Put This On: How to Dress Like a Grownup

Jesse Thorn Put This On2

Your dress isn't just about yourself, it's about your respect for the others around you.

Jesse Thorn, Put This On

Jesse Thorn is a public radio host, the founder of MaximumFun.org, the bailiff on the comedy podcast Judge John Hodgman, and the genius creator of Put This On – a popular site and Web video series for men about dressing like a grownup. Among the sartorial mysteries he solves for men on Put This On are what you need to know about business casual basics, white shirts vs. blue shirts, what to wear to a summer wedding and hats for non-douches.

Jesse will be launching season two of Put This On this spring, with episodes shot in New York, London and Milan - the cities his viewers chose as the capitals of men's style. Jane Pratt of xoJane also named Jesse as one of her favorite finds in the SAY 100 style channel. A native of San Francisco's Mission District, Jesse is fast becoming a new media force in L.A.

Just in time for New York Fashion Week, we checked in with Jesse about his favorite style finds of the moment, his essential style tips for men and his all-time favorite places to shop.

You've always got fresh ideas for men's style. Where do you go for inspiration? When I'm worn out, I like to go to the thrift store. There's something about the fact that anything I find that I like I can have that's exciting to me. And that you never know what you'll find. I'm completely comfortable with coming home with nothing, but sometimes there's something totally amazing.

In terms of media, I read about a billion menswear blogs. I really like the ones with strong points of view. Heavy Tweed Jacket is a favorite of mine, though the author keeps taking it down for long stretches of time. I like An Affordable Wardrobe, about thrifting. My colleague Derek Guy's blog Die, Workwear! is great, too. I think Graeme from Most Exerent might be the best-dressed guy in blogdom.

I also love to read old copies of Apparel Arts magazine. It was a trade publication for the menswear business in the 1930s and 40s, and has tons of beautiful illustrations from the greatest era of menswear. Fabric swatches, even, if you can find a copy where they haven't fallen out.

What are your favorite men's style items of the moment? I bought a few lengths of Donegal tweed from Molloy & Sons in Donegal, in the Northwest of Ireland. I had one made into a suit, and once my bank account rebalances, the other two will become sportcoats. I wore the suit a lot when we were traveling, shooting season two of Put This On. The mill is a father and son operation - they're hoping to hire some more folks soon, but for now it's just them. They're operating their father/grandfather's equipment from the 60s and 70s in an outbuilding of their house.  

What other men's style voices do you admire? Who's doing it right? I love G. Bruce Boyer. Will Boehlke from A Suitable Wardrobe. John Tinseth from The Trad.

What are your all-time favorite places to shop? If I had all the money in the world, I'd say London. Right around Mayfair, Savile Row, Old Bond, the Picadilly & Burlington Arcades, I could do some serious damage.

I don't have all the money in the world, though.

My favorite places to shop are probably my favorite thrift shops in San Francisco. My favorite store in the States is probably Bobby From Boston, which is the best men's vintage store I've ever been to, by about a million miles.

You're a champion of New Sincerity – how do you see that reflected in men's style? Especially in a creative context, you can't be afraid to be a little larger-than-life. If you can be a little ridiculous, but still elegant, like Andre 3000 or Hamish Bowles, I think you're a real New Sincerity style hero.

How has being a father changed your sense of style – at least so far? I'm not the kind of guy who's precious about his clothes. I wear my clothes. I try to hold my son facing outwards if he just ate and I have the option, but besides that, I'm just living my life. He's an awesome kid. 

What are your essential 3 style tips for the men reading this? 1. It's always better to be a little bit overdressed than a little bit underdressed. 2. There's nothing wrong with caring about aesthetics. 3. Remember that your dress isn't just about yourself, it's about your respect for the others around you.

Follow Jesse on Twitter @jessethorn and @putthison

[Photo credit: Noe Montes]

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