Second-Hand Dandy feat. Jesse Thorn

July 8th, 2015

If you keep up with menswear blogs, chances are you’ve come across Put This On. Founder Jesse Thorn is considered an expert in many things, including scoring big discounts on quality menswear and foreseeing the next wave(s) of new media. He was one of the first guys in the clothes blogging game (PTO was founded in 2006), as well as the booming world of podcasts, of which he now manages about 20 shows under his network

Jesse understands good content. When it comes to menswear advice, he’s less interested in “fashion” and more interested in helping his readers score great deals on garments that are made with integrity. Often times they even do the searching for you, by way of their intensive eBay round-ups which Jesse still pulls together himself using a list of saved searches that he’s been developing for almost a decade.

“Put This On started years ago as a video project. My friend Adam Lisagor and I were hanging out at the dog park a lot, and he’s a brilliant filmmaker. I’d always wanted to do something about clothes, but didn’t think audio was the medium, and didn’t have the production skills to make great video. I pitched it to Adam, and we ended up make a series of six long-ish form videos. I started the blog as a sort of compliment to that, but it immediately took off much more than I ever expected. I think people were (and are) really hungry for an inclusive, fun, smart look at clothes. We’re not really a how-to, not really fashion. We try to be practical, thoughtful, and pleasant.”

Last week we caught up with Jesse at his recording studio in Los Angeles to learn a little more about his story and take a look at what he puts on.

    Italian Tailoring for the Low


    “I grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco. These days it’s sort of tech central – Mark Zuckerberg lives there. It was very different when I was a kid. A vibrant, mostly Latino neighborhood. There were rough and scary things about it sometimes, but I would never choose to have grown up anywhere else.

    My mother has my first style influence. She has incredible taste in almost anything – she’s been at least a part-time antiques dealer for most of her life, she was a weaver, a textile conservator, a college professor, had a store in Washington DC, made clothes for Miles Davis. She’s quite literally an intellectual and a very practical person, but she really values the aesthetic and loves clothes.”


    “The navy blazer is Cantarelli – I bought it on eBay for like $40. It’s really open-weave wool, with almost no lining, so it works great for LA. The shirt is by my friend Carl Goldberg of CEGO shirts in New York. I started a custom shirt wardrobe when I hosted a TV show and they let me choose how to spend the wardrobe budget. It’s a really pretty blue linen with a little bit of white slub in it. I hate summer weather but I live in LA, so I have to deal with owning summer clothes. The pants are also Italian – Satoria Castangia. Bought those second hand, too, maybe $40, and they’re very breathable and go well with a lightweight blazer. The belt is an old alligator – I think my mom bought it at an estate sale.

    The shoes are Florsheims, pebble-grain, I got them on eBay. Used to be easier to buy those there, they’ve gotten more expensive. The tie is Drake’s, it was a gift from my friend Matt who runs LuxeSwap – I consign a lot of stuff with him (and buy a lot from him, too). The pocket square I grabbed out of our closet full of Put This On pocket squares – it’s made of old, probably 50s or 60s bleeding Madras, but in pretty muted colors. And I’m wearing a little scarab in my lapel – a stickpin probably from the Edwardian era or so. I really like stickpins, because I love jewelry but feel silly wearing it. We’re about to relaunch our store, and there’s going to be a pretty good amount of nice vintage accessories and jewelry. I probably bought the scarab at a vintage show or something.”


    • Navy blazer by Cantarelli
    • Linen shirt by CEGO
    • Trousers by Satoria Castangia
    • Alligator belt Vintage
    • Pebble grain wingtips by Florsheim
    • Tie by Drake’s
    • Pocket square by Put This On

    Cultural Garment Mash-Up


    “As a little kid I wore some ridiculous and crazy stuff, influenced in no small part by my mom. Usually topped off with a Giants hat. I wore mostly streetwear through college, though there were occasions when my eccentricity or what my friend Rebekah used to call “fancy Jesse” would show a little. I’ve always worn a lot of vintage and thrift store stuff.

    Basically as a young adult, especially like middle school, early high school, I sort of had to dress to be inconspicuous in the neighborhood – not look like I was trying to be down or like I was trying to stand out. That changed after I got big enough to not have to worry too much about that kind of thing, and I also went to an arts high school where pretty much anything went. By the time I was out of school and moved to LA, in 2006 or so, I tended to dress more formally in part because I was a grownup, in part because I wanted to show guests on my radio show they were in a respectful, safe space, even though they were expecting to show up at a radio station and instead were operating out of an apartment in Koreatown.”


