wide legged cream flannels, topped off with a straw boater. The young 2013 Ethan would have tried to replicate this look so hard; hell I still really like it. We didn’t get to talk much, but we did speak a bit about how the NYC scene differs from the LA one. I even got to be super dorky on his instagram story! I’m not sure if he appreciated it or not.
Right before Spencer, Andy and I left for dinner, we got to run into our friend Adam. I really like how most of us went for cream/tan trousers even though we didn’t coordinate together at all! Over his striped cream trousers (paired smashingly with black/white SJC spectators), he wears a checked blue jacket with a vintage sweater vest. The outfit looks like something out of a 1930’s collegiate/youth street style picture.
After the Expo finished and our friends left, Spencer, Andy, and I decided to go to the Anaheim Packing House for dinner. I’m trying to break out of being a creature of habit, but as Spencer had never been therefore, I recommended an old favorite of mine when I used to go there more often. In the end, we ate at Georgia’s, a southern comfort food restaurant, that really hit the spot!
Here’s a the full picture of Andy’s bandana, which features a great Smokey the Bear illustration. When it’s all folded up,the words and design make for a cool pattern on the bandana, which makes it much more interesting than a plain one. Honestly, I’d prefer to use these as bandanas/ascots rather than the “normal”, plain silk ones.
Coming off the Drake’s trunk show high and allowing it to continue at the Dapper Day Expo was a lot of fun. The only difference is that this time, we were around “regular people” who aren’t normally classic menswear enthusiasts. I certainly hope that the other guys in attendance understand that dressing up (whether vintage or contemporary) isn’t just relegated to clip on suspenders and a bowtie! Of course, you should always be yourself and dress in whatever makes you the most happy.
The recap of the actual Dapper Day in the Disneyland Park is coming soon, but I hope you enjoyed this article on the expo. Like with any of the recent events I’ve been to, I’m really happy that there is a real menswear group down here in the huge sprawl of Southern California. If you can’t join us in Disneyland (which is an expensive feat), I really hope you’ll join us during the next Expo in the fall! It’s not exactly Pitti Uomo or the Rake’s black tie dinner, but I think it’s a lot of fun. There are always plenty of areas in Downtown Disney to hang out, talk tailoring, and take some great pictures.
Don’t forget that Dapper Day isn’t just about Disneyland, as they also do a museum outing in the summer. Perhaps we’ll see you at the next one!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W.