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The Fashion Geek Podcast

77 | The Jazz Age Lawn Party

In this episode of The Fashion Geek Podcast, host Reginald Ferguson, a fashion consultant from New York City, shares his experience attending the Jazz Age Lawn Party at Governors Island in New York City. He provides insights into the event, which celebrates 1920s fashion and culture. He reflects on his initial concerns about fitting in and describes how he prepared his outfit to reflect the era accurately, including wearing a seersucker suit, vintage tie, and, notably, a boater hat provided by his hostess, Nina Urban.
Reg recounts the sense of community and fellowship among attendees, the diversity of people, and the authenticity that came through his clothing choices. He also highlights the role of vendors and the event’s founder, Michael Arenella, in making the party a significant cultural movement. He encourages listeners to consider participating in such themed events and emphasizes the enjoyment and satisfaction derived from dressing up in vintage attire. Throughout the episode, he raises questions about vintage fashion's appeal and expresses curiosity about future participation in similar events.

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00:00 Introduction to Fashion Geek Podcast
00:40 Exploring Vintage Clothing
01:37 Jazz Age Lawn Party Experience
03:30 Preparing the Perfect Outfit
08:04 The Boulder Hat Story
12:33 Arriving at Governor's Island
15:08 Reflecting on the Event
17:06 Conclusion and Future Plans

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Reginald Ferguson [00:00:00]: I'm Reg Ferguson and I'm a fashion consultant from New York City, born and raised. I've been helping men look fly for years. And now, I wanna help you learn more about menswear, the entrepreneurs, the brands, and top fashion tips on The Fashion Geek Podcast. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:23]: Yo. What is up? This is Reg Ferguson, fashion geek number 1. How are you? Welcome to the ride. It's been a minute, but I have something that I wanna share with you. Ladies and gentlemen, how do you feel about vintage clothing? Now, you know, we've had Ethan Wong appear in the spot and that's his steez. And he's shown a a transformation from how he started to where he is now, particularly more classic menswear to now workwear. But I'm curious to know how you feel about it overall. And the reason why I'm bringing it up is when you've lived a certain amount of life, heck, your college clothes become vintage. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:16]: But what about if you're reflecting a very specific point of time like Ethan has done. I'm posing this question because I was fortunate enough and I wanna give a big shout out to Nina Urban of the National Arts Club. I had an opportunity to go to the jazz age lawn party at Governors Island here in New York City. I'd heard about it. I have seen it from afar. But to be candid, I never thought it was my steez. Why? Because I'm not an aficionado like Ethan or these New Yorkers who have made this thing, I believe 16 years later, such a cultural movement. So for those of you who don't know about this event, it was the first time it occurred since 2020, I believe due to COVID, obviously. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:22]: It started small. It's not small anymore. And I'm gonna break that down for you. But essentially, it's reflecting the 1920s and the Jazz Age era. Gatsby Prohibition. A very distinct time in America. And if we reflect culturally, it's represented by the clothing. And it's it's a cool Steez. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:50]: Right? You know, flapper dresses, bucks, boaters. We're gonna talk about boaters. So, again, I was aware of this event, kind of, sorta. I would see something about it. But to be honest, I just looked at it from afar. I was like, oh, those crazy kids. That's not me. I'm the reg. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:18]: But I was invited this year and though I was so flattered and also excited, to attend, I immediately had some concerns. And the number one was I wanted to make sure that I reflected the error. I didn't want to look like some outsider. I wanted to be part of the mix. And I explained that to Nina because I was concerned. I wanted to make sure that I was very complimentary to whatever her look was. And I said, hey, I don't have any vintage stuff. I'm not really a vintage guy. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:56]: Again, excluding anything as we know starts from 20 years out. Right? So, yes, I have fortunately clothing representing 20 years out because I haven't really changed drastically in size. Thank God. Thank you, family DNA. So anyway, she said, do you have a seersucker suit? And I said, of course. She said, well, you're in. And that's how it began. So, but I also wanted to attempt to make sure that everything I wore really reflected the error accurately. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:36]: Did I have literally any item from that year, so to speak, that that time period? No. But it didn't mean that I couldn't represent properly. So I figured, alright, seersucker, great foundation. And if you've heard one of my earlier episodes with Tiff, when she and I had a co hosted pod here, I've told my story, I believe, about seersucker and my late grandmother. God rest her and God bless her. So, anyway, I said to myself, seersucker suit, check. What else would I do? Well, I figured it would be nice to wear some cufflinks for a change. I don't wear them often enough. Reginald Ferguson [00:05:24]: So French cuff shirt, standard points with because I still haven't released them yet, everybody, with my New York Fashion Geek exclusive cufflinks. Cufflinks. They're lovely. They're enamel. When I really make them official, I hope you caught them. So that was one part. And then I thought of a tie and I was fortunate enough that last year I bought a vintage tie from Crowley Vintage out in Dumbo, and it's a Turmbo and Asser. It is a polka dot tie. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:05]: It is a blue background with, navy blue background with red polka dots. I'm very fond of polka dots. So and because it's a vintage tie, I felt, hey, slips right in, reflects the steez. A worn nice brown belt and I wore some nice brown cap toe oxfords. I also, unbeknownst to Nina, I scoured the web for a vest because I realized I didn't have the appropriate cotton vest that at the time I thought I would need because I was checking out the weather at least a week ahead and it was supposed to rain. And I was like, you know, better safe than sorry. I'd like to have a cotton layer via vest. And if I had to take it off, I'd take it off. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:57]: And I realized I didn't have the shade that was really appropriate. The seersucker suit I have is a cornflower blue and white, very standard. So I wanted a certain type of blue that would offset that. So I went on eBay probably for an hour or so and I found it. I found what I wanted and I asked the seller politely. This was a Saturday or Sunday that I made the purchase and I just asked him, hey, can you send it out on Monday? Because I need it for the weekend. And, he was happy too. And I was happy that he was willing to. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:40]: So I had a nice cotton rib vest that, you know, one could argue was an accessory. But I don't wanna bury the re the lead. Pardon me. The true accessory was Nina providing me with a boulder. And I couldn't be more thankful and she doesn't even know my history with boaters, nor do you. So here it goes. I started wanting a boater, I believe, at around college age. I just felt like it was such a distinct look for a summer hat. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:22]: It's straw. It's a beautiful ribbon, gross grain. It could be solid. It could be striped. And I just felt, man, that's a cool summer steez. And I thought about it, but I just never did anything. And I don't know if I knew any vendor options at the time. And then fast forward, big shout out to my buddy David Gandy of Echorist. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:51]: And he and I were at the dance Africa Street Festival at BAM, Brooklyn Academy of Music. And a few years ago, pre COVID, we saw a vendor, an old school cat, who essentially was selling hats. He was a haver. And we saw some vintage joints. He had a nice, grim joint that both David and I liked. But then I saw his boulder. This boulder looked like it was pretty old, but it was dope. I tried it on and I think it fit, but I just said to myself, gosh, between the boater and this this brim hat can't remember what style of brim had. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:35]: I just said, if I bought 1 or both of these hats, I'm never gonna wear them. I don't really wear hats that much. I have hats. I have a fedora. I have a cowboy hat, a Stetson, silver belly. At baseball caps because I rock those a lot when I was a kid, and then I kinda had a renaissance as an adult. But ladies and gentlemen, because of the context of my hair, I have curly hair and I have a fro. I get hat hit immediately when I put on a skimmer. Reginald Ferguson [00:10:14]: It's bad. And I just that's why I'm kind of not willing to wear caps and hats consistently regularly. So anyway, I never gathered at Bam. I just it was like, and then what was funny, later on that day, David and I saw a woman who picked up that boater and immediately tried it on, wore it, and she had like short shorts and a top. And ladies and gentlemen, I think that's what ladies do extremely well. I felt those were really 2 disparate styles and she made them work. She had the hat just so I was like, don't call. Like, I couldn't have done that. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:04]: How'd she do that? That's so cool. And, it worked. Right? 2 different styles, 2 different eras, one could argue, and pow. So I'm glad that she made the purchase. So getting back to the party when Nina offered this, I was you could knock me over because I've won on 1 for so long and I never did anything about it. And she did. And I am forever in her debt and overwhelmingly thankful. Ladies and gentlemen, when I put that hat on and change the game, I'm just saying it just pun intended. