Mohinder shops at the Banana (and other resale shop discoveries)

Oh, dear.

So this afternoon, I popped into The Best Store in Los Angeles, better known as the It's A Wrap studio wardrobe resale shop on Robertson. Seriously, this place is pretty close to paradise. It's just a big old thrift store, where all the clothes are provided by film and television wardrobe departments.

Here's the odd thing: Because this is Los Angeles, and because the entertainment industry is just another industry here, the whole studio-wardrobe/potential collector's-item aspect is rather aggressively downplayed. If you're looking for something from a specific show or film, be prepared to hunt for it. The price tags generally have a two- or three-letter code hand-scrawled on them; there's a key taped to the far wall that deciphers what the codes stand for (for example, wardrobe from Criminal Minds -- i.e. endless racks of Hotch's crisp white shirts -- is marked "CRI"), but you really have to search for it.

Anyway, this place is filled with awesomeness. This shop is why I'm the proud owner of three tiny, short, tight, skimpy, shiny, spangly, beaded, sequined, rhinestone-bedazzled cocktail dresses worn by the models on Deal or No Deal. They were ten bucks apiece. I wear them while vacuuming. Really, I do.

So I popped in today... and they had the Heroes wardrobe.

Oh, man.

I know I've criticized Heroes plenty, but the wardrobe was always pretty bang on. I had a blast rummaging through racks (clothes from all the shows are mixed together in no special order, so I just looked for "HRS" scrawled on the price tags), looking for trench coats and tailored shirts and cute halter tops and crisp jackets. Cool stuff.

The Heroes wardrobe also had the advantage of being labeled by character in permanent ink on the size tag or on the inside collar. Because I am no fool, I picked up two t-shirts labeled "SURESH": a maroon/rust Banana Republic crewneck ($10) and a dark teal H&M v-neck ($5). Both were size small, which totally dovetails with my recollection of meeting lovely Sendhil Ramamurthy during the WGA strike: He's not short (5'10"? 5'11"?), but, like almost all actors (except for Jack Coleman, who is much taller than expected), he's extremely petite and compact in person.

And I think I speak for all viewers when I say, "Mohinder shops at Banana Republic? Really?"

Neither shirt features the mad, crazy, bright patterns and colors that made Mohinder's wardrobe so, uh, memorable, especially in the first season (trust me, I was looking for his turquoise paisley shirt. Or his brick-red/burnt-orange vertically-striped shirt. Or his hot pink pullover. Or his olive-green corduroy blazer. Or his insane blue striped scarf), but these two shirts are nonetheless very late-model Mohinderish -- say, Season Three, at a guess. In fact, I'm relatively certain that maroon shirt is the one Ramamurthy was wearing when the paparazzi caught him making a variety of strange poses on set with Greg Grunberg during the third season. Awesome.

Edited on 7/13 to add:

Okay, one more. I stopped back in today and did a pretty thorough, comprehensive sweep through the shop, looking for gems. Plenty of Heroes stuff there. I saw a few more shirts marked "SURESH" -- weirdly, other than Mohinder's clothes, I didn't see anything else marked for a specific character. This might be because a lot of Mo's stuff was pretty casual (so many t-shirts!), so the wardrobe department might've had fewer reservations about marking them up with permanent ink than they would with, say, expensive dress shirts or blouses or suits. I don't really know.

There's nothing costume-y or immediately iconic in the shop -- you're probably not going to find, say, Claire's cheerleading uniform, or Peter's hospital scrubs, or Hiro's kimono. The place really specializes in wearable everyday clothes that just happen to have been used in films or television productions.

I picked up another of Mohinder's t-shirts. This one was on the clearance rack on the sidewalk outside the store. Eight dollars, bluish-teal, crewneck, short sleeves, Banana Republic again, size small again. This was a score: Some helpful wardrobe person had safety-pinned a handwritten note to the hem (blurry photo attached), reading "SURESH CH. 2." Easy process of elimination to figure out in which episode this shirt was used:

Volume 5, Chapter 2: Mohinder did not appear in the episode, being dead or in an asylum or whatever.

