Illustrations by Nick Gazin
There are approximately 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States, and yet hardly anyone is attending to the fashion needs of the prison-industrial complex! To remedy this injustice, we asked Bert Burykill, our recently-paroled penitentiary correspondent, to give us some inmate style tips. If you’re reading this in jail, take heed lest you become a human fifi towel.
Tight clothes might be in style on the street right now, but wearing the same duds in jail might make you more alluring to a certain breed of booty bandit. Plus, state-issued duds are going to be uncomfortable, so it’s best to at least have some room to let your nuts hang a little.
One of the few luxury items you’re allowed in jail is eyeglasses—the government would rather not pay for your specs so they let you wear your own. So ball the fuck out and get some $400 Oliver Peoples glasses. Just watch out for guys with names like “Big D from Brownsville,” ’cause they might break your ass wide open and yoink your fancy frames.
Ask your people to buy you some threads from online prisonwear shops (yes, they exist) like
You can have your own style in prison, within limits: Everything has to cost less than 50 bucks, and your choices are pretty much limited to solid-color, logo-free sweat suits. And no blue, gray, or orange, because that’s what pork-chop COs wear. But anything will feel more luxurious on your skin than state-issued polyester.
DRESSING UP FOR VISITORS
The visit room is the most important place to feel fly. You might only see your people or piece of ass a few times a year, so it’s important to try to look like you give a fuck. Try a nice collared polo shirt and wash your face, you slob.
SWITCH IT UP
Having a $50 limit on shoes is kind of rough if you’re trying to represent kingpin status. One solution is to have your visitors wear an expensive pair of Jordans, and then swap kicks with them while no one’s looking and hope the COs don’t notice. You can also pull the switcheroo with religious jewelry—the only ornamentation inmates are allowed besides glasses.
If you decide to wear braids or cornrows while incarcerated it’s a pain in the nuts. You have to tie them up because you could potentially stash a banger or something up there. There are plenty of barbers in prison, but most of them can’t cut white-boy hair properly. My advice is to keep it simple and short. A shitty battery-operated beard trimmer will set you back about $20. Plus, obsessive grooming kills time and gets your mind off the unpleasantness of jail.