Father’s Day Edition
Written and styled by Tracy James
Photography by Chuck St. John
“I have a collection of collections that only make sense to me,” says Ted Pewitt, 48, as he rolls in his palm a turquoise ring, selected from a wooden bowl of more than a dozen, noting its substance and weight. Pewitt expresses great affection for his collection of old Native American silver and turquoise rings. “Each one is handmade and beautiful in its imperfection, offering a tangible connection to the past as I imagine where they’ve been and who wore them before me,” he explains. A talisman of sorts, a ring is always present on his hand on or in his pocket, sometimes even on a chain around his neck.
Similar is his collection of leather bracelets, worn daily on his wrists and often given away to those who verbally admire. More than just a fashion statement, the smell and feel of the leather draws Pewitt to these accessories, which he has made for just a few dollars each at Trilogy Leather in Homewood. This is an affinity shared by his 14-year-old son, Price, a rising ninth grader at Mountain Brook Junior High, who wears at least one or two every day.
Style is ultimately a collection of small choices, says Pewitt. Just as our life choices evolve as we age, so do our style selections. Upon entering his mid-30s, Pewitt admits, “My hair was thinning, my waist line was expanding…I was at the crossroads of comb it over or shave it off.” Determined not to become the cliche of what he describes as “men who hit a certain age and wear standard-issue khakis and a blue shirt and think the word style is ‘hippie talk,’” Pewitt shaved off the comb over, got rid of the baggy khakis with pleats and cuffs, and vowed to never wear the same shade of blue as everybody else. Pewitt was more than 40 when he got his first tattoo; now he has several.
The idea of style evolving brings to Pewitt’s mind fashion icon Jackie Kennedy. “When she was First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, we remember the pill box hat and elbow length gloves,” he says. “Fast forward a decade, we saw Jackie O walking the streets of New York City in her signature oversized sunglasses and black slacks, looking like a total bad ass. Evolution is growth and growth is good. Jackie was an artist in that respect.”
Price is still finding his personal style, balancing school, lacrosse, football, and music. But for now he favors Levis, boots or Converse tennis shoes, and Lucky Brand button-down shirts, some of which he refers to as “gig shirts,” options for when he is performing with his band, Riverbend Band.
Music, which Pewitt says he requires like oxygen, is a shared passion for bass guitar playing father and son. Pewitt, who is in a band of his own called Spoonful, says musicians have been a great style influence over the years. “Look at jazz musicians like Miles Davis,” he notes. “These cats live in the world of improvisation and exploration, which is always in style. Check out Herbie Hancock today, age 70, still on the sharp side of cutting edge.”
Pewitt’s enthusiasm for guitar led him to be a fashion designer of sorts. Upon finding leather worker Kimberlie Gilbertson of Rulien’s Lost Muse (who happens to make all of the straps for Zac Brown Band, among others), Pewitt realized an opportunity to custom design guitar straps with personal meaning. “Kimberlie’s use of buffalo hide, snake skin, and gemstones gives her straps that same organic feel as my turquoise rings. They smell like saddle leather and feel like your best pair of boots,” he says. Two of Pewitt’s straps are made of black buffalo hide with the design inlay being Karung snake. The design on each is Pewitt’s interpretation of the yin yang symbol. “Kimberlie drew a hundred of these for me until the right one appeared,” he says. “I wanted to create my own design that I could use as an obscure signature. I love the idea of having a grandchild many years from now wearing one of these straps and it creating a sense of connection to our musical journeys.” Perhaps the most special to Pewitt is the brown strap designed with five interlocking rings, big to small, which represents his family. He named the symbol “One Love,” which Kimberlie inscribed on the reverse side. “I believe there is an opportunity for artistic expression in everything we do,” says Pewitt. “I’ve always felt compelled to participate in that.”
Gazing upon his symbols, Pewitt says, “Truth in love. That’s basically my life’s motto: Live in truth in the name of love.” Price smiles at his dad then turns to me and asks, “How can you go wrong with that?”
Online Bonus Content
A bit more info from my June Style Icon, Ted Pewitt.
Q: Any style pet peeves?
A: Overbearing men’s cologne. It doesn’t resemble anything human or natural, rather it smells like cleaning solution that thinks it’s sexy and lingers in a room for 9 hours after the person leaves. Nothing says “I’m a big stinky man with no idea what to do about it” more than drenching yourself in these chemicals. It’s an easy fix and can actually make a style difference pretty quickly. Replace the flowery, musky, disco-y, bug attracting, woman repelling cologne with a light, all natural moisturizer. Lavender, vanilla, chamomile, peppermint. It’s great for the mind and body. It comes across quietly as clean and fresh. It honestly will give people a sense of calm around you because you project differently. Subtle but profound.
Q: Speaking of calm…other than music, what is a stress-relieving outlet for you?
A: I love to cook for people who love to eat, I feel compelled to write even if it’s just a single line on the basement wall with a marker, and I compulsively exercise to stay ahead of the hell hounds. I love yoga. I’m not one to walk around a gym if I can help it, but I am a staunch believer in the science of motion. The benefits of yoga are endless and I simply require it. I was introduced to “Hot Yoga” by Stephen Fletcher at The Yoga Circle about 10 years ago. I’ve been going to Kiva Yoga in Vestavia 2-3 times a week for the last couple years. Both studios are excellent and I highly recommend it to everyone. Great mind, body, soul restoration… very tough work out… and nice sense of community with others in the class. Not a lot of style options for men in a yoga clothes… as for mine… what happens in yoga stays in yoga.
Q: Where do you shop?
A: Shaia’s, Harrison Ltd, Trilogy Leather, lululemon.
Q: Who are your favorite fashion designers/brands?
A: Old Gringo Boots, Frye Boots, John Varvatos, Polo, Etro, Hudson, Nudie Jean Co., Gravati, Luciano Barbera, Toscano, Fender, Gibson, Chevy, paper over plastic and no fries with that please.
Q: Any clothing/ accessories on your wish list? or dreaming big list?
A: My tattoos are like accessories, I suppose, and I’d like to complete the mural on my left arm. No hurry, it will come together when the time is right. That’s part of the fun.