Jason Sebacher is a Chicago playwright and the editor of acclaimed men’s style blog Toad Hall. His plays have been performed in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and New York City. This past year, Guy’s Style Guide listed Toad Hall in the top ten of Incredible Blogs for Men’s Fashion. We’re thrilled to welcome him as the newest contributor to our Ready to Wear section.
Before his first post appears, we had a chance to chat with him about Toad Hall, writing, and his personal sense of style.
CS: How did you first become interested in men’s style?
Jason Sebacher: Calvanists, members of an obscure Christian sect, believe that some people are predestined by God for greatness, and that they alone will find grace. I’m sort of a fashion Calvanist; some people have always loved clothes, and that love actualizes—finds grace—over time. This isn’t to say others can’t become good well-dressed gentlemen, but some are born with the love.
In college, though, is when I really got into the whole prep idea of wearing khakis and a blue blazer every day—where the foundations were laid. I’d squeak around the halls of the brick-and-white-column buildings, my Sperrys wet from a recent traipse across the quad, the ivy practically creeping off the brick and into my brain.
CS: How did Toad Hall start?
Jason Sebacher: My favorite part of GQ is the advertisements, but not because of the pictures: I loved the idea of beautiful photographs of men in clothes that I could look at and learn from, though I never thought I could rock the Prada look. I’ve also never been that into guides and “how-to”-s; I make my own way. And so I wanted a blog that didn’t have any text in it at all, that was simply picture after picture of very good-looking men in very good-looking clothes, something that speaks to my style, pictures I can study. After a search that extended well past what even I would consider perhaps to be acceptable, I declared that such a blog did not exist, and that I was to be its progenitor. If I didn’t have a single subscriber, I’d probably still be doing it.
CS: How would you describe your personal style? Is it pretty similar to what we see in the blog?
Jason Sebacher: I’d say my style is a cross between Mr. Toad (whose residence inspired my blog’s title) and Nick Carraway: Preppy/Academic, but with a modern fit. I don’t wear ill-fitting clothes. In fact, my biggest piece of advice to readers is to learn how to tailor shirts and pants: you’ll look like a million bucks every day.
Jason Sebacher: Greatly. Being a working artist in your twenties is a little tricky: you want to be taken seriously but…well, you’re a working artist. What I tell my friends who are in the same boat is to develop a classic style that’s eccentric in all the right ways; it’s presentable yet very personal. It’s just another form of expression. And, I tell them, if you want to be taken seriously, dress like someone who people take seriously. The very clothes that you put on your back have the power to transform you into who you want to be. It’s my opinion that the way you dress is the most direct communication to the outside world for how you want to be treated. I’m a young, hip, smart, creative writer/adjunct-English-professor, so I dress like one, and, lo, I’m treated like one. After a little while, it’s difficult to pick apart the chicken-and-egg of it, and that’s a good thing.
CS: Are you writing anything now? What’s your next project?
Jason Sebacher: I’ve lately grown away from writing experimental work and dramas and into writing fast-talking, fast-paced comedies—you know, theater that people want to see. I’m working on two right now that I’d like to do here in Chicago. One is about these two estranged, really witless brothers who meet by chance while traveling to New York City to see the last concert of a dying opera singer; it’s called Tetrazzini’s Last Hurrah. The other is gestating, about two very perverted, impoverished, low-life sort of roommates/best-friends who are down on their luck and who decide the answer to their problems is stealing a painting from the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a love story.
CS: Thanks so much for being here. We’re looking forward to reading your first post!
Keep an eye out for Jason’s first post, a guide to what to wear to the theatre, coming soon.