    “The outfit in the park is a little simpler. The shirt’s by Ramon Puig. They make custom guayaberas in Miami – I visited them when I was in town for a day once. Mine’s off the rack, but it’s really hard to find guayaberas in natural materials, and this one’s all linen. Definitely an old Cuban guy thing. The glasses I bought at the flea market from a company called Allyn Scura, which is based up in Northern California. The company that makes them is based up there too, they’re called Kala. The style is called Chateau. I have them in black, light and dark tortoise. The shorts came from a military reproduction company called What Price Glory – they make stuff for re-enactors and whatnot. Prices and quality are both solid. They’re Australian Gurkha shorts, circa WW2.

    The shoes were made for me near Guadalajara – you can’t buy huaraches off the rack in my size, because Mexicans have small feet. They stop at like ten, if I remember right. My mom spends a lot of time down there, and brought them back for me. The hat I bought at an old-school menswear shop in downtown Seattle. The brand is Mayser – it’s honestly only a decent quality hat, but it suited me, so I bought it. Easier sometimes to have something you won’t feel too bad about breaking or losing or whatever. And my watch is an Omega Flightmaster, circa 1970 or so. Rolled the dice a few years ago and bought it on eBay – my watch guy, who has a little kiosk in a Korean homegoods store near my office, worked for Omega for years so I figured he could give me a heads up if anything wasn’t right. Been wearing it close to daily ever since.”


    • Guayaberas shirt by Ramon Puig
    • “Chateau” frames by Kala
    • Australian gurkha shorts by What Price Glory
    • Hat by Mayser
    • Watch by Omega Flightmaster
    • Huarache shoes hand-made in Mexico

    Brown in Town


    “I own Put This On, of course, which remains one of the more popular menswear sites, but I don’t write for it as much as I once did. We have some great writers, so I just sort of steer the tone. I also own a podcast network called, which now has twenty podcasts. Of those, I host, co-host or produce a few, including the NPR radio show Bullseye and the comedy show Jordan Jesse Go

    There’s no formula for a great podcast, but the things that really appeal to me are a great host – someone you want to spend time with – some real passion and some consideration for the audience. If you’ve got those three, you can make a podcast about rocks interesting.”


    “The brown linen suit is by Luciano Barbera. I got it maybe four years ago at a consignment shop, I’d guess it’s maybe ten years old. At the time, I thought, “can I really justify buying a three-piece brown linen suit?” Turns out I wear it all the time. I look good in brown, it’s a little more LA-suitable than gray or navy, and it’s comfortable in the heat. When I can’t figure out what to wear, it’s what I grab. The tie’s an old Arny’s, which I think I got on eBay. I love their silk prints, as much as I dislike Hermes prints. The shirt is from Alan Flusser‘s custom shop, but not custom for me – I bought it from my friend Aaron, who was liquidating some samples that Flusser’s old business partner had. Maybe I paid $35 or something.

    The shoes are Borrelli branded, no idea who made them, a very good Italian maker, I presume. I bought them online because they’re really plain, but reasonably shapely, and they’re easy to wear. The pocket square is Put This On – I buy handkerchief linen from Ireland and a seamstress makes them for us a few dozen at a time. In my lapel is a little silver stickpin – you can’t see but it’s a Hermes or Mercury shoe, with wings on it.”


    Finally, any advice for our readers looking to build a long-term wardrobe?

    “Two or three or four or five years isn’t a long period of time in your life, or for building a wardrobe. Especially for tailored clothes, which are expensive as hell…. A real small closet and budget go a long way if you take it slow and make good choices.”


    • Brown linen 3-piece suit by Luciano Barbera
    • Shirt by Alan Flusser (sample)
    • Tie Vintage Arny’s
    • Pocket square by Put This On
    • Shoes by Borrelli

    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier

    Photography by Alex Crawford.

    • wp

      I love Jesse on NPR, and I check out his blog on a weekly basis (at least), but I must say that these looks (particularly #2 and #3) are embarrassing, frumpy, and downright unflattering. While Jesse is a Renaissance man, he is also a style-blogger, and therefore he’s supposed to represent good sartorial taste, promoting clothing that is shape, size, and age appropriate (look #2 is an aberration on all levels). While I have respect for Jesse’s broadcasting and video work (it’s solid and enlightening), I have lost nearly all respect for his sartorial eye. Outfit #3 is lumpy, and it looks like Jesse got caught in an unfortunate time-warp that has left him with an ill-advised purchase from a thrift-shop. Outfit #1 is passable. There is some potential there – suggesting he could assemble an “outfit” or “ensemble” – but #3 is just downright fugly. Why would anyone – especially a style guy who allegedly loves clothes – wear something that does one’s body such injustice? And yes – if Jesse is putting himself out there as a “second hand dandy” then he needs to hear the truth. Objectively speaking – outfit #2 and #3 make him look (A) fat, and (B) frowsy.

