The Drake’s SS19 Trunk Show at The Bloke

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No April Fools joke this year.  Just another event recap where we took Drake’s new collection, catch up with Chris, and take some weird-ass pictures.

Then again, I don’t know what else you expected.

Man, I love trunk shows.  It’s pretty much the only way I get to experience the “real” brands of classic menswear that we’ve come to know, as Los Angeles is pretty starved of things (apart from mall stores).  Not only do they bring in exclusive products and a knowledgable representative, but it also brings together the budding menswear community.

It’s mainly all thanks to the The Bloke, a menswear retailer that has been inspired by the countless others (like the Armoury) that started this renaissance of sorts.  With a ivy/mod Anglo-American spin, they provide the east side a unique view of menswear, selling pieces ranging from Alden shoes and Rowing Blazers blazers to 2120 loafers and Fred Perry polos. .  It’s definitely a store that is truly special in the greater Los Angeles county.

Drake’s Trunk Show

Now, it’s no surprise to you guys, but Drake’s has been one of my favorite brands lately.  They’ve had a a great journey, transitioning from making awesome ties to being a full service haberdashery, now known for their easy ivy-esque looks.  I personally find it their focus on separates and casual suitings extremely wearable in the “dressed-down world” and as a result, it has inspired a lot of my style choices.   Bringing it back to The Bloke, the store has decided to be a dedicated stockist of Drake’s, carrying a bunch of pieces (not just ties!) from each seasonal collection, acting almost as a permanent pop-up space.

Their newest collection is probably their most ambitious one yet. You can check out their Spring/Summer 19 lookbook here, shot in Lanzarote and features bold colors, reintroduces their DB jacketing (a startling addition since they mainly do 3-roll-2 coats), and even has their newest efforts in casual outerwear.  A lot of these pieces and a great core collection of standards now awaits at The Bloke.

While the pieces are there for the duration of the season, the bi-annual trunk shows are still very exciting! It’s like a piece of our NYC experience (or technically, London) comes to our tiny community in LA.  While the Bloke will retain most of the pieces of their latest collection, it’s nice to have Chris (their wholesale/trunk rep) come in taking custom  tie/shirt/tailoring orders and being able to talk shop about the industry (and get cool insights into what is coming down the Drake’s pipeline!).  He’s set to come in twice a year to bring in each new season; the Bloke supplements this is complimentary drinks and snacks, making for a fun event.

I always make sure to invite as many people as possible for these events (whether it’s Drake’s or not) because it gives us an excuse to “dress up” and talk menswear.  These may not be as common as they are in other places, but we’ll take them! It always ends up being a great experience.

The Pieces

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A variety of fun motif ties, perfect for the season. Though my favorites are the foulards on the 3rd row.

Now the trunk show was held over two days, and I decided to catch the tail end of the first day. By the grace of God, I actually made it to Pasadena from Beverly Hills in under an hour!  I went solo-ish, so it gave me a chance to check out the collection for myself and get some face-to-face time with Chris. The vibes were definitely more intimate, which fulfilled my more introverted side.  It basically helped me prep for the next day.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have many size 36 jackets for me to try (that’s the size that works for my body).  I took some pictures with myself in them for personal impressions, but they definitely looked best on other guys who fill out the silhouette better. Obviously most of this stuff is out of all our price ranges, but they are a great brand that I genuinely love. I have actually bought a few ties from them during each sale, but I feel like other pieces are in my future. Nothing wrong with aspirational pieces!

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A specially chosen selection of MTO tie fabrics.

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Like I said earlier, Drake’s is going into casual outerwear much more than ever before.  They’ve already made great headway with their safari/chorecoat/overshirt, but this new stuff is totally different! It basically parallels my recent love of ivy casual; think barn coats from LL Bean or a campus in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  This vibrant yellow “walking jacket” is a great example of that vibe.

It’s definitely too big on me, but I love the aesthetics. With slanted pockets and a drawstring cinch, it feels like a jungle jacket combined with the M-43.  It’s extremely light, making it perfect for some milder warm days, though it does have a few details that aren’t really useful: there’s a zipper on the neck that doesn’t have a hood and the button clasp in the middle doesn’t connect to anything.

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This is how it’s supposed to fit.

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Love these pockets.

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Their Game’s Jacket is their version of the classic prep windbreaker that isn’t a G-9. Again, I can’t comment on fit, but it’s still a cool piece that reminds me of my gab short jacket. The block stripe is pretty cool, but if you aren’t feeling it, the jacket is reversible with a solid side.

