By AYN ROBBINS
KEY TO STYLE: John Sawyer, Tulsa singer and songwriter, who recently released his new CD, “The Real Me??? has a style that’s sophisticated and cool. He buys basics that have a great fit and adds new trends to mix it up.
AYN ROBBINS for GTR Newspapers
“Fashion fades. Style is eternal.”
– Yves. St. Laurent, Fashion Designer
The first time I met John Sawyer was at Valcour Sound Studio in Broken Arrow. He and owner/sound engineer Hank Charles were mixing the final cut on his current CD, “John Sawyer: The Real Me.” A riveting cover of MacArthur Park wafted through the house speakers. He held a note longer than Suri Cruise’s “wish list” to Santa. Wearing jeans and a black cashmere turtleneck, his “look” was more GQ than OU. (Note: Both are good.) There was elegance about his music and his presence.
John has paid his dues on Broadway, in regional and local theater, and even in the desperate-housewife soap opera, “As The World Turns.” Having roles in classics such as “Promises, Promises” (starring opposite Tulsa’s own Kristen Chenoweth), “The King and I,” “A Chorus Line,” and “West Side Story” (to name only a few) has been rewarding; but he longed to be himself and returned to Tulsa from New York to do just that. Instead of performing “in character,” the multi-faceted entertainer selected well-known and not-so-well-known songs and “did them” his way.
This fall Sawyer realized his dream and played to a sold-out audience at the Performing Arts Center. His friend, Andrew Williams, hosted an after party at his Brookside bungalow, replete with a salt-water swimming pool. It was a soiree like I remember when I lived in Manhattan: fascinating people, stimulating conversation, and a martini that was shaken not stirred.
I recently caught up with John Sawyer at Fleming’s in Utica Square. Once again he was a standout in jeans and an ebony silk crepe jacket from Banana Republic.
“How do you consistently keep up this sophisticated look?” I ask.
“New York style is eclectic,” he reveals. “Wearing all one designer is boring. Accessories and high-end consignment shops go a long way in establishing your particular look and what looks best on you.”
“Accessibility is sometimes difficult,” the crooner continues. His favorite jeans are English Laundry and Diesel. The fit is everything in John’s fashion-mind’s eye. He has a couple of seamstresses who tailor everything.
“It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to have good taste. Ecco Man is a high-end consignment store where you can find Gucci and Prada. You take something in, they sell it, you have a credit, you buy something with your credit or pay the difference. I’ll fill out the look with items from Aberson’s on Brookside or Banana Republic in Utica Square or Pinpoint Resource at The Farm. Buy a classic piece like Michael Kors or Armani slacks. When you find something you like, that fits well, and it is affordable, buy it in three basic colors.”
Cashmere sweaters and shirts fall under this category. His choice for shoes and boots are Johnson & Murphy and Cole Hahn. John will sometimes go to Dallas and Kansas City for a splash of trend or a brand he hasn’t come across in Tulsa.
This is all well and fine for a Broadway veteran who lives what he wears, but what of us who don’t know a Quoddy Trail (moccasins) from the Trail to Machu Picchu?
“Ask for help,” John recommends. “There are great sales people who can take a look at you, get to know a bit about you, and point you to a designer or style that is right for your body and your lifestyle. That is exactly what personal stylists to the stars do. You begin to know what you and your body like. Traditional jeans do not fit me well. Although I am rather tall (6’2”), I have the developed thigh muscles of a dancer. I need a bit of stretch in the leg to allow for that.”
The last thing John left us with was his belief in editing your clothes the way you edit your tax receipts every few months. While most believe if you haven’t worn something in a year, it is time to give it to charity (or take it to Ecco), John feels one must be in a perpetual state of change. His rule of thumb is that if he hasn’t worn it in three months, get rid of it. Before he will bring in a new article of clothing, he edits out something else. “I try not to have more than four of any one particular item of clothing. It just simplifies and enriches life on so many levels – spiritually, mentally, and physically. During last year’s record ice storm, with no electricity for days, John was able to go into his closet, open a drawer, count down and pick out the color he wanted – in pitch darkness. When life isn’t cluttered, free space is created.
John knows a lot about free space and how to fill it. When he isn’t promoting his CD (which can be previewed and purchased by going to sawyersings.com) he is promoting HOPE Testing. It provides health testing and outreach prevention. This will be John’s second year on the board. The Divas for HOPE concert raised $75,000 this year. If you would like to learn how you could volunteer for future activities or attend concerts, please call 918-749-TEST (8378).
Ciao for Now!
- — Mark Somner Jan 2, 08:40 PM #