Volume 4, Chapter 2: Mohinder wore a baggy orange prison jumpsuit the entire episode.

Volume 3, Chapter 2: Mohinder was shirtless the entire episode while he swung from the rafters and sexed up Maya.

Volume 2, Chapter 2: Mohinder wore a blinding white tank top under a blinding white shirt while he was gallivanting around Haiti.

Volume 1, Chapter 2
: AHA! No, this isn't the shirt he wore while threatening to bonk the faux exterminator over the head with an elephant statue. It's the shirt he wore while (adorably) crawling around on his hands and knees with Eden while searching for Chandra's missing lizard. Good episode. Good shirt.

Edited yet again to add: Oh, yeah, I also have this classic season one shirt (not the glorious paisley one, sadly, but the soft turquoise one beneath it):


And just to mix things up, a plain black t-shirt from American Apparel marked "PETER." Size small, again. Those actor boys are tiny little things.

Comments

Ingrid Richter said…
I love that store! They're awfully sneaky about hiding the show, though. I remember having to take a photo of their cheat sheet to figure things out.

Looks like Tashiro has dibs on at least one of Mohinder's shirts - maybe both...
Morgan Richter said…
Poor Tashiro. She's staring at me like, "Jeez, Morgan, do you absolutely have to take photos right now?"

Yeah, the store is so low-key about the fact that their clothes have been previously worn by, like, actors that it gets a little ridiculous. But man, they have some good stuff. Characters on TV tend to dress better than I dress in real life, I've noticed.
starrdust411 said…
Oh! I would kill to go to that store. Seriously, if I could get my hands on some Ugly Betty stuff (especially some of America's wardrobes from last season. Betty was rocking that makeover!) it'd almost make up for the show being canceled.

Personally, the Heroes wardrobe was always hit or miss with me. Like, they're clothes were good, but sometimes they didn't fit the image of the character. Mainly this was with Claire and Niki in season 1. I mean, Claire is a teenager from a middle class family and her clothes were very obviously high end. Niki was a struggling single mom and her outfits were a bit too glamorous (although I guess that could be covered up by Jessica right?)

But oh man, I'm super jealous that you got some of Sendhil's old outfits. I think I'd be a freak and smell and caress them at first and then frame them or something.
Morgan Richter said…
I know I've seen Ugly Betty clothes there before. Really, they've got pretty much everything. It's a fun place. The prices are all over the map -- there's a lot of stuff in the $5-$15 range, but you can also find high-end stuff (Prada, Armani) for a few hundred dollars.

Yeah, I think especially for Niki and Claire, the clothes were more aspirational than realistic. I mean, it made sense that Nathan would wear expensive suits, and Peter came from money so he had access to good-quality stuff, but Niki's cute tailored suits weren't terribly in keeping with her character. Then again, maybe her internet-stripping enterprise paid really well?

Most of the Heroes stuff that I saw there came from mid-range mall shops (lots of Forever 21, H&M, Banana Republic, The Limited), but it was obviously picked out by someone with a good eye for clothes.

But oh man, I'm super jealous that you got some of Sendhil's old outfits.

Heh. I haven't the faintest idea what to do with them. It's so weird to walk into a shop and find Mohinder's clothes just hanging there...
doppiav said…
Hello Morgan,

Finally I write on your blog!

Buying T-shirts wore from Sendhil...geez, so insanely delicious!

I am tempted to ask you if you can do some shopping for me!
obscureviews said…
It's so weird to walk into a shop and find Mohinder's clothes just hanging there...

That sounds like the beginning of a joke! XD

And I realize I have no idea about the clothes Mohinder wore in Seasons 3 and 4. Consideing that this was my religion in the first two years, I'm sad now. I even lost interest in Mohinder's clothes...
What's that blue one? Is it short-sleeved? When did he wear it! Mysteries...
Ingrid Richter said…
I have this theory that it's actually Chandra Suresh's clothes on sale :-)
Morgan Richter said…
Buying T-shirts wore from Sendhil...geez, so insanely delicious!