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:48]: It capped off the outfit. It just made everything come together and it slapped hard. It just went kapow. And as a result, I think also just because we're very complimentary in our reflective steezers. Photographers, professional ones, semi professional, or a person just with a phone and an idea, took a lot of shots. And for me, for a first timer, that was really cool. And also to share that experience, you know, with my hostess was exceptionally cool. So let me tell you how this thing works. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:33]: You take the ferry to Governors Island. I have never been to Governors Island, at least not in my adult age. I almost went when it kinda got revamped, but it was a rain out, so we didn't go. We were gonna go to a bar, me and my a buddy of mine. Big shout out to Blaise Menciers, who has the Let's Get Lit pound, podcast. But anyway, yeah. I'd never had been There's a ferry across town from where I live. I live in Cowell Gardens. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:03]: The ferry's in Red Hook. It's walking distance. And you come to find out when you get on the ferry to Governors Island, it's the equivalent of being across the street just by water. 5 minutes, maybe 7 minutes. It was so effortless. I couldn't believe it. I had no idea. I thought it was, like, 45 minutes or something. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:26]: I was totally off base. Wrong. So anyway, you get off. And even even when you're awaiting the ferry at the dock, you see, you see your kindred. You see individuals also with a very specific outfit on. And you know that you're going to the same place. So I met Nina. She was on a subsequent ferry, and we're walking down the the street, I guess you could say, the grounds of Governors Island. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:06]: And then ladies and gentlemen, you see it. You see in front of you 100, if not a1000 people in a very specific era of clothing. And for me, when I first saw it, I just felt like I've stumbled onto the background extra set for a movie because it's just so specific. But then I realized, hey. I'm part of this. I'm I'm gonna be I'm gonna be a part of this community. And as hopefully you hear just through your ears, it made me smile because I said, I'm down. Like, let's let's do this. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:57]: And I had an incredible guide, someone who had gone to this event repeatedly. So she knew the lay of the land, and I just really followed her lead. It was really wonderful to put this to together as an outfit and to receive consistent significant compliments. Because I'm not that guy. I don't do this. I think what I enjoyed, like every piece of clothing I wear, it is my wardrobe. It's not a costume. And I think as a result, maybe that came through some type of authenticity. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:41]: And it was great to look at the diversity of people who reflected the stews. It was all colors of the rainbow in all ages, in all orientations. And in light of everything that's going on in the world, isn't that nice to have that moment of fellowship? I really enjoyed it. Also cool things, they literally had vendors that reflected the timing. And I'm here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the clothing stuff, that was really something, but I knew, man, that's a rabbit hole, and it's an expensive one. So I'm gonna keep it on the low. I'm slowly planning an outfit for next year for an invitation. And Ethan, if you're listening, I may have to pick your brain, bro. Reginald Ferguson [00:16:50]: But ladies and gentlemen, I think, I think I have plenty time to accumulate an entirely different steeds that is reflective of the time that will hit hard and make an impression. So what does this mean? Am I in? Is this a new community for me? Will I start figuring out others? I don't know. But what I do know is it's not that difficult to do something like this. And I think if you have a fashion background or just just a passion, you're going to fit right in. And you can do it inexpensively. And you can do it effectively. No. Am I going to literally find items from the twenties? First of all, Ethan will tell you that's difficult. Reginald Ferguson [00:17:42]: It's not impossible, but it's difficult. And I think I'm not sure about the the vendors, the clothing vendors. I don't know if that's a direct source or it's contemporary tailoring reflecting a vintage era, I'm not certain. And the stuff looked dope. There's no question. And big ups to Michael Aronella who started this movement, and now it is a cottage industry for him. And he looked fly. No question. Reginald Ferguson [00:18:16]: So what would you do? Would you like to join something like this? Have you ever done something like this? You know how to find me. You can hit me up on the Insta, email. I didn't know I had it in me. But for the jazz age 19 twenties, I was fly. And for all of you, always be fly.
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