A Good Day’s Thrifting
After working every day for a few weeks straight, I took a few hours yesterday to pursue some hobby time. I hopped in the car and headed for the west side of Los Angeles to do some thrifting.
I live in East LA, where there are plenty of thrift stores, but precious little quality menswear on the racks therein. The reason’s simple - no rich people, no rich people clothes. There are some thrift chains that distribute across a region, rather than store-by-store, and there are always scores available everywhere, but the percentages are best in nice stores in affluent areas.
I ended up with the pile above. The Polo suit is older, probably from the 1980s, made in the USA, in a beautiful gray birdseye. Perfect fit and a very classic style, especially for a big tall guy like myself. I find myself drawn to Polo from the mid-80s and before, when it was inspired by classic styles of the 1930s and ’40s. The better-quality pieces have held up with time, as well. This suit will require a letting out in the waist and taking up in the sleeves and trousers, but both of those are easily done by my tailor. It set me back $40.
I found the pocket squares in the ladies’ scarves section of one of my favorite thrifts. It’s always worth taking a peek there - pocket squares are usually about 15 or 16 inches square, and scarves for women tend to be much larger, so it’s easy to spot the difference. Only one of the ones I picked up had a brand (also Polo), but all are great options, and they were only five bucks each.
The ties came from a Goodwill that’s been very productive for me in the past. The green striped one was the first I found - I spotted its Kiton tag from across the room. The rest are made by Paul Stuart (in England), Facconable (by Breuer, in France), Brooks Brothers Makers and Andrew of Milano. There was another Kiton, stained, that I left on the rack.
The trip represented visits to six stores, and I shopped at two of them. I spent a total of about $75 (plus another $15 on baby clothes, not pictured). Not bad for half a day’s work.

A Good Day’s Thrifting

After working every day for a few weeks straight, I took a few hours yesterday to pursue some hobby time. I hopped in the car and headed for the west side of Los Angeles to do some thrifting.

I live in East LA, where there are plenty of thrift stores, but precious little quality menswear on the racks therein. The reason’s simple - no rich people, no rich people clothes. There are some thrift chains that distribute across a region, rather than store-by-store, and there are always scores available everywhere, but the percentages are best in nice stores in affluent areas.

I ended up with the pile above. The Polo suit is older, probably from the 1980s, made in the USA, in a beautiful gray birdseye. Perfect fit and a very classic style, especially for a big tall guy like myself. I find myself drawn to Polo from the mid-80s and before, when it was inspired by classic styles of the 1930s and ’40s. The better-quality pieces have held up with time, as well. This suit will require a letting out in the waist and taking up in the sleeves and trousers, but both of those are easily done by my tailor. It set me back $40.

I found the pocket squares in the ladies’ scarves section of one of my favorite thrifts. It’s always worth taking a peek there - pocket squares are usually about 15 or 16 inches square, and scarves for women tend to be much larger, so it’s easy to spot the difference. Only one of the ones I picked up had a brand (also Polo), but all are great options, and they were only five bucks each.

The ties came from a Goodwill that’s been very productive for me in the past. The green striped one was the first I found - I spotted its Kiton tag from across the room. The rest are made by Paul Stuart (in England), Facconable (by Breuer, in France), Brooks Brothers Makers and Andrew of Milano. There was another Kiton, stained, that I left on the rack.

The trip represented visits to six stores, and I shopped at two of them. I spent a total of about $75 (plus another $15 on baby clothes, not pictured). Not bad for half a day’s work.

It’s On Sale: 6PM.com Boot Sale
6PM.com is having a sale on boots. Among the offerings are Sorel Caribous, a classic snow boot offered here at an exceptionally reasonable price: $65. I know warm temperatures are here, but for those of you in snowy places, I can promise: it will get cold again eventually. Winter is coming.
There are also a pile more Sorels available, including some other classic models, like their 1964 line. They’ve got the Allen Edmonds Bayfield for $261.99 (from $350), some nice boots on deep discount from Timberland Boot Company like these Tackheads, Polo Ranger boots at 40% off, and a couple pairs of decent Clarks, like these Desert Mali Boots.
I’ve clicked a few brands we think might interest you in this sale link.

