Partying with WM Brown at Sid Mashburn & The Bloke

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Oh man.  Nothing like two (nearly) back to back events filled with meat and negronis.  LA had its hands full of menswear this past weekend!

Matt Hranek is such a cool guy.  When I first came across him in his interview with Blamo!, he seems to have done it all: photography, blogger, writer (for Condé Nast no less), and an author of the acclaimed book A Man and His Watch.  I thought his conversation with Jeremy was very interesting, but I honestly didn’t closely follow him until he had a party at Drake’s earlier this year for the launch of his latest endeavour: WM Brown, a lifestyle magazine that has taken the menswear world by storm. I’ve checked it out a few times when it arrived at the Bloke, and loved it.  It’s much more photography focused and plays out in a personal way (similar to this blog), so I was instantly a fan.

I followed on IG him shortly after that (I really do learn about new things simply by following my menswear friends/colleagues) and instantly became enamored with his life. I mean, who wouldn’t always want to be traveling through Europe (in an old Fiat!) and NYC, drinking negronis, eating meat, wearing your favorite J. Mueser suits, and hosting events (like the absolutely epic Royal Scotsman excursion).  It’s almost as if he represented a facet of what I want my career to turn into.  Maybe.  Eventually.

So many people recommended I meet him, so I definitely got excited when I learned he was going to be in LA for two events, both for his magazine.  The first one was at Sid Mashburn, all the way in Brentwood.  A far cry for this east LA County kid.

Party #1 at Sid Mashburn

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Sid Masburn is one of the only jewels of classic menswear in LA.  It’s different than The Bloke, as it’s almost entirely its own label just like Drake’s; the Bloke is more similar to the Armoury in that it retails other artisanal makers.  I like to compare Sid to J. Crew in the sense that it has a prominent American style, through and through.  It’s not too preppy, but it’s not entirely ivy either; the shelves are filled with soft shoudlered jackets, oxfords in both BD and spread, white jeans, loafers, and repps & foulards.  I’ll probably have to write about Sid sometime in the future, I’m sure, it’s just so far from where I live. 

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Matt Hranek in a J. Mueser jacket.

The party was packed (the store is small, like the Bloke) to the limit! So many people there, presumably rich and influential (considering this is Brentwood), dressed to the nines.  I remember seeing a lot of men in repps and navy jackets and stylish women in preppy attire; one standout was a girl in what I think was a dress version of the Brooks “Fun Shirt”, though it may have just been colorful bengal stripes.

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Rob and Michael.

I latched onto my dear friend Michael (as you all know I can be an introvert) but familiar faces like Ryan and Rob Spangle were there as well.  I did get to make a couple of new friends (like Khaled Nasr, who corrected my awful prounciation of Sciamat) and reintroduce myself to the Sid staff, as I had only been there twice before with Ryan (who shops there semi-often).  Unfortunately, I was only able to say goodbye/thank you to Sid Mashburn, though I did have a funny interaction with Ann, which I will definitely recall in a future podcast episode.

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Carlos in Ring and a thrifted breton stripe shirt.

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Clara Hranek and Sid Mashburn himself!

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Ryan and Hill, both in Sid.

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Cotton suit, Ascot Chang stripe spearpoint, and a Drake’s tie.

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Love Rob’s use of a jungle jacket as a shirt, with the runaway collar over an Anglo Italian suit.

By the way, yes I tried a Negroni and I didn’t like it.  I’m still easing my way into alcohol, so gimme a break!

Party #2 at The Bloke

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The second event was at The Bloke, the HQ of Pasadena menswear. This one was a bit different since it was more so a fall party for their two year anniversary than simply just about WM Brown.  In addition to Matt Hranek,  Todd Magill of Magill LA (a new ivy-inspired brand in LA) was doing a trunk show, as well as featured sculptures by Karolina Mazkiewicz.  As always I made sure to bring all my friends (so we basically have an excuse to dress up) and take a lot more pictures!

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Loving these Calder-esque pieces!

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Because the event was much smaller (and I knew a most of the people in attendance), I found it easier to break out of my shell. Of course, seeing Matt in action was a highlight; he made sure to talk to everyone, regardless if they were a “menswear person” or not. I was also happy to jump in this time as well, talking about his Scarosso loafers, fast fashion, and his experience getting kicked out of a hotel bar for wearing shorts.  There was even a good speech on menswear rules and using discretion rather than being a stickler; this is something we will discuss on a future podcast episode.  Everyone in the Bloke crowded around and hung on to his stories.