Hi, Veronica! Heh, it's fun to look at this stuff, but after all, they're just shirts. And the wardrobe people usually buy things in multiples (it's really common to see three or four of the exact same item there), just in case clothes get damaged, so there's no guarantee he's every actually worn/touched these shirts at all.

And I realize I have no idea about the clothes Mohinder wore in Seasons 3 and 4.

Nothing sticks out in my memory, except maybe that terrible black-and-red striped sweater he swiped off a clothesline when he and Peter and Matt and Hiro were running from Danko's goons in Volume Four. I think he wore a lot of t-shirts and cargo pants. Not terribly exciting.

What's that blue one? Is it short-sleeved? When did he wear it! Mysteries...

I haven't a clue. I don't know if he ever did wear it onscreen, even (it's a very Mohinder color, though -- kind of a turquoise-green in natural light). Am I going to look back through old episodes to try to figure it out? Not a chance. I'm happy to let it remain a mystery.

I have this theory that it's actually Chandra Suresh's clothes on sale :-)

Ha! I hadn't thought about that, but you're right -- just labeling it "SURESH" doesn't narrow it down.
obscureviews said…
Oh! Young pseudo-Chandra! I definitely wouldn't recognize his clothes, so maybe! :P
But I agree the red shirt looks very much like what Sendhil wore in those pics...
starrdust411 said…
there's no guarantee he's every actually worn/touched these shirts at all.

Awww, don't ruin the magic lol.

Yeah, Mohinder's seasons 3 - 4 outfits were pretty unremarkable. I mainly remember him being shirtless in the season 3 premiere and that weird flat cap he wore in Vol 4 and then there were the asylum scrubs in Vol 5... and that's it :-/

Young pseudo-Chandra! I definitely wouldn't recognize his clothes, so maybe!

LOL It also doesn't help that all of young pseudo-Chandra's scenes were in Black and White. It makes it impossible to recognize XP
doppiav said…
there's no guarantee he's every actually worn/touched these shirts at all.

Starrdust is right: don't ruin the magic and enjoy some fetish!
If I had one o those Tshirt, I 'd have some really weird moment with my partner:

-Why you keep sniffing your T-shirt?-
-Erhm...sweat check?-

Jokes apart, they do seems nice T-shirt. They look like velvet, maybe?

Is Sendhil really so tiny, in real?
starrdust411 said…
You know, I keep staring at that blue shirt wondering where it was from. Do you guys think it was the undershirt from Godsend? (Sorry about the crappy image, it's the best I could find) The color doesn't match perfectly, but I'm thinking that might be due to lighting.
Morgan Richter said…
and that weird flat cap he wore in Vol 4

Oh, yes! I remember his Newsies cap! Yeah, that was about the only thing he wore that season that was almost up to the weirdness/randomness of his first-season wardrobe.

I'm happy to look for stuff for people, by the way, though I make no guarantees about what I can find there. For all I know, I might've found the only two Mohinder shirts in the entire place...

Is Sendhil really so tiny, in real?

Yeah, he's pretty small-boned. Again, he's not short, but I'm a small person, and his shirts are not all that big on me. He has very narrow shoulders, narrow hips, and a narrow waist.
Morgan Richter said…
Do you guys think it was the undershirt from Godsend?

It's close, color-wise, but I think the shirt from Godsend had a crewneck, whereas this one has a high V-neck (not low enough to show off any of his chest hair). I'll keep thinking about it.
Ingrid Richter said…
Ooo! This begs the question: what would be the one wardrobe piece from Heroes that you'd love to have in your collection?

Me, I'm voting for Sylar's Ramones t-shirt that he stole from Zane (and that Quinto borrowed from one of the producers, if I'm not mistaken).
Dan said…
what would be the one wardrobe piece from Heroes that you'd love to have in your collection?