It’s On Sale: 6PM.com Boot Sale

6PM.com is having a sale on boots. Among the offerings are Sorel Caribous, a classic snow boot offered here at an exceptionally reasonable price: $65. I know warm temperatures are here, but for those of you in snowy places, I can promise: it will get cold again eventually. Winter is coming.

There are also a pile more Sorels available, including some other classic models, like their 1964 line. They’ve got the Allen Edmonds Bayfield for $261.99 (from $350), some nice boots on deep discount from Timberland Boot Company like these Tackheads, Polo Ranger boots at 40% off, and a couple pairs of decent Clarks, like these Desert Mali Boots.

I’ve clicked a few brands we think might interest you in this sale link.

Learn to Speak the Language:

Why the ‘Lo Heads are Masters of Sartorial Discourse

Would I wear a sweater with a picture of a teddy bear wearing Polo business clothes? Or a Polo Golf tie with an illustration of a golfer on it? Or a black leather Polo suit? No way. A jacket that says “SNOW BEACH” on it? Absolutely not.

So why did we feature ‘Lo Heads in our first episode? Wearing clothes that I wouldn’t wear myself, in ways I wouldn’t wear them?

Dressing is a fundamentally discursive act. The most sophisticated dressers are engaged in a three-way conversation - between the creator of their clothing, themselves, and the people they interact with while dressed. This happens in the context of a broad set of only semi-shared cultural values. The designer intends one meaning, the wearer recombines it, recontextualizes it, and gives it new meaning, and then that meaning is interpreted by the people the wearer interacts with in ways that the wearer could never have conceived.

I think that these guys, deeply immersed in this ‘Lo Heads culture, are incredibly fluent at this discourse. They’re living it. Any of us, no matter what our personal sense of aesthetics, or our personal goals for can learn from their example.

So let’s break it down a little.

The first level: there’s an interesting statement made, of course, when a black or Puerto Rican guy from the hood wears clothes that are self-consciously associated with activities (yachting, skiing, golf) that have powerful ties to whiteness and richness. The guy from the hood is subverting those values. His act is a thumb in the eye to the rich (and white) that says that not only can those symbols of privilege be appropriated by the downtrodden, the downtrodden can rock that shit better.

Dallas describes the Polo-obsessed culture as a function of “Aspirational Apparel.” I think that’s part of it. When you’re “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” as one guy put it, you want to represent something for yourself that’s more than that. But here’s the limitation of that description: this is not a literal act. These are not poor people striving to be as much like rich people as possible. This is a symbolic act.

We asked person after person, “would you get on a yacht?” “Have you ever been skiing?” “Do you like golf?” and to a man, the answer was a laughing “HELL no.”

In other words: these folks don’t aspire to be the rich. They aspire to success, sure, like any of us, but they aren’t supplicating themselves before upper-class white culture, asking to be let in. They don’t aspire to join the club. They aspire to take the symbols of privilege and give them new meaning. To rock them better.

In fact, if the clothes are worn in new ways - think of Dallas’ tie-outside-sweater look - all the better. Like hip-hop slang, the goal is to create an insider’s argot, a way of recombining these symbols of privilege into something with one meaning for people who “get it” and one meaning for people who don’t. Alienating the outsiders is part of creating an insider culture.

There’s also something fascinating to me about the specific preferences that Polo collectors demonstrate. I was wearing a corduroy Polo blazer the night we recorded at Lo Goose on the Deuce (“all eras, all styles welcome,” it said on the invite). Needless to say, there weren’t a lot of other guys there rocking corduroy blazers - despite the fact that corduroy has a rich sporting heritage.

Polo collectors like stuff with graphic and textual representations of the abstract class ideas they’re pursuing. Abstractions of abstractions. Ties with pictures of golfers. Jackets with pictures of skiiers. The Polo Bear.

The Polo Bear is the perfect collectible for Lo Heads. He’s a brand icon who appears mostly on annually-released sweaters. A teddy bear who wears Polo clothes. That makes the Polo Bear sweater a representation of a representation of class, through an icon (a teddy bear) that’s completely non-human, for maximum abstraction.