His life seems very intriguing and enticing, and I do wonder if maybe in some alternate universe (or in this very future), I could pivot my career to follow his.  To be able to hang out with guys in the industry, travel around the world, take pictures, and dress well; being able to host gatherings like this would also be a plus.  I’m still a far cry from any of those things (I need to add some charisma points), but I hope that at some point, I’ll be able to do it in my own circles.  Maybe with less alcohol and more boba and fries.

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Watch gang.

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The first two editions of the magazine. The Fall 2019 issue will be out soon!

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While, I am happy to have finally shared a [sip] of a negroni with Matt Hranek, one of the best moments was getting to know Todd Magill.  A Jack Spade alumn, Todd has created a new menswear brand that I have become enamored with.  His eponymous brand focuses on classic ivy-prep staples like pleated chinos, rugby shirts, and polos.  You might consider it similar to Rowing Blazers, but with an understated vibe; there is also a sustainability aspect as well as local LA manufacturing. There isn’t that Supreme/hype connotation here, just fantastic clothes.

The Bloke has carried a few of their pieces, but this was the first time I took the time to really handle the pieces (it also helps that the founder/designer was present).  I’m sure I’ll explore Magill in depth in it’s own blog post once I actually save up for a few pieces, but it’s cool to formally introduce them here.

Magill will have a pop-up at the Bloke until the end of October, so be sure to check it out!  There’s a lot of good stuff, like their CPO shirts and especially the trousers.  The twill chinos were a big hit so he’s kept the same fit/pattern  and applied them to other things like a wide wale corduroy and HBT, both extremely soft and perfect for LA.

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The leg silhouette of the navy cord (size 30).

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MJ modeling Hefty melton wool CPO (in a size small).

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I tried on the navy, but the khaki might be my favorite. Or both.  Both is good.  This is the one I took home.

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I love meeting menswear friends, especially when they turn from IG-only to IRL.  RJ here is such a cool cat, being such a big menswear enthusiast that he’s taken it upon himself to tailor his own clothing. And by that, I mean literally create pieces just for himself!

He came to the party in a fantastic grey plaid safari jacket, decked out with fun 70’s-inspired detailing like oversized button-flap pockets, a wide collar (and band), and a full belt.  His trousers were also no joke, being a donegal tweed with even more detailing that you can’t see.  I’m sure we’ll see more of him real soon.

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I got excited to dress up, as this was the first menswear event I’ve been to since I don’t know when!   That’s mainly the reason a lot of my articles have been more introspective (and why all my pictures are me in the alley behind Ascot Chang).  As such, I opted to go full Ethan and break out my Ascot Chang suit, cut from LA-appropriate open weave Crispaire.

This suit will get it’s own blog post at some point, but for now you’ll have to make due!  It’s got a bit of everything I like, with an Italian inspired jacket with soft shoulders and open quarters, but it also features a lower gorge line to make it a bit more vintage looking.  The trousers are double pleated and are a bit slimmer than I’d normally like, but its still nice.

The suit is perfect in that it can be very style-versatile.  Here, it decidedly has more of a 1930’s inspired spin, mostly due to my use of a spearpoint shirt  and a 30’s multistripe tie; the cotton sweater vest just plants it firmly in vintage/grandpa style.  If I wanted it to be a bit more modern, I could do a foulard or paisley and pair it with an OCBD. Or I could just do it with an Aloha.  It’s my first real navy suit, and it will serve me well in almost any circumstance.

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I’ve told y’all that Spencer doesn’t really dress up with a tie and jacket very much anymore, but like me, it takes an event to make us go all out.  His outfit definitely shows his continued love of milsurp and rugged ivy, as he combines a vintage 60’s school crest blazer with a pair of reproduction M-43 camo pants and denim bucket hatbucket hat. I would definitely do my own version of this, as it’s a great way to exude the ideas of classic menswear but without being too traditional.  It shows that you like dressing in tailoring for fun!

And yes, there is an article on fun pants with tailoring coming out real soon.

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Lastly, we have my buddyboy MJ. MJ took a page out of the blog and wore a “casual suit” consisting of a jungle jacket and 1960’s olive chinos.  The use of the cotton turtleneck (because we are in LA after all) is inspired, taking out the military vibe and planting it firmly in fashion.  MJ is also a fan of color coordinating, so note that he went with red socks to echo the turtleneck!

He looks absolutely stellar and I’m happy that one of my closest and oldest friends is developing his own style.