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They brought back their garment washed cord suits this time around, and they feel amazing.  With no structure at all, they are the epitome of casual tailoring. The color is lovely and is actually something I’ve been after for a while (my cotton suiting is terribly lacking).

Like I noted in their Fall trunk show, the garment washed suits fit a bit slimmer/shorter than their regular line, so I actually take a 38 in this suit.

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I finally decided to try on one of their overshirts for myself (I know I’m late to the party). At the trunk show, they had a few RTW pieces that the Bloke will stock but they also had a rack of sizes for MTO, which can be made from everything from hearty Brisbane Moss cotton to pinstripe linen.

I’ve honestly been entertaining the thought of them, as I’m a bit tired of my chore coats.  There’s nothing wrong with my chore-ies, but I find them a bit too rugged and statement-y, with a bit too much of a workwear edge.  The one’s from Drake’s (at least the ones I look at) are on the basic side, which makes them more versatile.

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As you can see, there are a lot of buttons, which contrasts with the 4-5 button ones I’m used to.  I definitely love the pocket details, but I do wish the collar was wider. The one in the picture is a size small and fits pretty slim on me; I neglected to try a medium, but I think it would be much better.

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Looks really good on Michael, don’t you think?

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Okay, so they have a real chore coat. It’s definitely more casual than their overshirt, due to the canvas material and contrast stitching.  I guess I’d really love to combine elements of the two.

The white one is extremely good and reminds us of the vintage Lee chore coats that you can usually find at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  It’s super good, if you can’t already tell from MJ’s grin.

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MTO Madras shirting.  I’m really feeling checked shirts!

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Lastly, we have the ultimate Ethan spring/summer jacket: a brown glen check jacket made in linen.  Brown jackets are how I live my life!

I’m pretty sad that they didn’t have the size for me, but you can see how great it is on Cody and Nguyen.  The color is great (made a tad light, but that’s okay) but the real star is the pattern.  It gives the jacket much more life than the typical solid linen, making it almost like a summer tweed jacket (though summer tweed is a fabric term, I’m referring to the typical checked tweeds I normally wear).

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Our Attire

Obviously we bring our A-game every time.  I definitely love the diversity in styles!

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MJ is my oldest friend but is rather new to this whole world of menswear. With that said, he’s a fast learner and has developed his own looks, taking cues from Male Fashion Advise and my own blog.  MJ obviously has no reason to get as sartorial as I do, but he has an appreciation for it, leading to a small interest in Drake’s.

His outfit for the trunk show is rather simple, consisting of a vintage chore coat, a block stripe rugby shirt, and a surprisingly well fitting pair of off-white denim (cuffed nicely over suede chukka boots).  If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s lovingly inspired by this outfit from the latest Drake’s lookbook.

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Michael is ready for summer with this Tony Sylvester-esque outfit. A bold awning stripe sportshirt was a great choice that is different than the plain/hawaiian/abstract designs that are normally seen on this blog.  The faded white bucks are a bold choice that ties in with the vibrance of the shirt.  Compared to most of us, it’s simple, but it’s  really good look.

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Rounding out the casual style present at this event is Albert, who we met at the Etherway event a couple of weeks ago.  Working for SelfEdge, he gets his hands on a lot of great pieces.  I especially like this workwear-ish meets ivy-ish look that encapsulates the best of LA appropriate style.  The vibrant red G-9 is a great touch to contrast against the other neutral pieces. The artsy tee is from Humanmade while the navy chinos are Knickerbocker; we see a return of 2120 with the iconic black wholecut loafers.

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Nguyen brings it back to the sartorial side with some of the best themes from this blog: a blue jacket, cream trousers, purple socks/loafers, spearpoint collars, and a vintage “soft square” foulard.  It’s straight out of the Ethan M. Wong playbook, especially the tie!

It’s so incredibly well put together and super appropriate for the coming warm weather.  The cream trousers (90s Brooks Bros from eBay) are a no brainer, but the coolest piece is the Air Force Blue fresco jacket.  We’re all starting to try things from Spier & Mackay, so we’ll report how these all hold up!

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It’s been a while since Spencer has been sartorial.  His job at J. Crew allows him to dress down way more, so he’s been doing a lot more casual looks.  However, he decided to get in the spirit considering the type of event.  His look is very Drake’s, incorporating the tied sweater (albiet with a Rugby Shirt) over a brown sack jacket, LVC denim, and bluchers.

