A Friend in Tweed: Bowties and Crumpets for the Serious Vintage Set

  • New Yorkers may be known for seeking out what’s new and what’s next, but there’s a small, vocal group that prefers to slow down and look back. Two Sundays ago, Bowties and Crumpets, an event put on by Big Apple Tweed, transformed the Park Slope restaurant Flatbush Farm into a scene straight out of another era. Guests tapped their feet and danced as Dandy Wellington and His Band played standards and lesser-known tunes from the 1920s and ’30s. Tea and crumpets were served. Judges selected the Most Tweed Spirited Lass and Lad, Best Accessory, Most Distinguished Chap, Most Ravishing Lass, Most Breathtaking Accessory, Uniquely New York and even Tweed Baby. Donations from the event (a $20 door charge, raffle tickets) went to help school children in the tornado-ravaged areas of Oklahoma.

    Big Apple Tweed started Bowties and Crumpets three years ago with a “tweed ride,” a bike ride for those committed to, as founder Eka Take put it, “biking fashionably,” in vintage and British-inspired outfits. A bike was among the prizes awarded at Flatbush Farm, in addition to hats from Goorin Brothers, pocket squares from Hell’s Kitchen’s Fine and Dandy Shop and ties from Ron & Ron Tweed. So far the group has done three events.

    But the modest crowd seemed far more motivated by fashion than cycling. “It’s not really trend driven, it’s style driven,” said Corey Miller of his vintage-inspired made-to-measure clothing line. Mr. Miller came with his acupuncturist wife Juliet Aiyana and son Nathaniel, 5. Ms. Aiyana has long gravitated to vintage clothing, with some detours on the way to her current 40s-influenced style. “I was collecting vintage when I was in my teens, and then I got into punk/hardcore in my twenties, and as I’ve gotten older and become a mother I really wanted to dress more elegantly again.” Neither of them are big bikers, but they said they’d give the next tweed ride a try.

    Bandleader and singer Dandy Wellington said he sees New York’s growing vintage scene as part of a wider nationwide shift toward the old, with the popularity of mixology and speakeasies dovetailing perfectly with period films like De-Lovely and Gosford Park and shows like Downton Abbey and Mad Men. But New York is ideal for his tweedy set, said Ms. Take. “It’s the perfect place for marrying the old and the new.”