photography by Daniel Wood
styling by Jyllian Park
grooming by Bernice Jang
Jason Halbauer is a natural at improvising, whether he’s on set, on stage or – this week – on crutches. The 31-year-old writer and producer for Citytv’s Dinner Television ruptured his Achilles during a rec-league volleyball game. After rescheduling his Avenue Edmonton interview, a writing session with his sketch comedy group, Blackout, and a community meeting or two (he’s on the board at The Local Good and works with Cash Mob Edmonton), he’s back at work, albeit with less stylish shoes – or shoe, rather – than he’s used to. Here, he tells us why dressing up makes a difference, no matter what the scenario.
Shirt from Club Monaco; pants from H&M; tie from Club Monaco
You worked with Breakfast Television at Citytv for four years before it underwent a sudden rebrand. What has the transition been like from early mornings to Dinner Television?
I’m sleeping more. That’s a plus. Before, 3:30 a.m. was my start time. Oh, man – you never feel normal. You get used to it, but your health goes to shit. Because it takes so much willpower to get up in the morning, you don’t really exercise. All those things that you usually have the willpower to do, you just don’t if you’re not sleeping. It just goes out the window. And you tend to eat that extra bag of chips.
How has it affected your style?
Similar to having your energy zapped for things like working out, sometimes I would be less inclined to want to dress up. But generally, over the last three or four years, I’ve just wanted to look nice. I feel better when I do it. Let’s just say that I’m more inclined to wear a tie when I’m getting up at 9 a.m. than when I’m getting up at 2:45 a.m.
How would you describe your style at the beginning of your career, as compared to now?
I would say that before it was dorky-clueless, and now it’s dorky-some-clue.
Shirt and jeans from Frank & Oak; sweater from Joe Fresh ; jacket from H&M; shoes from Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather; socks from H&M; Timex watch; glasses from Warby Parker
Were you always interested in style and fashion?
It’s a relatively new thing; I would say about four to five years ago. You start a new job, and it’s your first professional job, and so I tried. I’d wear a sweater with a collared shirt – it’d be a dorky sort of five-coloured shirt, kind of like one of those board shirts. Just awful. And piece by piece – I was hanging out with people who were a little bit more stylish than me, so I got some tips from them. Piece by piece. I just started to really care about it, and really like it and like engaging with it. It’s kind of a fun game for me. I’m not a huge shopper and I don’t have a ton of clothes, but I have a pretty select few ties. I’ll just go to my closet and grab something and say, ‘OK, I’m going to build an outfit around this now.’ I have my favourites.
When it comes to style, who are you inspired by?
Todd Babiak. He was kind of someone who dressed nicely before people started dressing nicely. He was always in the nice suit with the slim fit. For a long time, Edmonton was very behind the times and behind trends, and he’s someone who was fashionable before, and fashionable now.
You’re vegan. Where do you go for great vegan food?
Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant is hands-down my favourite. I love Cafe Mosaics. There’s a spot on the south side called Loma House, this vegetarian place owned by a guy named Jeff. He remembers everyone’s name, always there with a smile. I really like Numchok Wilai; they have great Thai food. And of course, Sailin’ On food truck and The Buckingham.
How does eating vegan translate to dressing vegan?
This belt I have is a vegan reversible belt and, for a long time, it was the only belt that I owned. My shoes, one of my favourite pairs are from this shop called Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, which is kind of a lame name, but they make really cool shoes. Or Toms – they’re great.
Where do you buy your glasses?
The last three pairs of glasses I got online at Warby Parker. I love their stuff. It’s such a great balance between style and price. I also shop at The Observatory Opticians on Whyte Avenue.
Sweater and shirt from Club Monaco; tie from Topman; pants from 21 Men
Denim jeans: To cuff or not to cuff?
I’ll roll them in the summer.
Suit without a tie?
What are your favourite local brands?
Good Luck Sock, and bowties by Offal Goods. I love what they do.
Do you have any style pet peeves?
I think that when people wear tops and bottoms that are almost the same colour, but not quite – that drives me crazy. Like black and dark blue, or a really light mint and a white. I think contrast is such a fundamental principle of design, and if you’ve missed that, you’re missing the point.
Like wearing two blacks that are slightly different?
Yeah, like, why are you even wearing clothes?
What’s the best part about working in local television?
I love that I sort of get paid to just know the city. I love doing that anyway – I want to research everything, I want to know everybody. It’s such a great way to meet people – in a non-creepy way. I can just say, ‘Hey, want to be on the show?’ And I get to know that person. Getting the story behind what makes everyone so cool – that’s it for me.
Shirt, pants and jacket from Club Monaco; tie and pocket square from Simons; shoes from Spring; Timex watch; glasses from Warby Parker
Improv, either watching or performing
The Underground Tap & Grill, as I’m a bit of a beer geek
Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant
Ginormous Imperial IPA by Gigantic Brewing Co.
A nice Thai tofu red curry
Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
gravitypope Tailored Goods
Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather
Johnny B. Street Cream
My Nikon D7100
City to visit:
Volleyball once a week, usually two to three runs