It’s a cool and casual take on the prep-douche look, which definitely works.  And don’t worry, this look is definitely familiar to you.

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Felicia is one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet. She’s mainly known for her many disneybounds, but I love her everyday style. It’s a mix between 1940s-1960s with some splashes of 80s-90s.  Those qualities are evident with this outfit: a generously shouldered 80s tweed, over a dark mockneck, and some fantastic reproduction high-rise denim trousers.  I hope we see more of her on the blog.

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Oh boy it’s me!  This trunk show was the debut of my new MTM cotton suit, made for me by my friend Dave of Atelier Fugue. It’s definitely inspired by all the cotton suits worn by the Drake’s guys, but with my own details, namely the wide leg pleated trousers. The cotton twill is pretty hearty, but I can’t wait to break it in so it gets soft and comfy for the summer.  I even commission a brown one with a few tweaks, since this suit is pretty close to perfect!

I obviously follow my rules of the striped shirt + patterned tie, but instead of my normal vintage foulards, I went with this bold purple and green paisley tie, bought only a few days earlier at the Drake’s sample sale (using a proxy).  It’s wonderfully bold and is perfect for that Drake’s meets Ethan/vintage-inspired look that I guess I’m doing.

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Lastly, we have Mr. Chris Gumbs, the repp from Drake’s.  The first night he wore a navy cotton suit that I unfortunately forgot to photograph, but luckily his main event outfit was baller.  It’s their new denim suit that feels (and looks) incredibly soft.

I like that he’s making some bold moves with this outfit! Chris complements the suit with a multistripe OCBD and a green surfer motif tie that actually reminds me of the hand painted ones of the 1950’s.  Is this going to be a new trend in menswear?

Snapshots

Now that we’ve established the cool products and the outfits, it’s time to to enjoy the pictorial recap of the trunk show.  I actually think that this might be our silliest event yet, most likely do to the fact that we’ve all gotten way closer and actually hang out outside of menswear.  Perhaps we were just waiting for an excuse to dress up an act like the dorks we are.

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A still life of Spencer’s rugby.

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Roy in the vintage Brooks summer suit that he bought in the 1960’s.

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The Bloke and the Cartoonist!

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Too bright!

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Arianna Reggio of Styleforum and her husband, wearing a handsome Solaro suit.

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The bandana.

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Chris showing us the yellow cotton he may or may not commission for a future suit.

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A small, but fun affair.

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#pocketfisting

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We love our foulard ties.

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Evan, a reader of the blog, wearing his true vintage Brooks summer suit.

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Green and purple are some of my favorite colors.  They complement navy so well!

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Spencer showing Chris this picture of Justin Timberlake.

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We’re cool.

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Angel (left) in a fantastically preppy outfit and his brother!

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Denim and suede.

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Albert is too cool for us.

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mid sneeze

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Admiring vintage foulards.

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Nguyen made the jump to spearpoints!

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Great use of the Drake’s scarf.

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James of the Bloke.

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Watch gang!

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pinky up

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Justin Jorgensen, creator of Dapper Day, wearing his bespoke Edward Sexton suit cut from Dormeuil.

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Cody Wellema is so damn cool.

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Jeff the prepster in his sack blaze, motif tie, and salmon chinos.

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The men of the Bloke.

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Marlon West, occasional DJ and the full time Head of Effects Animation for Walt Disney Animation.

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Menswear prom!

Conclusion

I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve had a classic menswear/sartorial event that was open to everyone. Almost all the regular LA menswear guys came and it made for a fun time.  The best moments were talking with Chris about how Drake’s is doing and the direction they’ve been going into. It’s almost as if you get closer with these guys each time they come, which is probably why I look forward to trunk shows so much.  Being able to listen to Chris’s stories about Michael Hill or how they discover fabric was so cool!  It turns out that he’s going to be in Japan during my family vacation, so hopefully we’ll get to link up.

Overall, I’m really digging the pieces that are all there at the Bloke.  While the custom stuff aren’t available anymore, you can still check out the RTW.  You already know the sportcoats are my bread and butter, but the motif ties and pocket squares are also very cool.  Drake’s is really killing it with RTW and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen for F/W 19.

I hope you enjoyed this recap and all the silly pictures! Maybe next time you’ll join us for the next event.  Keep an eye out on my IG stories to find out for the next one!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

@ethanmwong 

Street x Sprezza

Photography by Ethan W. and Felicia W.

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