Student Life

Vintage Style
Five minutes with Sean Toomey ’24

By Rachel Kamphaus ’25 / November–December 2023
November 8th, 2023
Image of Sean Toomey sitting on a bench on campus dressed in a vintage flannel suit.
Vintage drip: Evan Picone flannel suit, tattersall shirt, Brooks Brothers foulard tie. With J. Crew socks. Photo: David DelPoio

I have an affinity—an obsession, really—with men’s clothing probably from the 1920s to the ’60s. I think I appreciate the whole spectrum of it. 

I always had like, at least attempts to have a personal style. I was never one to just throw on, like, pajamas and go out places—which I think is a little disingenuous because pajamas are comfy—but I always just wanted to look like me, however that would come out like. 

I got into vintage clothing per se once I met my fiancé, who is also really big into thrifting and vintage, and he sort of put me down the path. And when I get into a topic, I get really into it. So I’ll do research and try to become as much of an expert as fast as I can.

In Providence, a lot of the vintage places don’t carry what I want. So I was primarily looking at Ebay and online—you can get a lot of really interesting stuff for good prices there. But I was in Boston over the summer, and me and my fiancé, we went to a lot of Goodwills, we found a lot of cool stuff.

Online, the two best pieces I’ve ever found are, I think, like a vintage 1960s Aquascutum camel hair coat, which was my go-to winter coat like all of last year—kinda still is really. And then, this, I can’t really place it, maybe ’90s houndstooth cashmere blazer. 

I was studying abroad in Italy last semester. My very first purchase—at least my first purchase that wasn’t food—was this giant, double-breasted, alpaca-hair overcoat. I spent all the physical cash I had at the time on that. 

I think the most important piece of advice I can give is just dress yourself. Dressing comfortable is a secret to success because, like, if you want to express yourself in the clothes you want to wear, you have to express yourself as yourself and look like you live in your clothes. Sometimes I’m like, “Oh, I’m not dressing like me.” I’m always a little paranoid about what I actually have.

Go-to guys
I read a lot of menswear blogs. I think Derek Guy @dieworkwear on Twitter is hilarious, he’s become the go-to menswear guy on Twitter. Permanent Style is good, that’s more geared toward custom clothing, which is out of my budget range, but I still think the lessons apply. Put This On is fun. And if, like, a reader of this is really wanting to get into vintage fashion,  I think Ethan Wong of a is also a really good resource. 

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Related Issue
November–December 2023