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Classic Men: What It Is Like To Be A Male Vintage Fashion Enthusiast.

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of males who follow me and that they feel like I never pay attention to the male side vintage fashion. That’s because, well, I’m a woman. So I don’t know much about male fashion. I’ve also noticed that a lot of men shy away from dressing up because they feel like it somehow takes away from their masculinity.

I don’t know why some men feel like if they wear a nice button up white shirt and tailored slacks that women will just assume they’re not attracted to the opposite sex. I find it’s quite the contrary. Many women (including myself) appreciate when you take the time to dress up and take care of yourself. I spoke to two male vintage fashion enthusiasts, and I spoke to them about their experiences as male vintage fashion enthusiast as well as the fashion advice they had for males who are looking to step up their wardrobe game. 

Dandy Wellington

It has come to my attention that there are a lot of males who follow me and that they feel like I never pay attention to the male side vintage fashion. That’s because, well, I’m a woman. So I don’t know much about male fashion. I’ve also noticed that a lot of men shy away from dressing up because they feel like it somehow takes away from their masculinity.

“My love of vintage came from my mother. Growing up in Harlem, surrounded by Jazz, theater and tons of beautiful old things meant I always had a sense of vintage style. Icons like Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and Gene Kelly came into my life at an early age and served as strong inspiration. I wanted to perform like them, so I often thought about dressing like them even just a little bit. Years later, I started to really dress in Vintage Style and those early inspirations gain greater meaning. 

All of my friends have unique ways of dressing. Whether it’s inspired by the past or trends of today, sharing in style is a part of our friendship. We are nerds about something and that often informs how we dress. Everyone has a different reaction but I don’t really focus on it. I’m from New York where people come to be who they really are. Style is part of that.

My style is a mix of vintage items: modern pieces and custom garments. But when it comes to vintage, I tend to buy from specific dealers. Sean Crowley Vintage in New York, Bobby From Boston in Boston, and Richard's Fabulous Finds in Chicago. I think everyone appreciates styles from the past. It’s nostalgia. But yes, there are likely more Women or Female identifying people into vintage style. Men often appreciate it but don’t know how it applies to them. 

My experience in this community has been largely positive. But, regardless, I don’t generally tend to focus on negative things. Like many aspects of society the community has work to do but that is to be expected. There is incredible versatility for men in vintage. From sportswear to workwear, too casual separate a person can create any look at any level of formality they want. All in all, I don’t own that many suits, but I’ve been wearing vintage for over 10 years. It’s all about honing in on what inspires you and going from there. 

Everyone can have an interest in fashion and style. Gender has nothing to do with it. We all have to wear clothes, why not take pride in those clothes. It doesn’t need to be my style or anyone else’s but by choosing the clothes your wear everyday you’ve already made a style choice. You are already participating. Focus on what inspires you, your existing wardrobe and your lifestyle. These will provide clues to how you can practically incorporate vintage style into your life. Most of all, be patient. It takes time but you’ll figure it out. "

David Hermlin-Leder

“I grew up with swing music. My father was the leader of a big band that played the music of Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, and so on. He always wore ‘30s style bespoke suits. I have been working in music my whole life. At the age of 16, I was the official singer of a band. But I only had modern suits. I was thinking that if I want to play vintage style music with 100% authenticity, then I needed to wear vintage style suits. The first suits I bought were tailor made, and when I turned 18, I realized that those suits were not 100% authentic. So, I figured out that I could buy suits from the ’30s and ‘40s online. Now, it's kind of an addiction. I have a lot of stuff now. But I feel like there’s still more waiting for me. 

I wore vintage fashion while I was still in school. (Obviously.) People would see me wearing Air Jordans and snapbacks. But I also styled or slicked back my hair. There was never a negative comment. People were just surprised and pretty welcoming. There was one girl that saw me with my German ‘50s trench coat and said: ‘Sherlock Holmes!’ I never really get a really negative comment about my style. When I walk on the street, people stare and smile and even compliment me. 

I guess most men didn’t really care about their clothes like women do. I have many things from my favorite vintage shop here in Berlin called Glencheck. Over time, I think I bought like five hats and two suits. I buy most of my suits and shirts on eBay or Etsy. It's not easy for a normal buyer like me to find good German suits that are not black or navy blue. I mean, I understand why. (WW2.) 

Today, fashion is mostly associated with women. Which is kind of strange. Especially in the 1930s and 1940s. Fashion was for men and women. Back then, it was important to have a pressed suit with a nice colorful shirt, a cool tie, and shined shoes. For example, in Harlem, everybody looked like a million dollars. Those guys had the craziest suits colored in yellow or green. They had purple shirts. Somehow today people think that a man that dresses well he must be homosexual. 

I’m 6 feet tall. So it’s very hard to find vintage suits that fit me like a glove. Usually, I have to take off the cuffs and put on fake ones. It still looks good. But suits are getting very expensive now. Often, I just don’t understand how somebody could buy a suit for 1000$ just because it has a belted back. Last week, I saw a tweed suit for 800$! 

Once, I wore a short green sport jacket from the ‘40s with a ‘30s style polo shirt and my friends thought the outfit was from Zara. There are a lot of options. You can also just wear a pair of slacks and a sweater or a t-shirt. If it gets colder, I wear my leather jacket. But I must admit, I tend to wear suits most of the time. 

As I have mentioned before, today, most of the men do not like to dress up in a suit. A white shirt is considered to be too overdressed, and a suit with a nice boutonniere considered to be too feminine. It's really strange to me In my opinion. A suit makes me feel confident. The whole idea of ‘men have to be men’ is pretty stupid. What makes you a man? As soon as you wear a suit with slicked hair you are not a real man anymore? There are also many people in the vintage community that say that the real men were in the first half of the 20th Century. This is also pretty stupid. (But that’s just my humble opinion.) To this, I answer: ‘Vintage fashion and not vintage values!’

The most important part of 1930s and 1940s clothing is wearing high-waisted trousers. I wear mine above the waist. But you can also wear them on your waist.  It just makes your legs longer. Those vintage suits make your body look more portioned. If you shop online, you should know your measurements. If the trousers are like 1 or 2 inches too short but there's a cuff and some extra fabric then you can just go to your tailor. He will make you a fake cuff. It does not matter what others think about your style. You’re most likely more stylish than most of the people who criticize you."