Interview: TV’s Leading Man Joshua Sasse on His Style, Suiting and Sturdy Workwear
Although he has worked in film and on the stage, 27-year-old British actor Joshua Sasse has made the biggest splash as the titular star of the ABC musical comedy TV show “Galavant,” which was recently renewed by the network and is currently filming its second season in the UK. Described by some as a kind of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” meets “Glee,” the silly yet ultimately clever show features Sasse as a medieval knight who is trying (quite unsuccessfully) to win back his love from an evil king. The series has already featured such notable guest stars as Ricky Gervais, Rutger Hauer, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Hugh Bonneville and will return to its Sunday night time slot in early 2016.
Sasse, who splits his time between LA and the UK, was recently in New York to attend shows during the city’s first dedicated menswear fashion week. In between poses and outfit changes during a photo shoot with James Weber, who specializes in shooting actual old-fashioned tintypes, the handsome, affable actor spoke to me about his personal style, how being British has influenced his approach to dressing and the joys of donning a suit instead of jeans.
How would you describe your personal fashion style?
I suppose I am an amalgamation of classic British style and Japanese workwear. I like the juxtaposition of smart and scruffy.
You recently attended New York Fashion Week: Men’s. Did you see anything you liked?
Yes, I loved Robert Geller’s collection in particular. That is totally up my alley. I think he is doing really well that amalgamation and exactly that mix of streetwear and tailoring and making it more wearable. I think people are fairly trepidatious to wear suits in their spare time, especially guys who work in an office. I feel like when it comes to that smart tailoring they feel like they are too made up to wear on the street and what Robert is doing is really bridging that gap.
What are some of your favorite pieces in your own wardrobe?
My Brooks Brothers suits–those are my pride and joy because there is nothing more comfortable than a suit. If a suit is tailored really well and it’s made with a really great fabric there’s nothing comfier. You see guys so often wearing jeans and they are crossing their legs and they are uncomfortable and their thighs are too tight or they are wearing it around their ass and it’s too tight around their waist and it’s never comfy. But a good suit is just the perfect thing. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, it’s not too heavy and it’s not too light. I believe a man should look like a man.
What are your other go-to fashion pieces?
I’ve got a Levi’s vintage artist’s jacket that I will sling on every single day because I like to have clothes that I don’t have to worry about getting messy or roughed up and can take the wear and tear because I’m always around the house with my dogs or I am cooking or gardening. I do a lot of gardening so if I can’t garden in it I’m not likely to wear it.
How has being British affected your sense of style?
I definitely think it has had an influence on it. My stepfather wore a shirt every day and he always wore a jacket and brogues every day. He’s an artist but he’d work in that so that was definitely an influence for me. But my style icon is unequivocally Prince Charles. I love that and that’s where I come from. I love tailoring.
How important is clothing to you when you are playing a character?
It can be very important, especially in the construction of a character. That piece of clothing can completely transform your understanding of who that person is. Lots of times in rehearsals a hat or a jacket is fundamental in preparation because you embody that character slowly but surely and in a few rehearsals you might wear a little bit more and a little bit more. If you are playing Richard III you are going to want to have a hump on and you are going to want to work with that throughout the process. And if you are a king you want to have that crown that sits heavy on your head and is symbolic.
Has there been a specific situation when clothing has helped you develop a character?
I don’t work as… and I don’t want to say as consistently as that. The way I enter a mindset jumps in and out. I need to be able to step away from a character to get back into it. I’m quite reflective so I’ll give it all I have and then I will strip it bare again and do it again. I’m much more experimental so I’ll try a plethora of things and take a step back and see what kind of sits the most with me. I’m very improvisational so for me it’s less about having an idea and running through with it as it is about having a lot of ideas and giving everything a chance. But in the show I’m doing now to have my boots on or something like that just reminds you [of who your character is]. I’ve got to shoot with high heels on and it makes me walk a different way.
What do you think about the style in Los Angeles at the moment?
Not very much. The problem with LA is that it’s warm all the time so it dictates dress code in a sense whereas in New York you change with the seasons and that creates an evolution of style from one year to the next. As seasons come and go so do the styles and you grow with that from year to year whereas in LA it doesn’t. And I think style is stinted and stolen as opposed to original. I think a lot of the cultural aspects that come from LA are not from LA. They’re from Europe or the East Coast.
What will your next major fashion purchase be?
Probably a warm coat from my wife. I don’t go out and buy clothes a lot. I’m very content with what I have. I’m not an avid shopper like that. I will wear something until it falls off me.
How extensive is your wardrobe?
A little more extensive since I have been working with Brooks Brothers. My suit collection has grown a lot but not too much. My wife will say I pretty much wear the same thing every day in my life.
And you’re happy with that?
I am very happy with that. I don’t think about it too much and I think to be an artist you have to stop looking in the mirror. Day to day and as an actor a lot of your downtime is spent, for me anyway, reading and researching and writing and that’s the majority of what I do. I think to be an actor it’s about experience. You have to further your own knowledge and understanding and to do that you have to constantly try to grow. What I wear is not a big part of that.
Image credit: James Weber