Mr. Throwback feat. Arga Yudhistira

June 9th, 2014

We’ve said it time and time again: you don’t need a lot of money to dress with style!

Like our in-house thrifting expert Westley our friend Arga Yudhistira – who first recognized Alex and I in the streets of downtown LA – is an expert in the art of vintage shopping. The co-founder of Vintage Manifesto is also a historian of sorts, who appreciates the origin and backstory of his hand-selected pieces as much as their throwback appeal.

“I’m Arga Yudhistira, I work as a creative director by day and I fill the role of co-founder of Vintage Manifesto at any other time possible… Embracing my Indonesian roots, I always considered clothing as much art as functionality.

Growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles with a single parent, we didn’t have much income…to be brutally honest. Back then, I was often left with the choice of either spending whatever change I had on daily necessities, or on clothes. Naturally, you can guess which one I usually chose – the struggle to stay fresh… I’m sure many guys out there can relate.

After high school I moved to Pasadena where inspirations flow abundantly throughout the city. From the architecture, the Rose Bowl, the Art Center Campus…I couldn’t resist the fact that I was destined to pursue art and fashion. It may sound very cliché, but if you do what you love, then it doesn’t feel like work at all.”

Here the purveyor of vintage clothing gives us a taste of his day to day style; one part throwback gentleman, one part super-thrifty shopper.

1. Varsity Chain Gang


“I always considered myself as someone with style, but I never felt truly confident that the fast-fashion I was often wearing was true to what I believed in… Then it all changed when VM came to life. With the words vintage and heritage in mind, I invested my energy in researching menswear history… In my opinion, every piece of clothing must have a history as to why it was made in the first place… It almost always comes back to functionality or social position.

Of course, it’s not about costume dressing. I still infuse a touch of contemporary in my looks every now and then. You have to make it your own and add some personality.

The beauty of vintage shopping is that, at any given moment, you can stumble upon the deal of lifetime. For example, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first this varsity jacket for $13. Literally I didn’t have my glasses on at the time, but I spotted it from far away. Though I invested the extra $50 for leather restoration, it’s still considered a robbery by today’s quality standards.”




2. Pay It Forward


“My style speaks to my work and my character… As Dan always says, providing inspiration for others can be very rewarding. More importantly, though, I think you need to keep yourself inspired.

As a vintage collector, I’m not trying to out-style anybody. I’m in it for the love of menswear and to learn from others in the game. No one can possibly cover every aspect of fashion styling… A denim expert has something to learn from a suit tailor. A hat maker has something to learn from a shoe cobbler. We are in this together. It’s what makes style exciting and relevant; the stories behind the men behind the pieces.”

In this look Arga highlights some great items to look for in your local vintage shops: one-0ff waistcoats, navajo jewelry, workwear trousers (that you can easily cut into shorts), deadstock sunglasses, handmade bags, etc.




3. Modernized Old-School


Arga often straddles the line of looking old-school inspired to looking straight-up like he stepped out of the Delorean. The secret is that he always modernizes his look with at least one-piece that is more contemporary (like the sockless oxfords in look 2 or the designer shades here).

That said, I’m really feeling the vibe of the wide-legged trousers (I can’t wait for me truly full-cut bespoke suits to arrive) and the other-worldly shape of that textured waistcoat.

And the best part is, almost all of these pieces were purchased on a strict budget (saving a few bucks for alterations at the tailor, of course).


4) Any advice for our readers who are looking to upgrade their style?

“Study the past. Historically, men from past generations put more effort into dressing-up. Look at old pictures, read history articles, watch black & white Hollywood movies, etc. Recently, I made a trip to Chimayo village in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There I discovered this peaceful vibe, in the land where the locals stayed true to their heritage in manufacturing native weaving jackets, vests, bags, etc.

Sometimes it’s not an upgrade that you need, it’s a new discovery.”




Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Articles of Style

Photography by Alex Crawford 

  • theone

    jet li look-a-alike

  • Unseen Flirtations

    Yet another top-drawer post! Special mention for:
    …The subtle flamboyance of these eyewear choices *clapclapclap*
    …The audaciously casual denim roll-up and wingtip combo *murmured applause*
    …The perfectly balanced cuffs on those full cut trousers *clapclapclap*
    …And finally, the outrageous low pointed lapels on that old timey waistcoat. *roaring standing ovation, upturned tables, whooping, etc*

    Inspiring post, great ensembles. Thanks!

  • Marlon DeNon

    Absolutely sensational article on my good friend Mr. Arga Yudhistira!
    This gentleman really knows his craft and I’ve learned so much from him. His attention to detail is 2nd to none and his personality brings his style to life. You truly have to spend time around this gentleman to really get a feel of just how genuine his is & witnessing his style in person is a must.
    Kudos on a wonderful article Dan

  • Derrick Montiel

    Yes that is a San Marino has varsity jacket!

  • Derrick

    Pasadena reprsenting!!! I know exactly where these pictures where taken! Wish I could’ve walked over to see this shoot happen!

    • Arga Yudhistira

      Great to see local support. One of these days, we’ll run into each other sooner than later.

  • kenjiayomain

    Greetings from Indonesia!

    • Arga Yudhistira

      Apa kabar bang? ( translation: How are ya bro? ) TSBmen game is always international. All love!

      • kenjiayomain

        Halo bang! So happy to see a gentleman of Indonesia being featured on this blog. Salam hangat dari kami di sini! (Warm greetings from all of us here!)

  • LouCaves

    Great post.