The reason the Polo fans love Ralph Lauren is that while he has always admired the aesthetics of English schools and Great-Gatsby Americana, he himself was a poor, Jewish New York kid. His name and brand were made up from whole cloth. His creations are fundamentally (and shamelessly) inauthentic. Their value is in how perfectly they celebrate an idea of Americanness that is both tied to race and class and somehow self-consciously cut off from it. The premise of his work is that he’s going to grab the symbols and aesthetics and rock them better.

I don’t want to get too semiotic on you, but our clothes have very limited inherent values. Warm/not-warm and keeps the sun off are pretty much it. Maybe some portion of our aesthetic values are in-born, that’s an argument for a different day. Everything else about getting dressed is symbolic. You’re participating in a conversation. Learn to speak the language.

One of the forefathers of the Lo Heads movement is Thirstin Howl III, aka the Polo Rican, a veteran MC and longtime Lo Life. Here’s his most recent single, “What It Iz Brother Lo,” featuring the late Professor X from X Clan.

Here he is showing off his all-Polo table service on his web series How Lo Can You Go?

Put This On Season Two, Episode 1: The Melting Pot

Put This On, a web series about dressing like a grownup, visits New York City, a place where style is defined and redefined through interpretation and reinterpretation.

Meet the ‘Lo Heads. With roots in 1980s street gangs, these Polo Ralph Lauren enthusiasts have made “aspirational apparel” a lifestyle. They once had to boost their Polo from stores and fight to keep it on the streets. Today, their culture is worldwide, promulgated by hip-hop. Their hero is Ralph Lauren - a working class New Yorker who understood that the fantastical power of style can be transformative. Dallas Penn from The Internets Celebrities, a dedicated Lo Head with a collection of over 1000 pieces of Polo apparel (and former member of the Decepts crew) takes us on a tour of this remarkable fashion subculture.

Visit Worth & Worth hat shop, a New York institution with roots going back to 1922. In recent memory, Orlando Palacios has made the shop a home for rockers as well as traditionalists, turning hundred-year-old machines to the task of reinterpreting hundred-year-old styles.

Meet Jason Marshall, a jazz saxaphonist with a classic style. He plays with bands ranging from traditional bop to hip-hop fusion to Aretha Franklin, but he prefers to wear tailored clothes when he does it, and explains why.

And in our Q & Answer segment, find out how to pack your suit for travel. We’ll show you a fold to keep it neat inside a rolling carry-on or suitcase, and we’ll show you how to keep your trousers on the hanger inside a garment bag.

This is the first episode in our six-episode second season. We’ll visit the three greatest men’s style cities in the world, as chosen by our readers - New York, Milan and London. Stay tuned for our next New York episode, coming soon to putthison.com.



This episode was supported by our viewers and by Lifeway Kefir.

Executive Producers: Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor

Director: Benjamin Ahr Harrison

Host / Writer / Producer: Jesse Thorn

Producer: Andrew Yamato

Director of Photography: Ryan Samul

Sound: Andrew J. Reardon

Production Assistance: Zach Linder, Derek Miller

Season Two, Episode One: Clothing Credits

Introduction

Cap: J. Press

Scarf: Johnstons of Elgin

Coat: Capper & Capper (Vintage)

Gloves: Brooks Brothers

The ‘Lo Heads

Coat: Polo Ralph Lauren

Shirt: Charvet (Vintage)

Tie: Ralph Lauren Purple Label

Sweater: Vintage

Pocket Square: Put This On Gentlemen’s Association

Trousers: Pro Tailor

Shoes: Alden

Q & Answer

Suit: High Society Tailor, cloth by Molloy & Sons

Shirt: Thin Red Line

Tie: Drake’s

Pocket Square: Put This On Gentlemen’s Association

Dallas Penn adjusts a few of the 1000+ pieces in his Polo collection before our interview for Put This On season two.

Dallas Penn adjusts a few of the 1000+ pieces in his Polo collection before our interview for Put This On season two.