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Shopping in L.A. with Jesse Thorn

8/14/13 1:51 PM

He discards far more than he selects. Can you always be this particular? "The secret is to find clothes that are tens, and not sevens. Keep your wardrobe edited so that it really works. Wearing two things that kind of work doesn't turn into something that really works," he says. To Thorn, guidelines should be inspirational, a recognizable premise from which one should incorporate their own individuality. Style is as much of a personal choice as it is adhering to certain truisms. "I think people should look at the rules as a palette. Shakespeare wrote sonnets, and they weren't lesser for having followed a form. I'd say they were better," he says. Our second location is a thrift store with a more organized and notorious appeal. "This place is known for Dr. Phil's suits," he says. "I've found so many of his suits here." I assume he's referring to the cut. A 'Dr. Phil' suit is probably a nickname for some billowy number. But sure enough, Thorn pulls one from the rack, showing the monogram that indicates the jacket once belonged to the talk show host. "He gets pretty good suits made though. Too bad I'm not his size." Pause. "That's probably a good thing actually." By our third thrift store visit, fatigue sets in. This is what separates the common wardrobe from the spectacular—persistence. Thorn is dancing to R. Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love," lifting brand-new Ferragamos off the rack, making genial small talk with employees. Here he stumbles upon a different kind of sartorial treasure. "Finding crew jackets from cancelled TV programs is such an L.A. thing," he says after spotting an All That crew jacket, memorabilia from the '90s Nickelodeon sketch comedy show.

This mixture of lowbrow pop culture knowledge with his more rarefied interests is what endears him to such a wide audience. One day he's interviewing comedians like Louis C.K. and the next, impeccably dressed writers like Gay Talese. I ask him if everything runs smoothly when you're bouncing between these two worlds. He recalls one strange encounter. "One time, I was working as a publicist for the SF Sketchfest and we booked Doug Stanhope. I woke up at 4 a.m. to get him, and when I got to his house, he wouldn't come out. He sent a different comedian, and told me to tell my boss that this guy was him," he says. "So I called my boss and my boss said 'Just tell them you thought it was Doug Stanhope. So I said fine, and we brought him in and he did the interview as Doug Stanhope. My blacklist is a short one," he says with a laugh. There are few things that upset Thorn. Much like his sense of dress and demeanor, the things that annoy him are classic—bad drivers, selfishness, lack of civility. Unfortunately, he lives in Los Angeles. file:///Users/issuu/Desktop/Shopping%20in%20L.A.%20with%20Jesse%20Thorn.webarchive

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Shopping in L.A. With Jesse Thorn  
Shopping in L.A. With Jesse Thorn  

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