    Sometimes I have an issue with the word vintage though. Can someone clarify when to use that word versus, “it’s just second-hand, bro.” Lol

    Heritage. I think it is very cool when you’re able to give a story about a piece of clothing, or anything for that matter. Especially to some of these youngbloods who are unaware of the foundation previous generations of stylish men have built.

    Again, great post.

    Thanks, TSB.

    • ARGA

      So glad you brought it up and thanks for the kind words. Take Etsy for example, they classify VINTAGE item as being at least 20 years old. But often, anything over 15 years, with showing a shift of past style – that works too. If you see the original patch on the varsity jacket, that’s nearing 40th anniversary.

  • Gazman

    Well done, TSB. These posts are good as no one else on the web are doing same. I would much rather read about ordinary people than the nephew of a wealthy Italian industrialist or a Hollywood actor any day.

  • mligon

    Look #1, so fresh! Never considered getting a varsity jacket but now I’m rethinking it. The brown leathers (belt, shoes), the vintage denim jeans, the vintage varsity jacket – look #1 is superb in it’s simplicity.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Outfit Selfies in the comments?? I like it. This could spark a whole new debate…

    • ARGA

      Truly appreciated! Good luck on your hunt for that perfect varsity. It’s all in the details. The type of collar, ribbing, cuff, leather trim, etc. Also agreed with Dan, Outfit Selfies – they can get wild.

  • Todd Ruhnau

    I really like the idea of researching your vintage pieces and finding out the history behind them. It feels more true when you can talk about the meaning behind the pieces you wear. Some of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe are either passed down to me from family members or have a specific story to go along with them. All of Arga’s shoes in this feature are perfect!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Todd. I hope all is well. We have a couple awesome pieces coming up on the history of staple menswear pieces, and traditions that have continued long past their desired intent… Stay tuned!

    • ARGA

      @toddruhnau:disqus Absolutely. The stories bring confidence as well. Appreciated the shoe comment.

  • Ryan

    I’m trying to find this item in look #3: Watch by Rolex – vintage oyster datejust. Was it stolen while standing on the train platform?

    • Dan Trepanier

      We didn’t use any of the photos with the watch. Apologies for the confusion, and thanks for reading!

    • ARGA

      @Ryan As Dan said it, my apologies as well. I left the watch in my bag. A beautiful timepiece, oyster perpetual date just. Wished it could’ve made it in the shots, but hey it is what it is. It’s life, we keep real.

      • Ryan

        No worries at all. As a vintage Rolex owner myself, I am looking forward to seeing it at some point in the future!

  • Steven

    This is one of my fave posts, not just because I am from the area, but these gentleman are truly gentleman!

    I have seen them around the area before (their friend Sir Marlon needs a feature ASAP), and they are some of the most approachable and nicest peeps I have met. I found VM online a year and a half ago and emailed asking about local tailors. Arga got back to me quickly and was very nice and helpful. Arga and his guys are a class act! They also have a local “Tweed Night” in DTLA and they go bar hopping. It looks pretty fantastic.

    Big fan, keep it up fellas!

    • Dan Trepanier

      We only feature the finest gents! The person is as important as the style. Cheers mate.

      • Marlon DeNon

        Wonderful article good sir!

    • Marlon DeNon

      Thanks for the kind words my friend!
      I really appreciate the mention!

  • Shawn

    I can feel his looks, and I especially love the 3rd! The basket weave loafers are pretty awesome too, and what to say about the low-cut vest? He seems like a very nice chap!

    • Dan Trepanier


    • ARGA

      It’s always rewarding when someone feels your style. So thank you.

  • Eric

    That Santa Margarita varsity jacket warms my heart. Way to pull that off.

    • Steven

      I believe it is actually San Marino high school, near Pasadena CA

      • Dan Trepanier

        That sounds about right.

      • ARGA

        Coming from a local. That’s correct!

  • TO

    Love the piece here by Mr. Yudhistira !!

    His writing I can relate to possibly the most of any other article. It seems we have similar views on different aspects of dressing.

    I love how it appears he seeks to continually create truly unique looks and his shopping experience (being forced to look in vintage, 2nd hand) has had a big influence on sparking his creativity.

    Starting as a student in a small town with (which I discovered actually pretty awesome) unshopped second-hand stores I can totally relate and really respect this guy and his views on style.

    The last look is amazing!! The vest is tops and the mix of old-world and modern is amazing. Though I still think it would look better with a smooth tapered leg, I respect the bold decision to go wide-leg though. Great stuff!!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks TO! Sorry I missed you back in Windsor. I’ll be in TO again in July meeting with some manufacturer’s for the new line ;)

      • TO

        No problem at all. Sounds awesome! If I can in any way assist with that project let me know;)

    • ARGA

      Thank you @disqus_UKforX3MlS:disqus – good to know you can relate. Appreciated. We definitely have to be creative under low budget. That kind of mentality becomes a mindset. By the way, I’ll have to try going tapered on that last look to see how it goes.

      • TO

        The ways you expressed that mentality in the article are some of the exact same ideas I have thought to myself! Pretty cool. Hope the tapering works out- awesome that you are open to it!

  • JBells

    “We are all in this together.”
    Great paragraph! Seems like it would be great to sit and have a conversation with Arga

    • ARGA

      Thank you. We’ll sit down and have that conversation someday.

  • JM

    There are quite a few spelling and grammatical errors throughout the piece. Might want to read through it carefully to spot them.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Finally had a minute to proof read. Only caught a couple small spelling issues. Did I miss something? Thanks for the assist.