    • Manfred Deutschmann

      How is this guy not the most pretentious, twee, self-important twat ever? I know I know, he always says he’s the opposite of Hipster etc. but I think the proof is in the pudding in this case.
      Jesse Thorn sucks. Jordan Morris rules. I so want Jordan to leave the Maximum Twee network it’s not even funny. He deserves better than Jesse Tweeorn.

    • Natural Workwear


      I absolutely love your first combination. It would fit perfectly well (pattern-wise, anyway) here is the suburban Northeast. With the lighter fabrics you use, it’s great to see how this can be a year-round look. Don’t fret if I steal it from you!

      I love being able to look “put together” without a suit, and the patterned trousers really add a great deal to what may otherwise be a dull combination.

      Finally, I have to say I love the stick pins. I presume that they can be obtained relatively easily these days or ebay and the like.

    • Ryan

      My best eBay score of all time came via PTO’s roundup – a Belstaff Roadmaster in chocolate brown waxed cotton coming from the UK. Great to see PTO on AoS!

      • Jesse Thorn

        that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing that, Ryan.

    • Randy Sabourin

      His video series on YouTube is nothing short of legendary; it will stand the test of time (and I’m still praying for an encore).

      • Jesse Thorn

        Maybe :).

    • Luke

      Hey Jesse, is there going to be a Season 3 of your Vimeo series? I’m a fan.

      • Jesse Thorn

        I’m not going to rule it out, but it’s a pretty elaborate production… and that’s not necessarily what the internet’s looking for :). So I guess the answer is that we don’t have any plans to right now, though we’re very proud of the work we did on it.

    • Jim Tanser

      High res well-composed DSLR shots aside, I find myself thinking most of what you (Jesse) wears looks poor. I don’t mean this to be a personal attack – hope this isn’t taken as vitriolic, but your aesthetic I find either frumpy and/or theme-y.

      I think we get caught up in the pseudo reality of clothing blogs, which negatively contributes to our choices. We sometimes care too much about the story involved than the story our clothes are telling.

      • Jesse Thorn

        I find your writing style to be pretentious and/or goofy. It negatively contributed to my enjoyment of this comment.

        • Jim Tanser

          Thought you might take a chance to respond to some earnest criticism. Guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that you just were looking for #menswear affirmations of how great your style is.

          • Jesse Thorn

            Do you just travel the world, giving people “a chance to respond to some earnest criticism” :)? Like a David Carradine in Kung Fu, only instead of saving people with martial arts, you help people by giving them a chance to respond to earnest criticism?

            • Jim Tanser

              Again, personal attack in response. :)

              Seriously do you think people in real life have an impression that you dress well? Your aesthetic is, for lack of a better word, ugly.

              • Zachary Klenske

                It’s definitely a personal attack if you put a value judgement on someone’s personal style. If the team here has deemed it acceptable to critique the art of creating this website (article content, photo quality, “journalistic integrity, etc.), then it’s appropriate to discuss that, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t appreciate an evaluation of the subject or his fashion. That is also known as an insult. Not a vitriolic insult, but still an insult. If it was your intention not to insult him, then you should have chosen your words more tactfully.

                • Jim Tanser

                  So we can’t evaluate anyone’s personal style without it being an insult? I’ve tried to be perfectly respectful (excluding my last post) – while Jesse can’t be bothered for even one legitimate response.

                  Which fits with his presumption that every sartorial choice he makes – either because of the story, his personal aesthetic, or how little he paid for it – is good or the “right” one.

                  In which case… boring -already stocked up on narcissistic menswear bloggers.

                  • Zachary Klenske

                    Yes, it is an insult. Analogously, if you were to see someone on the street and tell them you thought their personal style was “frumpy” or “poor”, that would be insulting. Jesse is not obligated to defend his personal style because this is not r/malefashionadvice or Fashion Police.

                    If you think Jesse is saying his style is correct and better than others, than I think that is worth discussing. I would disagree, but that’s a different topic.

                    You brought up an interesting point about the pseudo realism of clothing blogs. Many menswear blogs strive to present an authentic take on their everyday dress. Maybe doing a photoshoot and choosing outfits detracts from that. That is a valid criticism and probably a topic worth exploring. There is a way to express that without pairing it with a little dig about how you think his style is theme-y.

                    • Jim Tanser

                      Fair points.

                      My discussion was much more concerned with the later point I brought up, but frankly I was surprised by the immature response.

                      I’ll agree to disagree re: discussing personal style. I think by the very nature of putting yourself on display in a feature you are opening a dialogue about your aesthetic, but apparently that’s taboo in the sensitive world of menswear.

                      • Jim Tanser

                        And just to follow up – look at this other post on AoS:


                        Read the first responses that everyone approves of:

                        “Weak looks all-around. Every outfit is gimmicky and has a “look at me” attitude. There’s no class in the clothes or how they’re worn, just “fashion.” Also, the jacket in the first look doesn’t fit well at all.