Snapshots

Here are some great pictures I took throughout the day. Oh man, I was so excited to take some pictures, since it’s been a while since I’ve been “on location”. I think the last time was when I went to the Getty, but there was no blog post about that!

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Genki boys.

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New season Rowing Blazers jacket and Drake’s jaunty scarf.

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Love these sculptures.

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Album cover.

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Another album cover.

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This kinda reminds me of Wes Anderson.

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Always great to see Ryan and Harriet!

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Karolina Maskiewicz (middle).

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Hector, taking advantage of the slightly cool LA afternoon, to break out camelhair, cashmere (tie) and flannel.

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Morgan, client of the Bloke, wearing Rowing Blazers and about to blow Matt’s mind with a card trick.  We may go and see him at the Magic Castle!

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Purple and white socks.

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Stoffa flight jacket on the right.

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He’s single ladies (as are the rest of us RIP).

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Matt and Jeff!

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“All I have are negative thoughts.” – Joker (2019)

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Magill shirt and rugby.

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Someone got a lucky negroni made by the man himself!

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uwu

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Micheal and Anne: the best couple.

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Conclusion

We had to eat meat for Matt Hranek.

Oh man, I can’t tell how you how thirsty I’ve been for a menswear event!  It’s always a lot of fun because it brings everyone together and it allows me to take pictures of people (instead of just in my alley behind work).  It’s just so rare for this part of the world.  As Hector has told me many times, he used to go to at least once a week back when he lived in NYC.  This is why I’m grateful for places like Sid Mashburn and The Bloke, who are able to represent classic menswear in such a casual city and take it upon themselves to host parties like this. And man, I couldn’t ask for more.

Being at Sid seemed like what I should be aspiring to achieve. Filled to the max with presumably influential/industry people.  It was cool getting to hang with greats like Rob Spangle and Khaled Nasr, as well as to simply high-five Sid Mashburn himself.  However, I will always have a soft spot for our more intimate gatherings at The Bloke. It’s local and accessible to more of my friends, who will always be a driving force behind why I do what I do. Plus, I’m just a dorky nerd on the inside and outside!  With that said, it was amazing to see Matt Hranek in action, because he was able to go between both parties with such ease. It’s admirable really and something I definitely aspire to be one day, if not then to simply have a facet of it in my life.  Perhaps that’s yet another reason to start and finish that zine…

Anyway, I couldn’t have asked for a better menswear-filled weekend. So many cool people (both new and old) and a lot of pictures. As fall continues, I certainly hope that there will be more occasions for menswear that I’ll be able to cover and share with you guys.  Plus it would also be nice to dress for something other than work for once.

Always a pleasure,

@ethanmwong

6 comments

  1. David · September 30

    I go back and forth about Matt Hranek. Sometimes his aura is a bit boozy for me but I can’t deny his taste and talent. I used to follow his Instagram but stopped a few years ago after it felt repetitive. I do follow his wife’s Yolo Journal instagram which is great and I ordered both of their latest magazines from Sid Mashburn this past summer.

    I am bummed that I never got out to the Bloke before I moved away from Southern California last year. It looks like a great store and I wish I could order more stuff via their online shop. I remember visiting that shopping center a few years prior and am glad a cool store opened there. I hope they get enough traffic to survive.

    I love the Mashburn’s and have visited both their Dallas and Houston stores now that I live in Texas. Also stopped by the Brentwood store shortly after it opened a few years back. I do remember the first time I went into a Sid Mashburn store thinking “this feels like a high-end J. Crew” which is understandable considering Sid used to design for them, so there is a similar aesthetic. I think they are doing it right by having a roving pop-up in cities around the U.S. where they don’t have stores.

    Like

    • Ethan M. Wong · September 30

      I understand that sentiment and honestly, I was wary of that until I met him in person. It certainly is much different than my typical crowd and friends (like the Gooch Bros. for instance), but I had great fun despite all that. He really makes everyone feel great!

      I also hope that The Bloke is able to survive. Do you happen to know what you’d want? I can always pass it along; I know their social media can be a bit hard to contact as well.

      Sid definitely felt like upscale J. Crew in vibe the first time I went! Of course the difference in quality is miles apart.

      Like

      • David · October 1

        I want it all, Ethan. I want it all. ;-P

        Like

  2. Sam de Groot · October 10

    I don’t know, man. He might be nice, but the public persona of booze, meat and watches is tacky machismo in the extreme. I seriously wondered if it was a parody when I first saw his IG account!

    Like

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