Put This On: "Personal Style"

Episode seven of Put This On, a web series exploring how not to look like a slob, is really a stunner. This is the final episode in Jesse Thorn and Adam Lisagor's project, and I hope they continue to do many more. What you'll find in the video embedded above:
Field correspondent Dave Hill visits the annual meeting of the Corduroy Appreciation Club, held each year on 11/11, the date which most resembles corduroy. He discovers a magical world, dedicated to the promotion of that most bookish of fabrics, and to the denigration of the sworn enemy of the wale: velvet.

Then Roxana Altamirano brings a new Nerd Boyfriend segment, with an investigation of an icon of eccentric style, Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000 of Outkast.

Plus: a conversation with one of the world’s most elegant men, Gay Talese. He’s not just one of America’s most celebrated magazine writers and the man who invented the contemporary magazine profile. He’s also one of the best-dressed men in the world, the son of an immigrant tailor who imbued in his progeny a love of fine clothing. Besides that, he’s got his own lapel shape!


  1. cloned stamped grass around the 4:40 mark.  WHAT ARE THE REPTILIANS TRYING TO HIDE?!?!

    seriously, tho.  nice combo of info and humor. thanks, Xeni!

  2. I own two corduroy jackets, but I do prefer tweed.  I honestly think that John Hodgeman has had a huge hand in bringing back (at least to the mainstream) anachronistic mens fashion, and for that he should be applauded.

  3. Started watching, but immediately turned off by the hideous vest/bowtie combination.  Why would I listen to fashion advice from anybody who picked that?

    1. The thing with put this on (and many other men’s style sites) is that you probably won’t like many of the styles you see, and 95%+ most certainly won’t look good on you. But what you get from looking at these sites and watching these videos is a sense of how clothing styles work on different types of people, and how to pull off wearing things you thought you wouldn’t ever try.

      I decided a couple of years ago to elevate my style and I read put this on every day… after a couple of clothing purchases based on things I saw there that ended up being major missteps (they just didn’t work on me) I made that realization. I then started focusing not on the specific clothes but the way that the styles worked (or didn’t work) together. I went shopping a lot and tried on lots of different things, but hardly bought anything – until I was sure I was getting something that worked.

      I agree that Jesse Thorn often wears some weird things, especially for a guy that runs a style blog – but you have to understand that this is a guy with a public radio show and who is friends with John Hodgman etc. He and Hodgman et al. have got their own style and it’s not going to be something most people can pull off (including Thorn himself if he goes too far).

      So my point – and the point of the video, though it wasn’t really emphasized properly, I thought – is not that you should dress like him, or even to follow most of his advice, but that you can with a bit of effort figure out what works *for you* clothing-wise. Once you figure out the basics of what suits you, you will have already essentially come up with your own personal style, but you can of course add on to it if you like.

  4. Well, if there were ever a chunk of media anywhere in the world that I should watch and/or hear, but absolutely will not, this would be it.

    I like my Levis and Iron Maiden t-shirts just fine, thankyouverymuch, and I’ve been a bitter foe of corduroy since my otherwise-sainted mother dressed me in that fabric c. 1982.

  5. Learning about what suits your body, in both fabric & cut, is a rite of passage. The first really fine Sea Island cotton shirt, or really nice wool/silk blend trousers has certainly influenced what I recognize as quality. But perhaps an icon always needs to stay on brand; I like the idea of changing styles to suit the situation.

  6. Thinking the is some kind of secret Boinger ploy where tomorrow they will display statistics of how long each person managed to keep watching this rubbish…

  7. I watched all the way through. Almost everything was not applicable to me, or more specifically, to where I live. When the temperature is in the 80s to 90s with humidity to match and no guarantee of tradewinds or of air conditioning, I would never layer or wear much of the material they discussed.

    I was actually astounded by Gay Talese’s statement about using fashion to condescend. A number of those he interviewed were working class men at their worksites. I would not expect the bridge-builder he mentioned to be in a three-piece suit when working on a bridge, even if a reporter were coming to interview him. The sad part in my view is that Talese genuinely seems to believe there is nothing wrong with what he said.

    1. Agreed on the climate issues (I live in SoCal these days and spend a lot of time in Thailand) but I have worn my corduroy sport jacket quite often in Buffalo (where I’m from), Toronto, and NYC and it’s really rather great. It’s a very comfortable, livable fabric that feels nice (assuming it isn’t the cheap stuff), doesn’t show dirt or anything easily, and is very durable.

      I would probably melt if I wore it here in California, so I left it at
      my parents’ house in Buffalo in case I’m ever visiting home and need
      something to wear.

      Jesse Thorn does apparently live in LA, and he wears his suits and everything here – though I think when traveling to cooler climates (such as NYC in November) he takes the opportunity to wear all the warmer stuff as much as he can :)

  8. The guy was about to say that 11/11/1111 was actually the date that most closely resembled corduroy, but the interviewer cut him off. Too bad!

  9. If a jacket’s lapels can’t be raised to cover the throat and neckline, why bother having them at all?

    If you want to express style without function, why not go whole hog and wear a Ruff instead?

  10. A friend of mine linked me to another episode of this series. My initial impression stands: most of the men’s fashion represented in this series is mostly bland mainstream mush.

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