HRG's HRGs, of course.

Or Skulky's cage.

What? They're sort of clothes.

Wasn't future Peter Petrelli dressed in some kind of cool black trenchcoat thing? Or am I thinking of Neo from The Matrix?
Morgan Richter said…
Dan's entirely right. HRG's HRGs would, of course, be the ultimate Heroes prop to own.

Future Peter did indeed have a cool black trench coat. Sylar has also rocked kind of a long black wool coat, which would be nice to have as well. Boy-Morgan put his request in via Twitter for a suitably wrecked cheerleader outfit.

Hmm. Nothing that Hiro ever wore could be exactly considered iconic, could it? Ditto for Nathan's expensive suits.

I should check if they have Evil Alternate Future Niki's stripper lingerie. Speaking of things to wear while vacuuming...
starrdust411 said…
As long as we're talking props, I'd like the Kensei sword. It'd have absolutely no practical use other than to get me arrested :P

Clothing wise, I'd like the black and white coat Claire was wearing in the season 1 finale (though it wouldn't fit) and Mohinder's scarf that made Peter want to jump out a window.
Morgan Richter said…
It'd be a kick to own any of Tim Sale's (okay, Isaac Mendez's) paintings, though I don't suppose there's any chance of those surfacing in a thrift store any time soon. I'd hang that one of Hiro facing off against a T-Rex in my dining room. Instant conversation piece at dinner parties!
Lou said…
Well I must say Mr Cheekbones' clothes look good draped on your bed hehehe... (As a non-innuendo-laden aside, fab sheet & cute cat!)

Excellent finds Morgan, bravo. I really want to visit this store now...
violet-anchovy said…
Oh, cooool! :D And fluffy cat!

Back in season one, I used to try to ID the more distinctive-looking clothing on the show. I remember the men's casualwear being a bit on the higher end--stuff I'd consider expensive even marked down at Nordstrom Rack.

Ooo! This begs the question: what would be the one wardrobe piece from Heroes that you'd love to have in your collection?

The first thing popped into my head was one of those brown corduroy jackets that both Mohinder and Sylar wore in season one. Forgettable-looking and too big for me, but a neat character twofer.
doppiav said…
I would go for Mohinder's thumb ring. Or for Mr Muggles.

Morgan, if you ever go back in that store, there's any chance you can give a look for Supernatural? I know someone who would dig for Dean's amulet or for Bobby's baseball hat.

Yeah, he's pretty small-boned. Again, he's not short, but I'm a small person, and his shirts are not all that big on me. He has very narrow shoulders, narrow hips, and a narrow waist.

Is it weird that I fi9nd trhis very hot? Especially the narrow hips part...
Morgan Richter said…
I figure my extremely photogenic cat has made far too few appearances on this blog. Time to rectify that. Lou, I picked up that awesome blue-and-gold satin comforter cover at a West Hollywood thrift store for five bucks. Seriously, Los Angeles has amazing resale shops. I'm not sure why anyone ever pays retail here. Except for, like, socks and underwear.

I remember the men's casualwear being a bit on the higher end--stuff I'd consider expensive even marked down at Nordstrom Rack.

Violet Anchovy, yeah, that was pretty much my impression, too. I don't know if the wardrobe budget was slashed along with all the other budget cuts in later seasons, or if the wardrobe department has just always been good at making mass-market clothes look luxurious, but all of the men's wardrobe pieces I spotted yesterday, down to the trench coats and suit jackets, were... well, Banana Republic and H&M. In other words, not necessarily inexpensive, but certainly attainable.

Morgan, if you ever go back in that store, there's any chance you can give a look for Supernatural?

Veronica, I'll take a look, though I don't think I've ever seen anything from Supernatural there. That might be because it films in Vancouver -- it might make more sense for them to donate their clothes locally instead of shipping the wardrobe back to Los Angeles. I'll definitely keep an eye out, though.

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