The notion of vintage shopping in the realm of menswear comes with connotations of heavy surplus pea coats, beat-up Red Wing boots or thick Pendleton flannels. Come summertime, there's still plenty of great old finds to be had. According to Brian Davis, the online vintage dealer from Wooden Sleepers, it's a prime time for guys to get some unique, lightweight pieces to round out any warm-weather wardrobe.
"Cotton is all I want to wear now," he says as he shows me a vintage Gant Baseball Jacket (shown right) with arm vents. The cream color is very versatile and I could see myself wearing it with a pair of jeans, cuffed chinos or shorts.
Old T-shirts have long been a vintage standard. While the graphic tee has fallen a bit out of favor, I don't see anything wrong with a cool surf shirt. Brian has one emblazoned with the graphic "Surf Ohio," (left) which has a really interesting story behind it: a graphic designer came up with the campaign for a Beach Boys concert in 1976.
Patterns are also making a comeback in a big way, and Davis is quick to point out that plenty of brands are simply going back to their roots. "A couple of brands are doing it now and it's great, but the vintage ones are absurd in the best possible way," he says, referring to a short-sleeve button down shirt with an all-over boat print (above).
Accessories like hats and well-worn canvas sneakers can also make great buys. Some of Davis' favorites include a vented seersucker bucket hat (left) and a pair of canvas sneakers from the Italian army (right). Personally, one of my recent favorite vintage finds was a pair of made-in-USA Chuck Taylors. They feel a lot sturdier than the current versions. The sole is more substantial, and the canvas just seems more durable. It's a sentiment both Brian and I share.
"If you can have the original, I think that's the way to go because it's got an authenticity," he says.
"It's got that feel, the construction that you're not going to find without going to the source material."