                        Oh, and he looks like Rick Fox in the first picture of the second outfit. But that has nothing to do with the bad looks.”


                        So everyone’s free to criticize strangers on the internet, but an intelligent discussion with someone who WORKS IN MENSWEAR FOR A LIVING about his style choices is no-no.

                  • Manfred Deutschmann

                    You’re absolutely right and your comment was not an insult whatsoever. But it brought out the real Jesse who seems to have a really hard time not being a twat and seems to have zero sense of humour about himself.
                    He’s a moron.

            • Manfred Deutschmann

              Wow, you’re such arrogant twat.
              One look at your ugly head and there’s the reason you got into clothing. It’s all so obvious.
              You’d be laughed at and then beat up in Europe.

      • facelessghost

        Jim, I believe you’ve been misunderstood.

    • DJ Hargrave

      What a dapper gentleman; always nice to see someone that still has classic style like this


      • Jesse Thorn

        Thanks, DJ!

    • Gazman

      PTO – one of my favourite clothes blogs. I go to it almost daily hoping for a new post. So informative and well written, too. I’ve learned a lot from it. Their vids are good too with some funny parts.

      • Jesse Thorn

        Thanks, Gazman! We do our best. And we do have a new post pretty much every day :).

    • Timothy Kiah

      I’m new to the menswear blogs and they have helped me a great deal in choosing pieces on eBay. I now have another great blog to follow with Articles of style. I now have Jesse Thorn.

    • TO

      I appreciate Jesse Thorn and love his site, always have. Took a long break from reading it but have picked up on it recently again. Can’t get behind the middle look though I appreciate most of the pieces in it- overall nice profile; he’s a smart, eloquent, and seemingly very kind dude. Beard could use a trim I suppose, but that’s neither here nor there! He’s still the man.

      • TO

        Hope I didn’t sound harsh there Jesse! Want to reinforce that I share the same nostalgia and admiration for your blog as other commenters here and learning new things from it now!!

      • Daniel

        The middle look is my favorite of the three! It looks comfortable and has a lot of personality – the silhouette is not something one would find in GQ or Pitti, but everything fits and he manages to make shorts and open-toe shoes look mature. The first blazer is fantastic too. Great shot of him holding it out so we can see how open the weave is.

        I agree about the beard needing a trim, though.

      • Taran07

        I love the middle look. It is a different look that people usually does not understand. It is easy to look great on a suit, but looking great on very casual clothing is not easy to achieve.

    • Andrew

      So excited to see Jesse on here. Great style, great blog, great podcasts.

      • Jesse Thorn

        Thanks, Andrew!

    • Pablo Daniel

      I got to PTO looking for the proper way to dress for my internship. That was four or five years ago. I’ve been following the blog ever since.

      • Jesse Thorn

        Thanks, Pablo!

    • From Squalor to Baller

      So glad to see Jesse on here! He definitely helped inspire a new generation of clothing nerds. PTO has always been a great source of info, and I’ve learned a ton from them over the years.

      Love the brown linen, by the way.

      • Jesse Thorn

        We’re fans of yours, too!

    • Michael

      I remember discovering Put This On years ago, it’s another great resource! I always assumed the curator was some 67 year old guy from Iowa.

      • Jesse Thorn

        I just look really good for my age.

        • Michael

          HA! Good work, keep up whatever you’re doing to maintain that vitality.

    • Bronello_Cucinelli

      jesse thorn on AoS is like schwarzenegger and stallone in the same movie

    • JoeFromTexas

      I love this. Jesse looks put together, but easily approachable. I think it’s the smile. It’s also that, while his clothes are very nice and thought out, he looks like he doesn’t fuss too much over it once its on, whether it’s linen that got a bit wrinkled, or cuffs not peaking out the requisite number of inches. By the way, the top splash picture in the brown suit and the studio pic are great!

      The other reason I love this, is that this is a bit of a full circle for me. I found this site googling to find an appropriate interview suit. I remember you recommending Putthison some years ago as a great blog for more conservative wear. I took the recommendation, which led me to Bullseye, which I now subscribe to, and other great podcasts. And now we’re all back together.

      • Jesse Thorn

        Thanks for the kind words, Joe! I’m definitely one to let linen wrinkle – among other things that means that your sleeves never have that perfect half-inch of cuff showing, but I’m fine with that :).

      • Manfred Deutschmann

        Approachable, as in “looks like all the sterotypes of pedophiles thrown into one?”
        He’s ugly and he knows it. That’s why he has to be into “clothes”.

    blog comments powered by Disqus

    The Finishing Touches feat. Brandon Murphy

    Badass Bombers

    The Corduroy Business Casual Suit

    Capsule Wardrobe: The Essential Khaki Suit

    Eyewear Fit Guide